TK’s frame finished but no paint yet

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It was 82 degrees on Saturday, then a little wet weather came in Sunday afternoon and it’s been snowing ever since.  The heavy white layer on the newly green grass and leafing trees is a beautiful thing. I do feel a bit sorry for the smushed early-to-bloom wildflowers that thought the snow had stopped for the season. Anyhow, no painting the frame for a day or two but the frame is done! Numero 12 in the books.

This one took a long time for me to finish but it had its complications along the way. Mostly because I tried some new things, and had to try them twice for a couple times: pre-bent Nova downtube, 44mm head tube reinforcement sleeves, new style of seat tube sleeve for me, and a bit different wishbone seatstay design and fabrication – all-TIG except the dropouts.  The frame did need to receive a 2nd pass on some joints to either ensure good penetration on a ‘light’ weld or bring the frame into better alignment.  The good part is after adding the seatstays, it stayed put in the front triangle and almost the same in the rear triangle.  The ‘backbone’ of the frame (seat tube/BB) was around 2mm off which is not great but fixable with some cold-setting.  I don’t like the idea of cold-setting but I try to keep my frames within 1mm of alignment if at all possible.  I’m not sure still whether it’s just better to keep the 2mm out and not cold-set at all or just try to get it back under 1mm from straight using some elbow grease.  Different builders have different opinions. I’m not sure that 2mm is even noticeable on any frame let alone a touring MTB.  I read of a small builder that tested a bunch of (mass-produced) road bikes and many were out of alignment by almost a 1/4″…! That’s over 6mm! I hope those were the outliers but still…

So, now what? Well, I have sold the Access 65 jig to a guy in Boulder and await my new Anvil JMan 3.1 🙂  But since we’re moving, I will be unable to build for at least a month, maybe two, while we move and set up the shop in Mayberry.  I have a bunch of friends waiting for frames already (9, i believe) and that doesn’t include the new frame and fork I want to make myself…!

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