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Thread: Richard Sachs Cycles

  1. #1981
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    Default Re: Richard Sachs Cycles

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    When I make a bicycle frame, the real action - the making part - doesnít start until Iím a good four hours into the commission. Until then itís an intellectual process. I revisit the emails and paperwork that have lived in a folder or on a clipboard, sometimes for years. A mental image of what I plan for the client forms. I grab materials, cut some tubes to length, and verify that my fixtures mirror the very plan I have in mind. All these small tasks are second nature. No formulas. No apps. No molds. Nothing conveniently falls from a tree and becomes the frame or any subassembly of it. Before anything happens, I go through the mental exercises that will, along with my experience, intuition, and some luck, yield a metal structure that components will attach to and become a bicycle.

    To be continued.

    All This By Hand


  2. #1982
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    Default Re: Richard Sachs Cycles

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    At that four-hour mark I grab the torch. Itís like the beginning. Almost but not exactly like the first time, no matter how many thousands of times Iíve been here before. Itís exhilarating. I live for it. And Iím good at it. I light the torch and braze the lower head lug. Itís the confluence where the down tube and head tube meet and, of course, is enveloped by a lug of my own design. I bring the area up to temperature, wait for the flux to turn from a white paste-like consistency into a clear looking liquid that resembles (turn your head if youíre squeamish) mucous. That transition is my cue. It lets me know that the joint is ready to accept the 56% silver alloy rod that rests in my left hand as I continually wave the oxy-acetylene torch in my right hand. Iím so used to this moment, so conditioned from decades of making, that often a thought bubble appears over my head in which the words, ďSay bye-byeĒ appear. Itís a sign that the length of brazing rod will soon get shorter and shorter as I fill the joint with molten silver alloy material.

    To be continued.

    All This By Hand



  3. #1983
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    Default Re: Richard Sachs Cycles

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    The moment comes and Iíll often remember that scene at Monterey when Hendrix, on his knees, lights his Ď65 Strat on fire and uses body language to coax the flame up and down the neck. With torch in hand I beg the molten filler metal to go where I want it to go. Where it needs to go. Where it belongs. And sometimes I think of lovemaking. I will tease. Lure. Coerce. Sometimes even push my way around the joint until itís filled - but only filled and never one small part of an ounce extra. I know from so many partners and trysts Iíve had at various workbenches in at least two states and three small towns what it takes for this to happen. The brazing rod touches the surface of the tubular steel and flows in and around and from top to bottom. When everything cools (myself included) and when the material solidifies between the interior of the lug and the two tubes nesting within it, and if Iíve done my job well, to borrow a quote from the film Broadcast News, itís like great sex. Very little I do after this first operation is as satisfying. And I still have the rest of the bicycle frame to braze, to machine threads and bearing surfaces, to do alignment checks, and continually ensure that nothing goes sideways. And then I smoke a cigarette.

    All This By Hand


  4. #1984
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    Default Re: Richard Sachs Cycles

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    should be cool



  5. #1985
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    Default Re: Richard Sachs Cycles

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    To a frame Ė every single one of them Ė getting to and then past this first operation with my torch, invariably leaves me empty. Iíve concluded that the lower head lug joint is so important to the integrity of the bicycle that I do this one first. Done well, I know that whatís left in its wake ought to go smoothly. And that the bicycle frame will feel good and have a long life. But very little after this task gives me the same satisfaction. Iím on autopilot for the next few days, brazing this or dressing up that, while trying to imbue all of it with the same love and attention I give to this first area. On some commissions I can sustain the energy almost until Iím done. On others, I can mail it in. For me, it took many years Ė decades, actually Ė to be able to do what I have to with trust. I donít analyze whatís happening in front of me. I just go to my bench and make it happen.

    All This By Hand



  6. #1986
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    Default Re: Richard Sachs Cycles

    Perhaps very wishful thinking on my part but I'll be first in line when you decide to formally release a collection of your writing. Very enjoyable to read. Thanks for sharing them.
    Rick

    If the process is more important than the result, you play. If the result is more important than the process, you work.

  7. #1987
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    Default Re: Richard Sachs Cycles


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