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Old 08-19-12, 07:18 AM   #1
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Bike art or over-ripe fruit?

About a week ago one of the crew started a thread about making a saddle from aluminum. I tried it a bit and basically failed. I lost control of the piece of metal for a variety of reasons and ended up tossing it. I had tried to do a "freehand" piece using just the dollys and hammers. Anyway, upward on onward.

Yesterday I figured I would try it again with copper. I knew it would be useless but I was trying to have fun. I decided to make a new thread since it's really not a saddle (useless) and it's not aluminum.

I drew a saddle shape on a piece of plywood. I have a lot of it around from a local cabinet shop. This wasn't a good place to start as plywood is layers of different types of wood with different properties. My type of fun rarely includes planning or correcting mistakes. I just go.

By the time I had the camera out, I had the basic shape. I have a bandsaw and a variety of belt sanders. None are ideal for wood working. I shaped the contours with the belt pulleys while sitting on the floor. I ended up covered with dust!


29 141 by frankthewelder, on Flickr

This is about when I figured this too was a waste of time because the layers of wood were full of holes and super soft in places. I am thinking about epoxy coating and other things that take time and just went on with the wood.


29 142 by frankthewelder, on Flickr


I tried to use the bandsaw on the copper (25# roofing copper) and it almost got sucked down the hole by the blade. This stuff is like a slice of rubber. I ended up with aviation snips.


29 144 by frankthewelder, on Flickr

Because the saddle is round all over with reversing elements, I glued the copper to the piece of wood in a curved fashion to get one bend out of the way.


29 148 by frankthewelder, on Flickr

I found a piece of perforated stainless sheet while I was digging!


29 147 by frankthewelder, on Flickr

I beat on it with a hammer for a while and when I pushed one place, it would come up elsewhere. I used a mechanical "shrinker" to ravel it up in places. This is when I finally felt like I was making some progress.


29 149 by frankthewelder, on Flickr

I bent a piece of 1/4" rod to a visually familiar but useless shape and set the "thing" on it. Hey, it looks like a saddle!


29 150 by frankthewelder, on Flickr

I tried to make a device once that cooked a potato from the inside using metal rods inserted in a potato. This reminded me of that just a bit!

I thought it might be a bit better if it were "butchered" so I went to the belt sander (wheel again) and the belt was clogged with wood and almost smooth. When the copper got hot the wood oil in the belt got hot and "gassed" I guess and made a brilliant color on the copper.

A friend and local artist Jean Claude recently taught me a technique to color copper so I figured I would give this a shot. This may some secret recipe or standard art school stuff but I am not going to share this part. It was nice enough with the small dents from all the work so I just colored it, clear coated and went back to work on other projects.

Here are some of my results:


29 159 by frankthewelder, on Flickr


29 160 by frankthewelder, on Flickr


29 161 by frankthewelder, on Flickr
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Old 08-19-12, 07:23 AM   #2
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Interesting and artful project. If I knew you had some much extra time I would have been sending you some forks to lengthen the steerer.
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Old 08-19-12, 07:24 AM   #3
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Ha! That's pretty cool, Frank. It looks great.
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Old 08-19-12, 07:32 AM   #4
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Needs an "FTW" imprint on the rear end!
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Old 08-19-12, 07:37 AM   #5
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Visually familiar but useless! I love it!

Frank, I trust you remember I have your Lauterwelder handlebar installed on my Fothergill, and it suits the bike perfect. Were it not for the latter fact (and it really is one of my most prized possessions), I would return it so you could make a Picasso-esque bull's head sculpture.

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Old 08-19-12, 07:38 AM   #6
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it looks great!

make sure to smear it with semichrome before every ride, it will only get better with time!
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Old 08-19-12, 07:55 AM   #7
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Needs an "FTW" imprint on the rear end!
Actually, I was thinking it should have a relief of Lincoln's head on top, and "LIBERTY" across the back !

Still, I applaud your effort. It looks pretty cool.

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Old 08-19-12, 08:04 AM   #8
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That looks fantastic! I think it should mount a bamboo bike that wll never get ridden and be used ornamentaly.
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Old 08-19-12, 08:12 AM   #9
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Ya know, secondary product lines have begun in similar fashion with the craftsman just playing around, then someone takes notice, works get commissioned, and an artist is born. Have fun, keep it fun, and pass one along to a good friend or customer from time to time.
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Old 08-19-12, 08:25 AM   #10
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I knew it wouldn't be long after that thread when you'd get cranking, Frank. My only objection to this thread is your overuse of the word "useless". On the contrary. This artistic saddle may not be useable on a bike, but useless it aint. An interesting and beautiful object.
Great work.
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Old 08-19-12, 08:31 AM   #11
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Art! Thiswpuld go perfectly with the brass plated bike by dutch framebuilderm-engineering. Some real steampunk vibe.
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Old 08-19-12, 09:07 AM   #12
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That looks good. I like it. I'd ride a century on it.

Have you thought about doing a planished one?
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Old 08-19-12, 09:25 AM   #13
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A copper saddle cries out for leather rivets, even if they're strictly ornamental.

