Monday, May 10, 2010

Trek 520 Build - Part Three - Powdered, Dusted and Sprinkled

Mmmm. Donuts. I love donuts. And recently blasted bike frames. If you showed up here because you love donuts too, I am afraid I am about to disappoint you. Take comfort in the fact that my regular visitors come here ready to be disappointed ahead of time, and maybe get yourself a donut at your local deep fried dough establishment. That should make you feel better.

This is Part Three of an ongoing series of posts documenting my painfully slow progress in building a light loaded touring bike. If you care to read the whole thing so far, use the "Post Series" link to the right.

So, to continue: I took my newly blasted bike frame to H&G Powder Painters here in London. I didn't know if it was strictly necessary, but I only handled the frame while wearing some thin disposable plastic gloves and when the H&G people saw that, they thought it was probably better that I had done so and complimented me on the care I took. It is entirely possible that they just thought I was a big freak and were lying to me, but even if that was true they certainly got the message that I wanted proper care taken with this frame.

The big question was, of course, what colour I wanted the bike to be. In completely boring but practical fashion, I went with a glossy black. There were two main reasons for my choice, the first being that I quite like "plain" bicycles in black, white or silver. The second was that H&G does "runs" of black all the time, often for industrial applications. If I had wanted something more interesting, I would have had to wait longer and possibly pay more. Decision made.
I consulted with a young man named Jason from H&G who was enthusiastic and showed very quickly that he understood what needed to be masked off and why. I got the feeling he was looking forward to doing something a little more sporty than screen doors or gardening equipment or whatever. Anyway, the frame got done and I'm really pleased with the results:

Those pictures show pretty well that the black powder looks good and stops in all the right spots (no threads or inner surfaces for me to clean out) and that my front lawn really sucks. Ah well. I like making bikes, not caring for grass. Sue me.

So that covers the "powdered" part of this post's title, but what about the rest? When I first brought the frame home I left the frame and fork on top of a wood pile on our porch. There is a ton of construction going on in my neighbourhood, which is raising lots and lots of dust. When I took it down to take some photos for this little article, it looked like this:

Now that wasn't gonna do for a "hey look at my pretty bike frame" picture, now was it? I had to rinse off the frame and give it a wipe before taking the nicer photos from earlier. Despite the little annoyances like this that the road work produces, you will never, ever hear me complain about it, because I love smooth pavement. The frame now resides in my basement tool room, where most of the dust is kept down by sweet, cool basement-y humidity and an abundance of cobwebs. So that's the "dusted" part. Now for the sprinkles!

The day after my bike was done, the aforementioned Jason gave me a call. He said he wanted to discuss how my job went. I was naturally a little concerned and went over to H&G at the first opportunity. Jason wasn't happy with how my frame coating had gone. It had sprinkles:

You may need to click on the above image for a bigger version to see the sprinkles.

For reasons Jason wasn't exactly clear on, some particles from some other job or item being treated ended up part of my powder job. Jason told me that he takes great pride in his work and that didn't want me to see these sprinkles later and come back unhappy. I had to take the frame out in the sunlight to see them at all, and overall they looked kind of like a sparse metallic fleck to me. I asked if there was any chance that the durability of the coating would have been affected, and he said absolutely not. He offered to try re-coating the frame or knock $30 off the original $80 we had agreed on. I took the $30 without a second thought. I had thought the $80 sounded like a pretty damn good price in the first place.

I would like to thank H&G for their friendly service and Jason in particular for presenting me with what may be the first ever occurrence of a price being reduced by adding sprinkles. Just try asking for that at an ice cream place and see how it goes over. I dare you.

To be perfectly honest, I don't know enough about the powder coating process to have caught this "problem" on my own. I would have paid my $80 quite happily. But they were honest and I really appreciate that. I wonder if my carrying the frame into their place while wearing silly little plastic gloves has anything to do with it? Perhaps, but I would rather think that this is just a case of a business doing the right thing in the hopes of gaining one more happy customer. They have.

Before I go, there is one more picture that I want to share with you for no good reason other than that I think it looks kind of cool:

Thanks for reading Part Three. The next parts will be about components, of course. I have 'em all picked out, but don't know when I'll be able to buy them. There's also a Police auction coming up that may yield some cheap bikes laden with good parts, but I am skeptical. Short version, don't hold your breath for the next part. Everything comes in its own time, even stuff you don't necessarily care about or want.

I have promised to keep good records of the costs involved with this build; I am beginning to regret that because the final, true cost of my bike building is going to shock me and Mrs. Rantwick, I think. A promise, however, is a promise:

Build $ Tally:

Used Frame + some parts I will re-use: $80.00

Used Wheelset: $100.00

Blasting of frame: $50.00

Powder Coating of frame: $50.00 (super deal)

TOTAL to date: $280.00

Yer Pal,


PS - Upon re-reading this post, it looks like I'm promoting H&G. I suppose I am, but only because I'm a happy customer. Neither have I have received any monetary consideration for what I have written, nor do they even know that I have written it.
Click here to continue to Part Four - Have Parts, Will Dawdle


Steve A said...

Do you plan to apply any decals such as the bike had previously? Donuts are overrated anyway.

Rat Trap Press said...

Looks good, you can't beat the price. I would gladly pay $80 for a quality powder coat.

RANTWICK said...

Steve - I do plan to apply decals, but not the ones the bike had previously. You will just ahve to wait and see! I'm thinking there will be something to show it is a 520 somewhere, but other secret stickers are percolating around in my feeble brain.

RTP - Yeah, I was surprised how little they wanted. Perhaps it was that choosing black thing...

Kokorozashi said...

Wow, the frame looks great! It's good to see it coming together.

I kind of like the sprinkles, personally :)

Apertome said...

I think it looks great ... the "sprinkles" don't bother me at all. I guess I would be bothered by it if they were charging a lot more, but it seems like a good deal to me, sprinkles and all.

I think it looks stealthy and awesome without any decals, but maybe that's just me ...

cafiend said...

I actually used to do paint jobs where the base color had a light contrasting metallic in it. My favorite was black metallic with a red fleck you could only see when the sun hit it. It was just a faint hint down the most brightly-lit part of the tube's radius. Alas, when I had someone else repaint the frame after a repair, she tromped way too hard on the red. Cherry Coke, she called it. Looks brown, if you ask me.

Spray the inside of your frame tubes liberally with Frame Saver or Boeshield, especially if you've been rinsing it (!!!)

Big Oak said...

I've thought about getting one of my bikes powder coated, but with the fascination with powder coating, I figured it would be really expensive.

A great thing about reading blogs is that I can live vicariously through other peoples experiences. Your bike turned out so well that now I feel I don't need to do my bike.

I can't wait to see your bike all put together. You're doing a great job so far!

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