Your paintwork is looking great. I’m a huge fan of single color or simple panels and the blue on FNL was superb. Your show bike was amazing in pics, must have been an absolute stunner in person. Curious how many 100s of hours that project consumed from your life?
Thank you for the nice words on the show bike. I said in the big NAHBS thread that bringing that bike to the show was a deliberate decision to bring something to show what “could be done” with my skill, but not what I intend to make on an “everyday” basis. It was on the idea of a concept car at an auto show. The other bike in my booth was a fairly straight up road travel bicycle that was more indicative of what I want to base my business on. My business travel for Simonds (my day job) dried up completely the first week of November, but prior to that I was on the road about a third of my life. I had many long days on the road driving from lumber mill to lumber mill in central Manitoba/Saskatchewan/Alberta/British Columbia and a lot of nights in random hotels x, y and z to think about my framebuilding. I remember back during one trip in August or September I got the idea stuck in my head that I wanted to use abalone in a frame to commemorate my 5th year of being in business. I started to do some research and it quickly became evident that figuring out how to bend abalone around a radius would prove to be way more difficult that I thought. During a lot of those lonely trips to western Canada I emailed and talked to abalone distributors about different species of shell, guitar luthiers and jewelers about trying to figure out how to accomplish what I was trying to do. During that time I was working with John Langdon to try and design a new version of my ambigram. The result was a medieval version that I think is pretty darn cool. I had seen some faux wood paint on cars, bikes, etc and researched how to accomplish that look. One day I thought of building up some bands to look like nodes on bamboo and then I had to figure out not only how to paint steel look like wood, but specifically bamboo. During a trip to Portland, Oregon for business I took a trip over to Aaron Hayes’ house (of the closed Courage Bicycle) to buy his Anvil Brake Boss Jig. While I was there I saw some of his very cool proprietary dropouts and bought a pair to use for the frame. Along the way during the planning process I decided on using a Press Fit 30 bottom bracket (with “necessity being the mother of invetion” leading me to designing a PressFit 30 reamer for my Park head tube reamer) and using the new Paragon head tube for the Chris King inSet headset. There was a lot of time planning and ordering aspects to that frame, so when I got to working on it in my shop it was actually very smooth. Tyler Evans referenced it in his SO thread, but I visualized the steps over and over again in my head (what else are you going to do in Swan River, Manitoba?!) I felt like I had made 50 of the same frame. The frame was divided up over a number of finite steps over the course of many months and the mental time I devoted to it was well into the hundreds of hours, but I really felt like I wouldn’t have been doing anything else during that time. Its going to be a lot of fun to build a couple replicas for orders I have recently received, as I have learned a lot about how to deal with all of the different materials. The bike has accomplished the intended goal of getting more people to know who I am. I am confident that more people stopped at my booth and subsequently had a conversation with me because of that bike than if I had not done something of the ilk; knowing I have a greater chance at selling a frame if I have a chance to talk and interact with someone.
Sorry for rambling, but I hope that gives some insight!