Sunday 21 December 2008

It's not just bikes and saddles I make.

Check out the Dolma (Turkish) also known as Dolmades in Greek. But we do the Turkish version in our house. I guess I just like making stuff, including food. In the third image you can see MDF, the happy (I hope) owner of the yellow machine from an earlier post.

Plenty of other delicious Turkish dishes where this one came from. I learned it from Feride, one of the toughest food critics around. If she doesn't like it she'll let you know, and forget about messing around with the traditional recipes, no surprise ingredients.

What's With the Skulls?

The sequence of images is not really chronological (having a bit of trouble with the blogger interface). In any case, here's a little bit of an out of sequence pictorial story of the skull saddle. The latest is at the top and everything else is scattered randomly thereafter. There are trial swatches trying to figure out how to represent a skull in pink, in leather whilst keeping it functional as a saddle. That means durability and comfort. The machine embroidered option wasn't really under consideration because the stitching would disappear in no time with the abrasion of the cyclist's back side!

I'm starting to wonder what will come next in the skull series or whether the skulls have reached their logical conclusion. Maybe something like family crests?

Monday 15 December 2008

Evil Pinky & Some Golden Treasure

Here's what I got up to on the weekend. Recovering / restoring a battered old Rolls with a little of the busyman signature stitch. I estimated a week for this job but once I get started I can't stop til it's complete. I even had to wait for a break in the relentless rain to ride over to the Maiike Studio for some extra long rivet shanks to re-attach the golden trim. As usual an exciting job that caused anxiety at every stage. I'm happy with the end result, even though the gold wasn't real and pretty much polished off when I cleaned it.

The Evil Pinky: What can I say, this was an exciting job because of the different and dramatic application of this embossing technique. I'm really happy with the outcome. The Evil Pinky and the Red Flame are for Mr and Mrs Shifter respectively.

Next post hopefully there's an update on the Mixte, currently it's at the powder coater and electro-plater. The rims have just been polished, the coaster hub is waiting at Shifter Bikes, the red tires are still in Japan and I think I might have to make a special saddle.

Sunday 7 December 2008

The Next One on the Bookshelf: Top Shelf of Course

It's the Jaffa-Mocha-Latte sitting on the bookshelf now. Still waiting for the appropriate 36 hole back hub to arrive. The solution for the yellow bike isn't going to work for this one because the 36 hole rims have been powder coated especially for the build, pedals are matching too. So here it sits now waiting patiently for things to start moving again.

It's an exciting week ahead though, there's plenty of work on the studio table. The skull embossed saddle is looking rather nice and needs glueing along with the new red flame model. I'm also off to the powder coaters and the electro platers this week for the mixte and another fork I thought I'd get chromed just for the hell of it.

Where's Thuy?

A beautiful day for an afternoon ride, great tail wind heading out, surprising head wind coming home. We missed you Thuy and hoped Michael could make it on the "Yellow Machine", maybe next time. Here we are loitering around the back yard / workshop, talking bike and fitting some toe straps to Tri's new bike. So new in fact that not only was it missing toe straps but he hasn't managed to organise his brakes yet. I think secretly he's planning to go brakeless forever. Also waiting around for Samantha to collect the bike she just won in an Ebay auction. It was Feride's Christmas present last year, I guess the Mixte is this years present. Thanks again Feride for the pictures.

Black and White Speed Stripes

A couple of nice shots of Feride's Speed Stripes bike. It's the old red Giant road bike converted to a three speed internal hub gear using the original right hand shifter. Looks great photographed against the Beardleyesque wallpaper in the laundry/bike studio.

Saddle Sunday

It's a saddle Sunday. the saddles have recently returned from "The Art of the Bicycle". Managed to convince Feride to photograph a few of them in more detail. These are some of the more intricate ones with embossing, fancy punched contrast holes and stitch detail. On the tables is a sneak preview of what's on the way. The pink embossed skull model for Emma. Thanks for the photos Feride. Check out her images in Flickr:

Monday 1 December 2008

Yellow Machine is Done

Now that happened much faster than expected. My solution for the 36 hole back hub problem was solved by an idea I had on Thursday night, why not use a new 32 hole rim instead! So I got the rim on Friday night, polished it up on Friday night, delivered it back to Shifter Bikes on Saturday morning. Then Dan called back on Saturday afternoon to inform me that the wheels were ready, I took the bike in and he fit the wheels and drive train for me. That was it, complete. I guess things were just working out on Saturday. Here are a few nice shots by Feride.

