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Edwardian wood & brass

Old 06-27-12, 08:28 AM
  #1  
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Edwardian wood & brass

I've been thinking about this for years, wondering if it's untried, or been done to death.

Just for fun, how about taking a lugged frame and wrapping the tubes (at least the main triangle in veneer right up to the lugs so it appears, sorta, like the wood plugs right into the lugs? This after getting the frame brass-plated. Outfit the bike in as much brass-plated componentry as possible (yeah, I know, prepare for $$$ in plating bills), brown seat and handlebar tape, you get the idea. Sort of an Edwardian Look (do they make bike racks to fit a Mercer Raceabout?) even if the technology of the bike is newer.

I wouldn't do this with a "good bike" maybe pick something up for the purpose. Presuming I didn't go blind X-acto'ing the ends of the veneer to fit right (some degree of fanciness to the lugs a prerequisite), I might like the results; whether to ride or display -- hadn't thought about that.

No idea when I'll get around to it, my self-do kitchen remodel now has a Zager and Evans aspect to it and even the "regular" bikes are neglected. Like everything else, I queue up projects and it might take decades before I commence.
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Old 06-27-12, 08:40 AM
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No idea if it's played-out or not, but it sounds cool to me.
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Old 06-27-12, 08:41 AM
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If I wanted to do that, I would look into the period-correct technique of painting metal to look like wood. The guys who were good at that, a hundred years ago, were really good. The basic technique is to paint one solid color, then put a thin coat of a slightly contrasting one over that and smear a wood grain pattern into it. Practice makes perfect!

Copper plating is not that difficult, is it?

Top it all off with hand stitched leather on the handlebars....

Oh, I see you have a Drysdale? Then maybe you'll appreciate this example of hand stitched leather:

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Old 06-27-12, 09:10 AM
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Real walnut veneer looks cool, see here.

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Old 06-27-12, 09:49 AM
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I thought about this for a while, & even tried drawing out some Victorian/Edwardian (Steampunk, basically) details. After coming up with a bunch of junk which looked tacked-on and tacky, I came to realize that it was a fool's errand. Thing is, a steel frame bicycle is already about 80% in the steampunk pocket as it is: leather, metal, exposed machinery, gears & chains, spokes, chrome, etc. The more ornate English frames are even more so, with a black curly-stay Hetchins being the purest example. For the total steampunk bike, almost nothing outdoes a Raleigh DL1.
No matter what I did, I couldn't improve on that.

Wood-graining might look cool. There are people who do this on old American car dashboards & interior trim, restoring the original finish. Check out Norm Hathaway & Al Link in North Salem, NY.
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Old 06-27-12, 09:54 AM
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there used to be a seller on ebay who offered wood-grain print vinyl stickers to cover your whole bike. it looked really silly.

my 2 cents is that lugged bikes were never made of wood, and therefore no matter how well you execute this, it's still going to be obviously fake and weird. like if you made it look as if the bike was made out of stone. plus eventually the vinyl stickers will cut damaged and start peeling.

personally, if you want something that looks retro-Victorian, look into some custom metal finishes like raw steel with gun blue, aged lacquer, brass patina, copper plate, etc. It'll give the same look and wear better as well.

*edit*

speaking of steampunk, check out this raw steel fixed gear I built a few years ago:

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Old 06-27-12, 10:54 AM
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When care is taken to make sure details are buttoned up, the application of real walnut veneer looks incredible!

Originally Posted by w1gfh View Post
Real walnut veneer looks cool, see here.

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Old 06-27-12, 11:20 AM
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Originally Posted by rhm View Post
If I wanted to do that, I would look into the period-correct technique of painting metal to look like wood. The guys who were good at that, a hundred years ago, were really good. The basic technique is to paint one solid color, then put a thin coat of a slightly contrasting one over that and smear a wood grain pattern into it. Practice makes perfect!

Copper plating is not that difficult, is it?