I don't know why you'd call this useles. It may not be ideal, but I am curious enough to ride it at least once.
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Old 08-19-12, 09:57 AM   #14
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Hippy fixie riders will be knocking on your door now!
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Old 08-19-12, 10:51 AM   #15
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With regard to shaping wood, you might consider obtaining a good patternmaker's hand rasp with randomly oriented teeth. Either the Nicholson #49 or 50 will work. These are not cheap but they make the shaping of wood in any grain orientation much easier. I follow up with medium adhesive backed sandpaper on a wooden dowel and then free sanding by hand.
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Old 08-19-12, 11:03 AM   #16
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Ooh copper! Copper has been my life this summer. I've been working for this guy- http://imgur.com/a/MJP41

25# is pretty tough to work with. Everything we do is with either 16 or 12 pound. Your "color" is in a rather strategic spot, having a flex point there is probably just about right. If you have a gas flux line in that shop of yours, try heating the copper up to a cherry red, it should yield a vibrant red color.

If you try this again, you might try making a negative form and pounding the copper into it, rather than over it.
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Old 08-19-12, 11:52 AM   #17
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Beautiful work, definitely art in my book.
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Old 08-19-12, 01:45 PM   #18
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I think it will take a while to take the imprint of your sit-bones.

But I like it, and I like to work in copper, making vessels. No, I'm not cooking moonshine.
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Old 08-19-12, 01:53 PM   #19
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We like the look. You need to make a non-functioning but aesthetically pleasing wall art bike to put the seat on. Maybe a faux- 1900's vintage racer? Wood rims, black Japan finish with gold leaf graphics. Nickel finish cottered cranks. Bigass front chainwheel.

I'm jealous. Can barely open a can of refried beans without making a mess of it.
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Old 08-19-12, 03:26 PM   #20
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Tom and Tim, I think you missed the point that the rails, though familiar looking, are not actually attached to the copper saddle.

The possibility remains, though, to rivet the copper thang to a real Brooks (or similar) nose piece and rails. Frank, if you want me to do that for you, I'm up for it. It might be worth it, just to get Tim to ride a century on it! I rode a century on an untested saddle early in July, and it was what they call a pain in the @$$.
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Old 08-19-12, 03:36 PM   #21
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Very neat piece! Sometimes guys must get creative, even if it's not logical.

No details were mentioned why the aluminum failed, but I remember from watching a chopper builder creating a custom aluminum gas tank, that the aluminum sheet needs to be annealed with a yellow flame before pounding it into its rough shape, and then english-wheeled. Otherwise the aluminum splits and cracks.
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Old 08-19-12, 03:45 PM   #22
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I'm sorry but I can just see an update to this thread in a few months if Frank gets it completed and rides the saddle for a bit. Along the lines of "Why is my Butt Turning Green?"

Frank it looks beautiful, you have more patience and skill than I will ever have. +1 for the leather rivets, classic is the only word for them.

Bill
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Old 08-19-12, 06:09 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bianchigirll View Post
Interesting and artful project. If I knew you had some much extra time I would have been sending you some forks to lengthen the steerer.
That is easy work if you have an extra fork we can take a steerer from.

Thanks PB and Justin!

Quote:
Originally Posted by rhm View Post
Visually familiar but useless! I love it!

Frank, I trust you remember I have your Lauterwelder handlebar installed on my Fothergill, and it suits the bike perfect. Were it not for the latter fact (and it really is one of my most prized possessions), I would return it so you could make a Picasso-esque bull's head sculpture.
I always like his work 'cause it looks crazy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paramount1973 View Post
With regard to shaping wood, you might consider obtaining a good patternmaker's hand rasp with randomly oriented teeth. Either the Nicholson #49 or 50 will work. These are not cheap but they make the shaping of wood in any grain orientation much easier. I follow up with medium adhesive backed sandpaper on a wooden dowel and then free sanding by hand.
Wood has always been a mystery to me. I have no problem buying Nicholson, thanks for the tip! I need to use something besides plywood also!

Quote:
Originally Posted by rhm View Post
Tom and Tim, I think you missed the point that the rails, though familiar looking, are not actually attached to the copper saddle.

The possibility remains, though, to rivet the copper thang to a real Brooks (or similar) nose piece and rails. Frank, if you want me to do that for you, I'm up for it. It might be worth it, just to get Tim to ride a century on it! I rode a century on an untested saddle early in July, and it was what they call a pain in the @$$.
Because of how "raveled up" that metal is (to get an idea try to wrap a piece of notebook paper over a saddle) it has sort of a weird tension to it. I think if we applied the technology suggested by three of the posters by planishing the sheet to the inside of a mold with thinner annealed material would be the hot ticket. I have a Ingersol air riveter that I made a tool with a treaded end that a urethane hammer insert screws into. That would flow that stuff in.

I used 5052 that was like 060 or something. I am pretty good at annealing aluminum but my hammering skills are a bit rusty. I got a new 40" tall 18" diameter stripped log a while ago and haven't modified the surface yet.

May be I can sell a few of these and get new tendons in my arms. Mine are shot.

Last edited by ftwelder; 08-19-12 at 06:32 PM.
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Old 08-19-12, 06:10 PM   #24
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I love it!
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