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  1. #1
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    what's the best book for everything?

    I've heard Barnett's Manual is the best, but looking at the table of contents it doesn't even seem to cover internal hubs. What else is it missing?

    Is there a book out there that covers everything? The be all and end all of bicycle mechanics? I know that it would be better to learn from an expert, but my impression is that the folks at the local bike places don't know what they're doing. In fact, that's my main motivation for wanting to learn it myself. It seems to be the only way to get competent work done.

    I don't mind paying a premium for a good book, but it needs to be comprehensive. I have bikes with unusual parts or that use parts in unusual ways. So books that only cover typical arrangements aren't going to work for me. Furthermore, I have bikes with parts that aren't "bike parts". Roller chains, belts, etc that meet real international manufacturing standards such as ANSI, ISO, JIS. Some people would call these parts "nonstandard", it is really bike parts that are non standard (or, should I say, not in accordance with a standard code, but instead according to a traditional convention). I need a manual that I can ask, "Is this a 'bike part', yes or no?" So that I can distinguish proprietary parts, from traditional bike parts, from standard manufacturing parts and when possible compare/contrast their specifications to determine appropriate repair, maintenance, and compatibility. Ideally I'd like to be able to understand bicycle operation so well that I could replace a "bike part" with a JIS standard part or vice versa and take reasonable guesses at how operation might change.

    So is there a comprehensive book on bicycle mechanics? Perhaps one that bike design engineers might consult?

  2. #2
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    So, are you looking for a book that tells how to disassemble and fix complex things like internal hubs and STI shifters, etc? I highly doubt that you'll be able to find such a book. What is the point if you can't find replacement parts anyway?

    If you want to check for compatibily, just find out the model of your part and google it.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barabaika View Post
    So, are you looking for a book that tells how to disassemble and fix complex things like internal hubs and STI shifters, etc? I highly doubt that you'll be able to find such a book. What is the point if you can't find replacement parts anyway?

    If you want to check for compatibily, just find out the model of your part and google it.
    I suspect that by using parts manufactured according to standards like ANSI, ISO, JIS, etc that one can find near replacements for anything if you know what the exact specs are for the original parts. Of course, you need to know how to diagnose the problem and diassemble/reassemble the component. But if you can do that then getting the right part is just a matter of knowing what to call it, measuring its dimensions, and comparing it to the specs provided in one of the above standards.

    I seriously doubt that googling will return these kinds of specs for anything except the most common bicycle parts. I can't even find the relevant measurements on google for comparing a bicycle chain to an ANSI standard roller chain (specs like roller diameter, roller width, tensile strength, minimum flex radius, etc).

    Not that I know that much about internal hubs, but lots of people say that they really aren't that complicated. However, I'm sure it will be complicated as hell if I have to reverse engineer it. Don't they teach how the hub on an English 3 speed works over at Barnett's?

    I mean, sheesh, there are books out there that teach things much more complicated than any bicycle part. What does the master bicycle mechanic do when he is stumped? Where did the bicycle mechanic that knows how to fix internal hubs learn? It's not like we're talking about proprietary parts here. Internal hubs are relatively common and are very simple compared to the kinds of things you might find in a car.

    Sorry, I don't mean to rant. So Barnett's doesn't include information on internal hubs or sti shifters. What other kind of stuff do you suppose Barnett's is missing? I'm not talking about proprietary stuff, but stuff that's made by many manufacturers. I mean, if there's no book that's comprehensive then I'll just have to deal with it, but it's kind of disappointing to pay a lot of money for a book only to find out that it won't even teach you to fix your bikes. I don't even own a bike with a derailleur.
    Last edited by makeinu; 11-09-07 at 02:51 PM.

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    Why would you need chain specs? You just need to know if it's Shimano or Campagnolo compatible, how many speeds you have, how to measure its wear, how to lube and connect it.

    It's the same with a car. You go to an auto store and say, "I have Corolla 2000. I need a new chain."

    You can find technical info on the Sturmey Archer's internal hubs at their website:
    http://www.sturmey-archer.com/tech_3spd.php

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    META Severian's Avatar
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    Ummm.... Bikes don't conform to "manufacturing standards" except those set down by the manufacturers. eg... there's no ANSI standard chain.

    And repairing complicated watch-like internals is a pain. There are no bike repair books, to my knowledge, that deal with anything more than the basics and never get more complicated than suspension repair. It's assumed that your customers are well-heel'd enough to afford replacing a campy ergopower shifter rather than fixing one little fiddly bit.

    And while it is true that internal-gear hubs aren't REALLY complicated (not like an STI shifter) it's not worth it to repair them, and finding spare parts will be most of your time and headache. Ie... not worth it.

