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Curious to know history of stays for dropout attachments

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Curious to know history of stays for dropout attachments

Old 12-20-19, 03:19 PM
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Curious to know history of stays for dropout attachments

There are many ways to attach stays to dropouts, and often times the style reflects the ability of the builder and/or the cost of the frame.

I am hoping to know more about the 'bullet' style(is there a technical term?) that is rarely if ever used now. Were stays formed with the bullet and a slot was just cut into the bullet? I imagine this was the process since it would be fastest. But I dont see any tubes offered for sale like this(more so I dont see old tubesets that havent been built with the bullet shape at the dropout).
Were stays available in bullet shape or open ended shape back 30 - 40 years ago?

Terrible pics are below.



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Old 12-20-19, 03:47 PM
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Stay end style is one place where a builder/brand can create their signature, just like seat stay top caps. No doubt that there have been so many styles used over the decades. But a production shop usually wants a style that is of minimal time and effort.

The Dome and Slotted (the name I learned and as found in The Paterek Manual pg 2-56) style hits these needs on the head. Both the dome and the slot were usually done by the tube manufacturer. Use to be that the standard Reynolds tube set would come domed/slotted. Although not hard to make from a square cut end it does add time and the possible inconsistencies between a pair of hand done forms. The brazing goes fast as there's no sharp points of a stay end miter to burn. Lots of surface contact. But as smart a choice for a production shop the hand builder typically wants to stretch their skills and to stand out from the crowded factory made crowd. Besides this style became attached to the "low cost 10 speed" and when MtB became the game to make all these traditional views and opinions got shaken up and today we feel otherwise.

The Paterek manual is a great source for terms and ideas of various steel frame elements. That stuff never goes out of date, tubes yes, style no. Andy
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Old 12-21-19, 07:52 AM
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I have seen people dome stays themselves. I found them to be a pain to clean. People find the occasional bike with inadequate penetration of filler at those stay ends.

Back when I started building, Reynolds stays were domed and columbus stays weren't
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Old 12-21-19, 01:57 PM
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Reynolds could be ordered either way- straight cutoff or slotted and domed.
it was slightly extra cost but not much.

if one bought a tube set in a box from Reynolds, half the time it was pre domed. Problem then was that the trimming all had to be done at the other end.

they were not easy to blacksmith on the inside to achieve the Italian flat back side- that gave just that much more room for cogs and chain.
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Old 12-22-19, 10:20 AM
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Thanks all for confirmation. The background is what I figured, but it's still neat to hear the story from those who were building st the time.
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Old 12-22-19, 10:49 AM
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I'll add a small term comment. To me a bullet end treatment is when a separate and shaped (like a bullet) plug is attached to the small end of a stay and then the slot (or notch as in some TI frames) is cut into the plug. A domed end is "hollow" within the domed over portion and is a continuation of the tube.

One way to make a domed end from a square cut end is to rough out a plug just slightly shorter then the slot's depth will be. Braze this plug into the stay end and grind/file away till the end is a nice rounded shape. Now slot as usual. Since the plug's end inside the stay stops before the slot does the plug's slotting section will drop out. BTW this is also how some did Reynolds 753 stays. This material didn't want the heat of a bronze/brass brazing, silver only. So the gaps had to be reduced between the drop outs and the stay end. With a plug silvered in the stay the drop out could also be silvered in place. Andy
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Old 12-22-19, 01:47 PM
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Tubing manufacturers could supply stay ends in a variety of styles; e.g. from Tange's catalog:



A builder could form these from a square-cut stay end, but it's a fairly time-consuming process. Mass production frames generally use the treatments supplied by the tubing manufacturer. The radiused stay end treatment we used on the higher-end frames at Trek was formed from square-cut stays, filling the ends with brass when brazing the dropouts in place, then grinding the radius with a Dynafile:

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Old 12-23-19, 07:19 PM
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So that is how you guys did it in a high volume production environment. A Dynafile! Takes a long time with round files and sandpaper.
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Old 12-23-19, 09:32 PM
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Originally Posted by TiHabanero View Post
So that is how you guys did it in a high volume production environment. A Dynafile! Takes a long time with round files and sandpaper.

You might be surprised (or saddened...) at what short cuts truly high volume factories use. And I don't categorize batch production as the larger hand made shops use as high volume. I have been told of the total time to construct a frame in these factories (high volume) at a few dozen minutes Andy
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Old 12-24-19, 10:49 AM
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A sanding drum in a dremel does it pretty quickly. A dynafile can make a mess of it really quickly. The one that John posted was a particularly clean example. When I was there, they mostly looked a little more undercut than that.
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Old 12-25-19, 01:32 PM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
A sanding drum in a dremel does it pretty quickly. A dynafile can make a mess of it really quickly. The one that John posted was a particularly clean example. When I was there, they mostly looked a little more undercut than that.
Yes, it's easy to undercut the dropout with a Dynafile. I suspect a sanding drum on a Dremel would carry a similar risk. But practice makes perfect, and I got pretty good at it after having done a few thousand dropouts with a Dynafile. The dropout in the picture was a display piece I made for one of the bike shows BITD. Trek didn't chrome any of the production frames.
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Old 12-25-19, 04:04 PM
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Yes, you have to be careful when doing this with anything. For whatever reason, a file will want to cut into the dropout too. I have thought about using a sheet metal shield on the dropout. If the tool wants to go up, you risk rounding over the stay. That's not a good look either.
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