The Mixte: Session 2

For some twisted reason I decided to strip the frame instead of the usual send it for sand blasting with the powder coater. The benefit of doing this is it gives you some quality time to bond with the frame and become familiar with all of its blemishes and idiosyncrasies. What I discovered yesterday about the mixte frame is that it has had some repair work done on the right drop out, quite crude repair work, it looks as though it has been welded and not cleaned up afterwards. The repair has thrown the rear spacing slightly out and the top tube/stay at the drop out end is slightly bend when compared to the left one. The question is whether to have it professionally re-repaired or just go with it like it is with a little bit of cleaning up. I think I'll seek some expert advice. Here you can see the frame in its semi-stripped state, some nice lug details and a love heart on the underside of the down tube. Quite appropriate given that the bike is for Feride.

Saturday 29 November 2008

The Mixte: Session 1

Remember that day I was feeling lucky, last weekend when I chanced upon a red Shogun Mixte amongst the South Melbourne nature strip hard rubbish heaps. I felt blessed, I grabbed it straight away. I've had my eyes open for one of these for a while to build up for feride to replace her heavy Indian built Avon bike I bought her last Christmas. The plan is to go single speed with a coaster brake, the good old foot brake. Haven't decided on the colour scheme yet but have decided on chrome plated forks.

So the forks came off on Thursday night and the paint stripper and wet & dry emery paper came out. The fork isn't turning out too bad, a few pock marks and some kind of rough areas that must have happened during the bending of the fork blades. So it's stripped and I'm in the process polishing it up in preparation for the electro-plating. The fork crown looks nice enough though a little crude, also trying to clean it up a bit by evening up its surfaces. I've never had any electro-plating done, fingers crossed it works out well. I'll update with some pictures when the chrome is done.

Here are a few pics of me at work on the forks. Take note of my non-workshop, it's the tiny back yard, courtyard of my little single fronted house in Carlton. Most of the work happens on the paved bricks as you can see, amongst the Autumn leaf and spring blossom debris. The bike junk storage system will also need some serious attention this summer. You might also notice the container of caustic soda and the rim sitting in a paint tray in the background. That's my solution for MDF's hub problem, I'm stripping the anodizing from the rim in order to polish it up. Been having so much trouble tracking down a 36 hole fixed hub to build onto the original rims I've given up and decided to use a new 32 hole rim to match the hubs that are readily available. So in the end the rims will be mismatched, but my theory is that doesn't matter, it's the same on my first fixie, which incidentally MDF referred to when describing what he was after with his yellow machine.

Sunday 23 November 2008

A Very Bikey Weekend

The Melbourne Bicycle Film Festival has been in full swing this weekend. We went to the Program 1 screening on Friday night and really enjoyed most of the shorts films. Tempted to go to another session tonight. Surprisingly Melbourne's crazy weather this weekend didn't manage to put a halt to the outdoors events related to the BFF program. First up on Saturday morning I headed off to the Vintage Bicycle Swap Meet really expecting it to be a washout. The seriously heavy downpoor turned to hail as I arrived (in the car) but the show still went on. Here's my small collection of pickings, alloy bars, cranks and a stem.

Last night I finished another set of leather wrapped bars, two tone. They go very nicely with the wood grain TV, orange candles and Malcolm's painting. The orange toe straps originally intended for Aly's bike will go nicely as will the orange saddle currently in the exhibition at Don't Come Gallery.

Then today I headed off for moring ride to get some fresh air into the lungs hoping the rain would hold. I returned to the place of my collision with the car last Thursday, via a different route. Met up with Ged and Thuy and we headed over to the BFF street party. Things were pretty quiet so decicded to take a ride through South Melbourne, Albert Park and St Kilda, encountered many an Alleycat rider along the way. Hopefully we gave them accurate directions when they asked. On the way back to the street party I couldn't believe my luck when I chanced upon this Red Shogun Mixte in the hard rubbish down a street I wasn't supposed to go down. Today I'm feeling really lucky. I've been planning to find one of these to build up for Feride, to add to her "quiver". It will go nicely with a basket, Brooks and coaster brakes.