  6. #6
    Tell them I hate them Peedtm's Avatar
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    Two guys at my LBS went to Barnett's. We recently had an internal 3speed with an electric auto-transmission come in. The mech fixing it just called Shimano and had them fax some blown up views. You can't expect a book to have schematics for every part, but you'd hope it would teach you how to read them.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barabaika View Post
    Why would you need chain specs? You just need to know if it's Shimano or Campagnolo compatible, how many speeds you have, how to measure its wear, how to lube and connect it.

    It's the same with a car. You go to an auto store and say, "I have Corolla 2000. I need a new chain."

    You can find technical info on the Sturmey Archer's internal hubs at their website:
    http://www.sturmey-archer.com/tech_3spd.php
    I don't mean to be rude, but I need chain specs because if I go to a bike shop I get someone like you who says "you just need to know if it's shimano or campagnolo". Where do I even begin?

    Shimano and Campagnolo chains are only varieties of 3/32" width "bicycle chain", but 1/8" or 3/16" width "bicycle chain" are common on single speed, fix gear, and track bikes. Some track bikes even use 1" pitch chain, even though it's commonly said that all "bicycle chain" is 1/2" pitch. I personally have a bike with an ANSI #25 chain (which wouldn't be considered a "bicycle chain" and isn't carried by any bike shop). This situation creates several questions. For example, can I buy chain for all my bikes from the same supplier? Most bike shops certainly wouldn't carry an ANSI #25 chain. If I order all my chain from a chain company what specification should I ask for? They don't know what kind of chain Shimano uses, I need to tell them (the guy at the bike shop doesn't know either....he just knows that the chain he bought was advertised as "Shimano compatible", but he might be paying double for that cycling specific advertising). I could go on and on about chains, as it's something I've had the opportunity to learn a bit about, but I'll stop here.

    I might be able go to the auto store and say "I have Corolla 2000. I need a new chain". I might also be able to just give them the car and say "Please fix my car. It's the blue one." On the other hand I might not because the guy that works there might not be familiar with the Corolla 2000. However, even if I could I wouldn't want to do that. I want to fix my own machine, I want to order my own parts to specification, I want to know what I'm doing, and I want to tinker. I don't want to depend on cycling specific advertisers who don't know or care what's best for me and my bike anymore than I want to depend on bike mechanics who don't know or care what's best for me and my bike.

    I want to learn how to do it myself. I want to actually know whether or not a part is not only compatible, but how it will affect the operation of my bike, not because some advertiser looking to empty my pockets told me to buy it, but because I know how the component is supposed to operate and I know the specifications required.

    Can anyone here recommend Sutherland's Handbook? That seems to be a highly regarded book with extensive part specifications, even for internal hubs. Perhaps that, together with the Barnett's book will give me what I'm looking for. However, I'm a little wary as I witnessed one of the author's of Sutherland's being corrected about a tire specification on another message board (and, yes, to the best of my knowledge he did need to be corrected and he didn't deny it...he was simply unaware that the referred to specification even existed and, thus, assumed the original reference was a typo). I'd hate to spend $200 on the Sutherland's book only to find out that it "comprehensively" covers only the kinds of bikes which I don't own.

  8. #8
    The Red Lantern Rev.Chuck's Avatar
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    Pocket Reference by Thomas Glover

    http://www.amazon.com/Pocket-Ref-Tho...559625-8740940
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Severian View Post
    Ummm.... Bikes don't conform to "manufacturing standards" except those set down by the manufacturers. eg... there's no ANSI standard chain.
    That's simply not true. While there is no ANSI number which refers to a standard bicycle chain, ISO and JIS standards do provide a compatible specification.

    I'm speaking of chains because I know a little bit about those, but I want to know that kind of information for every bike part (or at least have a reference manual to get me started). I want to know which parts can be referred to by international standards, which parts are specific to the industry, and which parts are 100% proprietary (specific to the manufacturer).

    Quote Originally Posted by Severian View Post
    And repairing complicated watch-like internals is a pain. There are no bike repair books, to my knowledge, that deal with anything more than the basics and never get more complicated than suspension repair. It's assumed that your customers are well-heel'd enough to afford replacing a campy ergopower shifter rather than fixing one little fiddly bit.

    And while it is true that internal-gear hubs aren't REALLY complicated (not like an STI shifter) it's not worth it to repair them, and finding spare parts will be most of your time and headache. Ie... not worth it.
    That may be the case, but I want to be able to make that decision myself. I want to choose to buy a new one because I decided I didn't want to repair it, not because Shimano decided it's time for me to open up my wallet. Isn't that the whole point of learning how to do it yourself? To have that freedom.

