Take a look at the finished bicycle here..

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

The wooden frame!!!!!

Here it is, fresh out of its clamps, the two halfs finally fixed together with the metal bits and the rear stays all in ONE PIECE!

The frame all in one piece for the first time.

And a vid of the frame.. all in one piece for the first time.

What this really means is that the project has taken a massive step into the final phase. Sanding off all the resin seapage, and final smoothing to make it ready for varnishing.

I could put it together and attempt to ride it, but really I need to put the saddle in and the final strengthening bolts in the topof the stays. Its going to be tough, but I am going to resist.

Monday, 22 August 2011

Fixing and Gluing... Well epoxying.

   I got to a point of no return, having got all the metal work finished, the final laminating of the main frame was upon me.

Prepping for the final epoxy fix on the main frame.

It meant a lot of guess work around the amount of resin I would need to mix up for the job, and in the end I was slightly short and had to do a hasty additional mix. The west system epoxy I have been using has been great, really easy to use at every stage. I put in the metal head tube and bottom bracket sections after the initial 'wetting up' and from there there was no going back. It was just lining it all up and clamping it into position, then cleaning down any excess epoxy after clamping from around the metal parts that I would nor be able to sand back later.

 All clamped up, just need to wait for it to go off.

Head tube with decal, fixed in, no going back.

I also managed to get the back end all lined up, and fixed with epoxy the day before. It was slightly less nerve racking, although I don't know why because technically it was harder. However it all worked out. I had drilled small holes in the inside of the metal drop outs where they join the hanger to allow excess epoxy to squirt out, as the fitting with the wooden frame was too tight at the join to let it out. It allowed me to put plenty in and not worry about a dry join. When I was fixing them together I measured from the center of each stay where it joins the frame, to the end of the drop out to get them centered. I also delicately popped the wheel in to see how it lined up, it was good.

Back end all epoxied together.

Next steps are to fix the main frame and back end together, to have THE WHILE WOODEN FRAME  together as one for the first time. Then to do final shaping and sanding ready for the posh yacht varnish I have procured.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Moving on.

So I made the change to the head tube angle, this will have to be it, there is no going back now. Unfortunately during the fitting and reshaping of the wood, I pranged the paint on the head tube really badly. I have had to rub it back and repaint it, which is a real shame as It was a good paint job and the head set was fitted so I have had to spray over and around the installed headset which is not ideal. But i think it will be fine.
If I hadn't messed up the head tube paint, I could have resined the main frame together, but that had to wait, will be the next job, then i can do the final shape and sand.
Rear drop outs are sprayed in the shiny green colour, just need lacquering, then I can resin the rear set together.
I also spotted a pair of leather handlebar grips on eBay, couldn't resist.

Friday, 12 August 2011

The fix?

      I have had a good look for some replacement forks second hand, and there are some nice ones out there but I cant use them because I have made the head tube on the plycycle longer than average. All the second hand forks are cut down. I don't want to 'fork out' for a new set, so I am going to work with what i have.

How did the front get so out? Well... The head tube is longer (for strength binding to the wood) and therefore lifts the front of the frame, and the forks are slightly longer (off the shelf and cheap) and although individually these extras don't seem like much in the end it is about 3.5cm of lift. Enough to radically move the front of the bike away from what I had in mind.

I put the photo of the bike into photoshop and measured and analysed and this is what I think.
with the forks I have I will never get the top of the frame horizontal with the ground, I can handle that, just. As for the relationship of the front wheel to the main frame, I can play with that a bit. Luckily there is plenty of room to adjust the angle and position of the head tube mounting. So I propose moving the head tube back and steepening the angle. This will take the top of the frame further from the horizontal but I think will bring the bikes proportions back together.

Looking at the angle change in photoshop.

Hopefully I can make the tweak easily enough, and then it really is put it together time.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Its a wooden bike.. of sorts.

Today was a big day. I had gathered up all the remaining bits of metal work that had been having bit and pieces done to them and finally cobbled the bike together.

And this is what it looked like.
The Plycycle  cobbled together for the first time.

It was mostly a success. Well the back half and the main frame anyway. I am really disappointed with how the front forks have fitted. It is my fault, I just hadn't appreciated how much different they were to the ones on my old fixie that I had based the geometry on, I bought these cheaply on eBay. It has had two main effects. The first is the gap between the front wheel and the frame is too much. Compared to the rear that is compact and more balanced it feels out on a limb. The second is that it takes the top of the frame of horizontal. Not what I had wanted.
So what do I do? The bike will work perfectly well as it is, and I dare say that once it has a saddle and handle bars fitted it will not be so noticeable. However, having got this far and to feel this disappointed makes me want to do something about it. 
My plan is to try and find an old/vintage or second hand racer forks which generally have about half the distance between the crown and the wheel that the cheap bulky pair I bought have.
We shall see, if I can find a set that fit my existing head tube, and don't cost much, then perhaps I will be aesthetically saved.

Have a closer look on this vid.

Plycycle  cobble, vid,