Archive for the ‘Artifacts’ Category

Monday Morning Mystery Photo

March 16, 2008 2 comments

What is it?  Here is a hint: this element is often given as a gift.  Answer below the fold.

If you told your spouse you were going to give her 100,000 diamonds, would she be impressed?  How would she react if she unwrapped the package and this diamond whetstone was inside?  (click on the picture to see the whole “stone”)

The diamonds are industrially produced, and bonded to a steel plate.  It’s an extremely effective tool for sharpening a knife.  My dad used a variety of whetstones, always different grades of naturally occurring novaculite, with water or oil.  I wonder what he would have thought of a steel+diamond whetstone.

It is a necessity though.  Trying to sharpen a pocketknife made of 154cm alloy with novaculite would be an exercise in frustration.  (OK it would work but I wouldn’t have the patience for it) I am pretty sure my dad would have liked 154cm though.

Categories: Artifacts

A second bike this year

June 11, 2007 4 comments

In an average year I might rebuild one bike; this year, looks like it’s going to be two.  This one belongs to a good friend of the family and it’s about to enter into its second life.  It’s another Schwinn, much older than the first one I did this year,  one of the classic ones with the forged forks and a Sturmey-Archer 3-speed hub.  This bike is old enough to require the special S-type tires but a local bike shop carries those.  They were great-riding machines of very high quality – no reason it couldn’t still be in use in another 25 years.  (probably modernized with carbon-fibre wheels – I have a hunch those will get cheaper and become standard in ten years or so)

Yesterday I cleaned rust off the wheels with a product called “MetalReady” that contains phosphoric acid and zinc phosphate, then sealed them with wheel lacquer – they look new if you don’t look too closely.  The fenders are shot, though – rusted to the point of weakness.  But the frame is fit as a fiddle, the wheels are straight, and in every other respect the bike looks very promising.  From here it’s replacing cables and repacking bearings.  It’s getting a new seat, new pedals, and probably more modern handgrips, and the brakes need attention – there are special composite brake shoes available now that really improve braking. 

UPDATE: 04Sept07

It took some doing, but the classic Schwinn rides again.  I put on new aluminum cruiser handlebars with Serfas grips, brake handles, cables, pedals, tires, and front axle/bearings, and treated some rusted components with POR-15 (gooseneck and crankset).  Found a new “Schwinn” seat.  The chain was OK, cleaned it in an ultrasonic cleaner and treated it with Teflon™ chain lube.  Found some paint that approximately matched the original for spot touch-ups, then coated the frame with wheel lacquer.  Weinmann brake shoes that I customized for the angled braking surfaces of the S-type wheels.  Completely rebuilt the Sturmey-Archer hub.  Reflectorized the front chainwheel, rims, and hubs.  Owner seemed pleased.

Categories: Artifacts

Sometimes nagging doubts are the best kind

May 13, 2007 2 comments

I was almost done with this bike when I thought; “That crankset seems a bit rough.  I better repack those bearings.”  It was the ancient kind that uses an axle, bearings, and cups instead of a simple axle/bearing cartridge that just screws into the frame.

The axle cones were blown.  Where there should have been a shiny bearing-track were pitted regions that foretold broken bearings and failure. 

This was specially annoying because, in an ill-advised attempt to clean up the garage, I threw out a bunch of old bike parts last year.  One of those parts was a Tagaki crankset assembly identical to the one I now held in my hand.  I had thought; “When am I ever going to need one of these?”

Well, now, for instance.  “The lesson is, never throw anything out,” my son said.  (Unfortunately, this is the de facto policy of our household, which is the reason there’s so very little space in such a large house)

MrsDoF and I had lunch at Wendy’s, and then we checked a trash pile where I’d seen a bike old enough to have that kind of crank – it was gone.  We pulled into the driveway and I said “Goose chase”.  Or rather, Goose-egg.

Except…  hmm… while I might throw out a cheap crankset, it wouldn’t be like me to throw out the axle.  After all, an axle takes up hardly any space at all.  And axle cones fail even when the cups themselves are OK; it’s just where the force of operation is most concentrated.  In fact, I probably would have tossed that axle into my parts bucket.  And being heavy, it would find its way to the bottom!

Which it did.  Now all I need to do is go buy two bearing races (cheap) and the bike is ready.  :coolsmirk: