Friday, May 20, 2011

Playing with fire

I promised you flames a while ago; it took time but we finally have them!

We tried to fix our acetylene regulator, it seemed simple enough but nothing we tried worked... maybe the diaphragm isn't tight anymore, maybe something else... Anyways, considering our Chinese friends make new ones for peanuts (still a lot of peanuts though) we got one from a British tool supplier (we pride ourselves in being very international :) - Lower VAT is really just added bonus...). And then guess what!?! Little Denmark has its own bloody standard for some types of threads on pressure bottle valves!!! Who knew??? So pretty much back to square 1 and we sadly had to surrender, take a trip to Sanistaal and in exchange of a few hundred crowns, get an acetylene regulator approved by the queen... Some days you're just better off staying in bed!

To cheer us up we could finally play with highly explosive gas and molten metal :) How fun!
We had spent hours reading brazing "how to" guides and watching videos so, after carefully cracking the pressure bottles open and checking that both regulators do regulate, and that nothing that can catch fire was within about 100 feet of us, the first "pop" of the acetylene catching fire was pretty exciting!
Even more exciting - but more in a "WTF just happened?" kind of way - was the first and LOUD "pop" from a flame blow out due to too much oxygen being added. Exciting because we had no idea a flame could just go off like that and mak a loud bang... Remembering his face, I'm sure Jeff (to whom this happened) squeezed his butt for a few seconds whilst holding the torch and wondering what was gonna happen next :) Luckily Googled informed us on the "because" to the "why" ("le pourquoi du comment en francais sonne mieux mais bon...) and reassured us big time!

So after these few details figured out and a pile of test joints and destructive testing, I felt confident enough (maybe I shouldn't have) to braze my dropouts onto their chainstays.
Suffice to say it would have been awesome having someone with experience watching over my shoulder at that point.
They didn't turn out too bad but I got one dropout misaligned and the brass did not exactly flow were I wanted it to... So thanks to the tips from a bunch of guys on a forum I went for round 2, re-heated the joints, re-aligned everything and put brass were it needs to be.

It took two days and countless hours of filling but the result is not bad for a first I think. Just have to pray they are strong enough! Only riding will tell...

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