YFBS: Day 8 - Getting Sushi in Under an Hour

Over the past week, I've been writing about my time here at the Yamaguchi Frame Building School.  The first entry is here.

Coming in from the frigid morning I found my frame soaking in a nice hot frame bath to remove the remaining flux.  It was pretty exciting to finally see it without flux, and it also allowed me to check all of the brazing areas and see if anything needed to be fixed.  There were a few small areas near the lugs where there wasn't enough silver, so once it was dry I patched that up and moved on to cleaning up the seat tube fillet so that I could start on the stays.

After walking in the 30 degree weather, I was a bit jealous of my frame.
Mr. Yamaguchi made cleaning the fillets look easy and quick, which means for the average beginning frame builder it was just the opposite.  I spent quite a a bit of time using the round file to work down the fillet to an even height, then used small strips of 80G sandpaper to get into the corners and hard to reach areas.  After finishing everything off with 100G sandpaper to remove as many of the file marks as I could, I was ready to braze on the seat clamp with silver.

Cleaned up fillet and a seat clamp!  Now we're getting down the business.
I sanded, cleaned, and fluxed the seat tube and seat clamp, making sure it was level and straight on my frame, then used the gravity method to pull the silver through under the clamp.  While I waited for that to cool, I began work on the fork blades.  Different manufacturers make tubes, dropouts, and fork ends, so sometime tubes have to be adjusted to fit properly.  This was the case with my fork blades and the fork ends, so Mr. Yamaguchi showed me how to measure where the fork ends would fit and how to squeeze the tubes (yikes!) so that they fit in the fork crown.  Once that was said and done, it was time for lunch.

The filed down fork, ready for blades!
Right before shaping the fork blades.  Squeezing the tubes was a very precise and kind of scary process.  Also, my coffee had lots of metal filings in it by this point.  
My fork ends!  Filing inside of the cutouts was a bit difficult.
Since I found out that one could get sushi here in Rifle, I was both intrigued and disturbed by the thought, but my curiosity got the best of me when we went to the Thai Palace (Best Steaks in Rifle!) for lunch today.  I decided to try a roll, and waited.  It was then that we discovered that a single sushi roll takes just under sixty minutes to make.  And sushi in Rifle is just about as good as I figured it would be, but hey, when in Rome!  

We got back to class and all went back to our respective tasks.  My frame was back in the hot tub to clean off the new flux that I applied when I brazed the clamp and fixed the lug, so in the meantime more work was done on the fork.  Using a special jig to make sure the blades and fork ends were aligned, Mr. Yamaguchi demonstrated how to braze on the fork ends, which I did.  By the time I was done, my frame had finished it's soaking and was dry.  He grabbed an automated wire brush, and I was shown how to buff the lugged areas, making them nice and shiny.  I finished buffing (which was a lot of fun, I might add) and was then ready to move onto the stays.

Hanging out after some wire brushing!
Close up of the seat stays, all shined up.
To ensure alignment and proper measurement of the chain stays, Mr. Yamaguchi set up a template of my bike in the frame jig and then showed me how to measure the stays.  I cut each stay down to the proper length, then another special jig was set up so that I could miter the stays at the same time. Once the miter was done and the stays fit snugly against the bottom bracket, the tubes had to be slotted for the dropouts.  You want the tubes to be about halfway up the dropouts - not too far, or the wheel will be hard to remove, but not so little that the frame loses its integrity.  

The special jig for mitering both tubes at the same time.  Made, of course, by Mr. Yamaguchi himself.
Slotting was a difficult and precise process, but after minor adjustments here and there, I got my stays to the perfect length.  I had just checked then in the jig and drilled the holes for brazing when class came to an end for the day.

I'll be doing the seat stays tomorrow, so I'll be spending the rest of tonight looking at different designs and seeing which ones I like best, and also what will be best for the road bike, both structurally and aesthetically.  I've got some homework to do!

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