The first adjustable-rake fork is done! I haven’t put in tension screws yet since the track SS dropouts are narrower (7mm) than the sliders (9mm) which have the same 4mm bolt tapped into them that I was gonna try and put in the track drops. If I try it, I’ll have to go with a smaller bolt to thread in there. Alternatively, I could just make sure i space the wheel right and crank on the quick-release so that it stays put.
I don’t see using this fork a ton, just for experimenting on myself. The fork ended up being longer crown to axle than I had wanted but it’s a good length to have for the 29er (470mm). Everyone’s told me to NOT go over 470 since you make a bigger lever to work against the downtube and possible crimple the frame. In addition, the fork is just weaker with that much length. I’ve never seen a fork crimple a frame, or a rigid fork even crack (except for a Chinese Ti Spicer fork…), but I’ll take their word on it…they have many years of experience and I don’t need to fall on my face more than I already do.
The welds turned out OK, not great, but I feel like the 1st pass turned out better than last time. So, even though the 2nd pass isn’t really pretty, I think there’s better penetration overall and it’ll be a stronger fork. I am finding it hard to figure out the right amps to use on all the different combinations of tube thicknesses, especially when using the pulser. I think that reason right there is why I may just plain stop using the pulser and either ‘self-pulse’ using the footpedal or not pulse at all even for a second pass. For me, i feel like I’m giving up control when I turn the pulser on and letting it go on auto-pilot. The bead looks better, but I can learn to do that without the machine’s help, and my practice welds today are looking up.
I TIG’d, then brazed the upper part of the crown race seat, just for fun. Overkill, but it’s good practice. This was my 3rd brazing job using silver and flux from Henry James. I finally got my little bottles (that I’ve had for over 4 years now) set up with a smaller torch (Victor J-28) and smaller/lighter hoses from Smith. It’s a sweet lightweight lil setup that feels really comfortable to use, at least for sliver brazing. I’ve never brazed with brass so maybe i’ll need more power for that (?). I did some practice runs before on 1″ tubing and some cable stops. The ‘feel’ of brazing isn’t with me yet, i’m not even close to recognizing the heat indicators of when exactly to put in the brazing rod. It’s easy to read in books and online that you add silver when the flux bubbles are about to pop and before the metal turns red, but there’s not much room in between those times to work with. I’m sure more experience with the torch will have me laughing at this post and my early brazing jobs! Now I just have to braze on the slotted dropouts on the frame before I get the tig torch out and the first frame. I’m obviously stalling on welding the first frame together until my practice welds are looking better…
I have made a condition with myself that I must finish this first frame before I ride a mountain bike this season. The snow is still covering most of the trails here at 8,400ft in Colorado (but not all i hear), but I still can’t wait to build this thing up and give it a test drive!!
(1) crack the garage door while brazing and wear a respirator!
(2) Don’t pick up your work piece right after welding it (duh!). After welding the disc tab on, I pulled off one of the stupidest maneuvers yet. I wanted to get to soaking the flux off so I picked up the fork right after finishing the bead, took my leather welding gloves off, and grabbed the fork leg with my left hand. I got the fork a bit (too) hot while putting on the disc tab so it burned, pretty bad. First degree at most but it STUNG the entire night unless I put it in a bucket of cold water or held something cold. I learned that a beer makes a great ice pack for your hand. For the rest of the night, I had to hold a cold beer to stop the stinging. After two beers (Lagunitas Lil Somethin & a TenFidy) I grabbed some advil and Neosporin and went to bed.