Top it all off with hand stitched leather on the handlebars....

Oh, I see you have a Drysdale? Then maybe you'll appreciate this example of hand stitched leather:
I've seen the faux-grain painted metal (dashboards on Facel-Vega cars, and I recall my early days in Office Products when you could get file cabinets grained like that) but the thought of getting the grain right in the like spaces in the lugs' curves give me the willies. OTOH, the veneer-cutting would take a steady hand, too.

Neat leatherwork on that Drysdale - oh great, another skill to learn?

Originally Posted by Catnap View Post
there used to be a seller on ebay who offered wood-grain print vinyl stickers to cover your whole bike. it looked really silly.

my 2 cents is that lugged bikes were never made of wood, and therefore no matter how well you execute this, it's still going to be obviously fake and weird. like if you made it look as if the bike was made out of stone. plus eventually the vinyl stickers will cut damaged and start peeling.

personally, if you want something that looks retro-Victorian, look into some custom metal finishes like raw steel with gun blue, aged lacquer, brass patina, copper plate, etc. It'll give the same look and wear better as well.

speaking of steampunk, check out this raw steel fixed gear I built a few years ago:
I see your point,it's valid -- but I wasn't thinking of passing it off as "correct" or as it should be... I just figured it would look neat. I like the interplay of woods and metals (again, that kitchen which is killing me, lots of brass and maple), and combining that with bike tech might be fun.

I've heard of "steampunk" but unfamiliar with a specific definition if there is one.

Hmm, nickel plating? Faux marblizing? Alcantara frame wrap?
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Old 06-27-12, 11:44 AM
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check out this raw steel fixed gear I built a few years ago
Very cool bike. Makes my point: no extraneous anything, no decorative flourishes, and the components (nicely chosen: especially the bars & stem!) appear unmodified. Modern urban fixie that reads steampunk all the way!
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Old 06-27-12, 11:59 AM
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I've heard of "steampunk" but unfamiliar with a specific definition if there is one
Steampunk is the name for an aesthetic genre that blends elements of Victoriana, Wild West and science fiction. It is applied to clothing, machinery, appliances & decor. A quick search of steampunk images will give you the idea.
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Old 06-27-12, 12:14 PM
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This is C&V not the Faux network!

Go for the real thing!

But I like rhm's suggestion of learning some graining techniques and painting the tubes.....contact paper will look like....well contact paper IMHO
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Old 06-27-12, 12:36 PM
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real veneer is not that difficult

vacuum bag the stuff on with epoxy.

about the brass plating-why cant flux fow brass over the lugs and then polish them?
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Old 06-27-12, 01:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Velognome View Post
This is C&V not the Faux network!
...contact paper will look like....well contact paper IMHO
Yeah, but if one starts with a C&V bike, it's C&V. Contact paper? Ugh? Anyway, this idea resurfaced with me as I was shopping for self-adhesive maple veneer sheets to cover the front of a used keggerator to match the new maple cabinets int he kitchen. Real wood -- real thin.

Originally Posted by puchfinnland View Post
real veneer is not that difficult

vacuum bag the stuff on with epoxy.

about the brass plating-why cant flux fow brass over the lugs and then polish them?
(a) not sure what vaccuum-bagging is?
(B) real brass sounds like a great out-of-the-box idea.. ugh, what's the melting point, couldn't I end up un-lugging the frame?
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Old 06-27-12, 01:08 PM
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Hey Noglider....you wanted to do this to your International didn't you.....where are you now?
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Old 06-27-12, 01:08 PM
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Mike from ANT bikes built this one, copper plated lugs and wood tubes, he brought it by the shop after he finished a number of years back

http://www.bicyclefriends.com/2011/0...-wood.html?m=1

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Old 06-27-12, 03:55 PM
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"Zager and Evans aspect"

I'm stealing this. Just heard a medley of their hit yesterday.