    Quote Originally Posted by Peedtm View Post
    Two guys at my LBS went to Barnett's. We recently had an internal 3speed with an electric auto-transmission come in. The mech fixing it just called Shimano and had them fax some blown up views. You can't expect a book to have schematics for every part, but you'd hope it would teach you how to read them.
    Yes, I agree. So then what's the best book (or set of books)? What will teach me the most about internal hubs (and all other bicycle parts)?

  10. #10
    Tell them I hate them Peedtm's Avatar
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    In terms of books for reading schematics, start with all of them, I think knowledge/experience plays a large part in that.

    For internal hub info, here's a really comprehensive page, though mostly Sturmey-Archer.
    http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~hadland/gear.html

  11. #11
    Senior Member RockyMtnMerlin's Avatar
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    I looked at Sutherlands online today and noted that the "latest" manual you can buy online is only through 2004. I saw no indication that updates were available (but I may have missed something). Barnetts is, indeed a good manual. They have several chapters online that you can review to see if you like it. Interestingly, their BB section (which since it is only an expample may not be updated) had nothing on Campy UT.

    I went to Barnetts one week school a long time ago on a whim and really, really enjoyed it. Calvin (who now does Calvin's corner at Park tools) was very good at his job and an absolute hoot!

    By the way, I was looking for info on which bearing puller (how much room there is behind the bearing into which to insert the arms of the puller) to use on Campy UT bearings. Campy does not offer one (yet). No luck at either Sutherlands, Park or Barnetts.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    That's a tall order.

    The problem is that some things, like suspension components, are changing faster than I'm able to keep up with and faster than publishers can respond to. I doubt that you are going to be able to find a single reference like what you're looking for.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RockyMtnMerlin View Post
    By the way, I was looking for info on which bearing puller (how much room there is behind the bearing into which to insert the arms of the puller) to use on Campy UT bearings. Campy does not offer one (yet). No luck at either Sutherlands, Park or Barnetts.
    You can always google:
    Bearing Extractor Tool for Ultra Torque Bottom Bracket Bearings
    http://cbike.com/tools.htm

  14. #14
    Call me The Breeze I_bRAD's Avatar
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    So you want to do weirdo combos, but you want someone else to figure it out for you?

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by I_bRAD View Post
    So you want to do weirdo combos, but you want someone else to figure it out for you?
    +1 haha

    Anyways, you won't find a book that will be comprehensive. Just too many different parts/standards from all different time periods all with their own nuances and idosyncracies.

    Find the information as you need it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by I_bRAD View Post
    So you want to do weirdo combos, but you want someone else to figure it out for you?
    If they are combos of bike industry specific parts then yes. After all, isn't that what it means when a book calls itself the "bible of bike mechanics"?

    You see, the problem is that I have weirdo combos. Really weirdo combos like bikes with electric scooter chains, wheel chair rims, parts used upside down, etc. This is the way some of my bikes are made. So it's not like I'm choosing weirdo combos; I'm stuck with them.

    I figure if I can't at least get a handle on every configuration possible with bike industry specific parts then I'll never get a handle on the really weirdo combos I'm stuck with.

    I can't just google about repair and maintenance of wheel chair rims for cycling because it isn't common enough. I need to completely understand how bicycle rims are repaired and maintained. Then I need to understand how wheel chair rims are repaired and maintained. Then I need to use my imagination and consider how the manufacturer intended the wheel chair rim to work for my bicycle and deduce how to best repair and maintain the wheel chair rim as used on my bicycle. Rims are not a very complicated part, but I'm citing that because it's something I know about one of my bicycles. I'm sure there must be more complex parts that are also weird like that, but at my current level of bike mechanical knowledge I can't recognize the difference. I can't tell if the stem on one of my bikes is a part typically used in the bike industry or not and I can't tell if it's being used in typical fashion or not.

    I know that there is no book that will tell me how to deal with all I have. However, I figure a good bike mechanic could figure it out. It's probably easier for me to become that mechanic than to find him and convince him to try to figure out my bike. In a nutshell, that's why I want a comprehensive book.
    Last edited by makeinu; 11-09-07 at 07:37 PM.

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    Are you a chair/handcycle guy?
    If you are then you will not find anything in any of the manuals that speaks to your exact issues. You will need to be able to deduce, with the aid of bike tech books, what works for you. You need to have some decent tech skill that does not come from a book. I have a couple of customers with racing chairs and handcycles(Including this guy: http://www.teameverest03.org/challen...m/mezzell.html ), the info for thier equipment is not in Barnetts or Sutherlands. However basic wheel building info and chainline info is. You need to work from that.

