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View Poll Results: Natural raw weld beads or weld beads ground perfectly smooth

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  • Natural raw weld beads on Ti and Al frames

    36 62.07%
  • Weld beads ground perfectly smooth on Ti and Al frames

    22 37.93%
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  1. #1
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    POLL: How should the welds appear on titanium frames?

    On another thread there was a difference of opinion on the desirability of grinding the weld beads on titanium frames completely smooth. It was offered that the best "raw" beads (small, delicate, neat, etc.) showed the skill of the welder who would never want to grind them smooth and hide his skill. It was also suggested that some folks may prefer a perfectly smooth, unified look obtained by starting with slightly larger beads that are subsequently ground perfectly smooth and curved into the miter. What do you think and prefer given no difference in strength and durability: very well done natural, raw welds or perfectly smooth beads finished by grinding after welding? I suppose this question could also pertain to aluminum so feel free to opine on that subject as well.

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    Since you included AL I need a third option.

    On Ti I would like them ground. Ti says "clean and precise" to me.

    But for some reason on aluminum I like them to look like toothpaste.

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    Quote Originally Posted by canam73 View Post
    Since you included AL I need a third option.

    On Ti I would like them ground. Ti says "clean and precise" to me.

    But for some reason on aluminum I like them to look like toothpaste.
    Funny, that seems to be the opposite of how they are offered. Different strokes...

  4. #4
    Must... ride... more... Phil_gretz's Avatar
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    I voted for raw welds, leaving them in their natural state. I'm no expert, though.

  5. #5
    Mostly Harmless rjones28's Avatar
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    Raw welds for all!
    Quote Originally Posted by truckstop View Post
    getting banned from trollheim. does that mean you win?

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    Mostly Harmless rjones28's Avatar
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    Even steel.
    Quote Originally Posted by truckstop View Post
    getting banned from trollheim. does that mean you win?

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    I'm doing it wrong. RJM's Avatar
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    Make it look like rolled coins.
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    Mr. Dopolina Bob Dopolina's Avatar
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    Show your work.
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    Mostly Harmless rjones28's Avatar
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    Also no paint. Polished or brushed finish. Clearcoat on steel.
    Quote Originally Posted by truckstop View Post
    getting banned from trollheim. does that mean you win?

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  11. #11
    Senior Member MegaTom's Avatar
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    Only a bad looking weld should need to be ground smooth. Smooth welds can hide a lot of sins. Keep it raw.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MegaTom View Post
    Only a bad looking weld should need to be ground smooth. Smooth welds can hide a lot of sins. Keep it raw.
    I'll expose my prejudice. Smooth welds can hide sins, but that doesn't mean they do. Why have an appearance you don't like (if that is the case) in order to prove how good your welds are? Very cynical and self defeating IMO.

  13. #13
    Senior Member rex615's Avatar
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    I am always suspicious of welds that have been ground. A good weld is the mark of a craftsman, I say show them off.

    Ground and polished filled brazes are different matter, but technically that isn't a weld.

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    I like them smooth. The only Aluminum frame bike I've had like that was a 2006 Specialized Tricross Comp. It almost looked like a carbon fiber frame because the welds make the tubes look like they are all one part. Nice looking. My steel bikes are smooth also, but you can still see them. My Bianchi has a very small bead of weld around the tubes. Unless you look under the top and bottom tube next to the head tube. No weld there.... Italians......
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  15. #15
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    Smooth for me. No crannies to catch dirt and grease.

  16. #16
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    Some say a good raw weld shows a good class welder. I say a ground smooth and mitered weld shows precision and attention to detail, so that's my vote.
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  17. #17
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by canam73 View Post
    Since you included AL I need a third option.

    On Ti I would like them ground. Ti says "clean and precise" to me.

    But for some reason on aluminum I like them to look like toothpaste.
    Quote Originally Posted by rpenmanparker View Post
    Funny, that seems to be the opposite of how they are offered. Different strokes...
    I'm with Canam on this. Well done Ti welds, with no grinding look great.

    Aluminum weld beads tend to be bigger, and even a technically well done AL weld doesn't look very good IMHO. ( I don't particularly care for the cosmetics of the welds on our aluminum CO-Motion, even I'm sure there technically well done.) Hence, I like the look of Cdale AL frames where the welds are ground, but raw Ti welds on a well done Ti frame like a Merlin.
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    Quote Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
    I'm with Canam on this. Well done Ti welds, with no grinding look great.

    Aluminum weld beads tend to be bigger, and even a technically well done AL weld doesn't look very good IMHO. Hence, I like the look of Cdale AL frames where the welds are ground, but raw Ti welds on a well done Ti frame like a Merlin.
    Reread Canam's post. You have his position backwards. He says he likes smooth Ti, because Ti suggests precision to him. Not smooth raw welds, but smooth gound welds. No matter though. Your opinion is quite well represented by many others on this thread. As I always say, "Different strokes for different folks."

  19. #19
    Senior Member megalowmatt's Avatar
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    Weird. I've never put any thought into this.

    Maybe I need to go look at my welds.

  20. #20
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    you're right I didn't read that correctly.

    You can get very nice, smooth looking welds on Ti, without grinding, in a way I don't think (at least haven't seen) on AL.

    I do think this really is just a matter of aesthetic preference for the most part, though.
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  21. #21
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    Raw welds are often stronger. Ground welds hides lower skills and quality.
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  22. #22
    I'm doing it wrong. RJM's Avatar
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    I have a 1996 Specialized Stumpjumper M2 frame that shows all it's welds. Big old fatty rolled coin looking welds covering every joint. I think it is a thing of beauty.
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by rpenmanparker View Post
    Reread Canam's post. You have his position backwards. He says he likes smooth Ti, because Ti suggests precision to him. Not smooth raw welds, but smooth gound welds. No matter though. Your opinion is quite well represented by many others on this thread. As I always say, "Different strokes for different folks."
    Yep, that is my sentiment. Bubble gummy AL and Ti ground with a brushed finish.

    I also agree with you, smoothed welds aren't just to hide errors. I work in commercial steel contracting and often it is just an owner or architects preference. Typically this is on stairs and railings or ornamental fabrications, but even purely structural field welds are sometimes spec'd to be ground and touch up painted.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barrettscv View Post
    Raw welds are often stronger. Ground welds hides lower skills and quality.
    No, you're wrong. Ground welds COULD hide lower skills and quality. It is not necessarily true that they do.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by canam73 View Post
    Yep, that is my sentiment. Bubble gummy AL and Ti ground with a brushed finish.

    I also agree with you, smoothed welds aren't just to hide errors. I work in commercial steel contracting and often it is just an owner or architects preference. Typically this is on stairs and railings or ornamental fabrications, but even purely structural field welds are sometimes spec'd to be ground and touch up painted.
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