Try posting in the Altbike section. Might get more sympathy & understanding. I like the idea, it could turn out real bad or very cool depending on execution.
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Old 06-27-12, 04:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Velognome View Post
Hey Noglider....you wanted to do this to your International didn't you.....where are you now?
I got some contact paper that looks like stone. Ya think I should try that? I still haven't done anything with the frame(set).
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Old 06-27-12, 04:02 PM
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Nah. Edwardians liked their bikes steel, with durable enamel coats and nickle plating. I don't like retro styling, I love old crap. There's a lot of difference between the two.
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Old 06-27-12, 06:49 PM
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I'm going with Italuminium on this, I'm also assuming that you are starting out with a DL-1 (designed 1912, but in production until 1985 by Raleigh, other maufacturers to the present day):

Less brass and more dull nickle plating on the components. I you want to cheap out, oven baked black enamel was the economic choice then as it is now.

Less wood, and more black enamel for the frame, add gold leaf pinstriping at liesure .

Cream tires are best for this, try to remove the logos. Schwalbe and Vredestein make suitable tires for 28 x 1 1/2, 26 x 1 3/8.

http://vintagebicycle.wordpress.com/...turbo-trainer/
Now this is an Edwardian bicycle, with all the features that I've mentioned, excepting the gold pinstriping.

http://vintagebicycle.wordpress.com/...documentation/
This is a bit more recent, from the 30s (although the frame design is from the 1890s), but exemplifies the features mentioned, as well as demonstrating the suitability of the similar DL-1 for this kind of work.

http://sheldonbrown.com/org//hercules.html
On the other hand, what you proposed is more or less what Sheldon Brown did with an old Hercules. In his case, he did it because the paint was non-existant, and had little to lose by covering the frame tubes in wood contact paper.
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Old 06-28-12, 12:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Flying Merkel View Post
"Zager and Evans aspect"

I'm stealing this. Just heard a medley of their hit yesterday.
I thought that one was under the radar. I does express my endless home improvement torment. Steal away!


Originally Posted by Flying Merkel View Post
Try posting in the Altbike section. Might get more sympathy & understanding. I like the idea, it could turn out real bad or very cool depending on execution.
Oh, I'm OK with the lack of "sympathy & understanding". I'd say the topic led to the conclusion that (a) no, it's not common (b) most C&V'ers think it's a bad idea. Might do it anyway... eventually.
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Old 06-28-12, 12:53 PM
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Hey, it's your bike and if it's well finished you might shut up some of the sceptics. The more
cool custom bikes the merrier, and there's no shortage of dl-1's.
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Old 06-28-12, 12:55 PM
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Originally Posted by rhm View Post
If I wanted to do that, I would look into the period-correct technique of painting metal to look like wood. The guys who were good at that, a hundred years ago, were really good. The basic technique is to paint one solid color, then put a thin coat of a slightly contrasting one over that and smear a wood grain pattern into it. Practice makes perfect!

Copper plating is not that difficult, is it?

Top it all off with hand stitched leather on the handlebars....

Oh, I see you have a Drysdale? Then maybe you'll appreciate this example of hand stitched leather:

Wheeeere does one get bars like that? Love that shape.
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Old 06-28-12, 12:59 PM
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Lauterwasser bars. Soma makes 'm.
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Old 06-28-12, 01:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Flying Merkel View Post
"Zager and Evans aspect"

I'm stealing this. Just heard a medley of their hit yesterday.
Oy! My condolences!

Originally Posted by MarkusForest View Post
Wheeeere does one get bars like that? Love that shape.
Originally Posted by Italuminium View Post
Lauterwasser bars. Soma makes 'm.
No, those are not Lauterwasser bars, but rather GB "touring bend" bars. I'm not sure how old they are; at least 45 years I guess. They are hard to find. I sweet talked them away from another forum member, in whose debt I remain.
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Old 06-28-12, 01:22 PM
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Oops, thanks for correcting me, but I think lauterwasser bars are a good
alternative to get that flared drop look.
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