    Your gripe is like me griping that I can not find a Honda manual that will tell me how to use one of their engine/transaxle combos in my rock crawler.
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    Call me The Breeze I_bRAD's Avatar
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    Seriously, if you want to live on the fringe, you're gonna have to figure it out yourself.

  19. #19
    Senior Member RockyMtnMerlin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barabaika View Post
    You can always google:
    Bearing Extractor Tool for Ultra Torque Bottom Bracket Bearings
    http://cbike.com/tools.htm
    I did that too. I was looking for one that seemed to be a bit more substantial. If not, that one for just under $50 will be the ticket. (I should have mentioned that in my first post and save you the trouble - Sorry!)

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by makeinu View Post
    If they are combos of bike industry specific parts then yes. After all, isn't that what it means when a book calls itself the "bible of bike mechanics"?

    You see, the problem is that I have weirdo combos. Really weirdo combos like bikes with electric scooter chains, wheel chair rims, parts used upside down, etc. This is the way some of my bikes are made. So it's not like I'm choosing weirdo combos; I'm stuck with them.

    I figure if I can't at least get a handle on every configuration possible with bike industry specific parts then I'll never get a handle on the really weirdo combos I'm stuck with.

    I can't just google about repair and maintenance of wheel chair rims for cycling because it isn't common enough. I need to completely understand how bicycle rims are repaired and maintained. Then I need to understand how wheel chair rims are repaired and maintained. Then I need to use my imagination and consider how the manufacturer intended the wheel chair rim to work for my bicycle and deduce how to best repair and maintain the wheel chair rim as used on my bicycle. Rims are not a very complicated part, but I'm citing that because it's something I know about one of my bicycles. I'm sure there must be more complex parts that are also weird like that, but at my current level of bike mechanical knowledge I can't recognize the difference. I can't tell if the stem on one of my bikes is a part typically used in the bike industry or not and I can't tell if it's being used in typical fashion or not.

    I know that there is no book that will tell me how to deal with all I have. However, I figure a good bike mechanic could figure it out. It's probably easier for me to become that mechanic than to find him and convince him to try to figure out my bike. In a nutshell, that's why I want a comprehensive book.

    Building a book like you want is extremely expensive and the market for it is probably negligible. It would take so much convincing to get all rivals companies to entrust all their specifications to a single source, copyright and royalties are just the beginning of all this. A book like that would have to be updated relatively frequently at a large effort and the market for it would be very limited. Your best bet it to collect several books that explain the mechanics and methodologies and supplement those with whatever specifications you can get from product manuals and brochures as well as manufacturer's and other website. Remember, some of this material may only be available or accessible to authorized dealers, so you'll have to find your way around it.

  21. #21
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    good luck. it sounds like you might be in a little over your head with all these contraptions.

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    Well... in all honesty you're not going to find one book to do it all. so do it like professional mechanics do and get every book on the market. See what works for you and throw out the pages that don't.

    And if you're trying to find something that matches what you've got on your bike then google IS your only friend. Start searching and learn your booleans.

    oh and check out sheldon brown's website. that'll give you something to read for a while.

    And if you want to become your own mechanic on your own contraption that's probably your best route. I'm damn sure that if you wheel your wheels (heh) into a shop and ask them how to fix your home-brew they'll scratch their heads and then charge you more than you want to pay but less than it's worth their time to fix. Mostly because they'll have no clear idea of how much of their time your project is going to eventually cost them.

    Sorry Frodo, gollum has the ring.
    Last edited by Severian; 11-09-07 at 11:05 PM. Reason: more thoughts

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    Bikeforums is also your friend. I expand my knowledge by asking questions here. It takes time, and sometimes it can be 30 responses and a week before I arrive at the answer I'm looking for, and generally, I have another 20 questions queued up, but I get there in the end. There maybe no other way on earth, for instance, to learn how to marry up a Sturmey Archer AW and a multispeed freewheel than ask Sheldon Brown.

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    Re:makeinu
    If you have enough time on your hands to worry about things like this, you have enough time to figure them out, if you are half as smart as you pretend to be. Are you serious, or just trying to impress someone? Get a life!

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    Quote Originally Posted by waldowales View Post
    Re:makeinu
    If you have enough time on your hands to worry about things like this, you have enough time to figure them out, if you are half as smart as you pretend to be. Are you serious, or just trying to impress someone? Get a life!
    What do you mean get a life? If my vehicles are not maintained then my life cannot proceed.



    In any case, I think I'm going to start with Barnett's book because I found a good deal on that. I guess I'll feel it out from there. Does anyone recommend a better book to start with than Barnett's? Sutherland's actually looks like it might be a bit more appropriate for me, but it costs 10x as much. So I'm going to hold off on Sutherland's until I can find a good deal.

    Thanks for your help everyone (that is, everyone except waldowales).

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