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Gas pipe SS chop shop bamboo build

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Gas pipe SS chop shop bamboo build

Old 04-26-19, 07:15 PM
  #1  
Happy Feet
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Gas pipe SS chop shop bamboo build

Part way done a ghetto bamboo bike conversion and thought hey! why not post some pics.

The bike started out in life as a delightful late 70's Gas pipe Vulcan 10 speed that found it's way into a thrift store and then to my "studio".




A couple of years ago I did the obligatory SS conversion that was fun while it lasted but, truth be told, the bike has been under used since then because I have a FG I like to ride more. Shhhh... don't tell the Vulcan.




So as is the way, it was into the parts bin and out with the wire wheel to remove some paints from the glug lug areas.




They say some species are better than others but I just went to a local bamboo supplier and picked out a couple of poles I thought would fit.
A quick eyeballing and they were cut to size.




Then out with the ol hacksaw and away went the Top, Seat and Down tubes (I had to reduce the longish top tube nub a bit more after the photo to make the bits fit together). I used some hemp cord to fill in any gaps between the bamboo and pipe nubs eds.
I also left the seat and chain stays metal for aesthetics and because it seemed like a lot of work to do them. I like to think of it as a hybrid which sounds progressive.




Tacked together, we engaged in some light bondage for a spell.




And I thought I took some pics of the next phase but I guess I didn't.. Huh?

Basically, I used some hemp cordage from Mallwart and West System epoxy to bind each joint in a round about crisscross fashion, painting the pipe and cord with epoxy as I went until saturation was achieved. Then I bound each joint with electrical tape (sticky side out) to set. This squeezes the hemp together so there is a consistent mix of cord and epoxy and no air pockets. After it set the tape was removed.

When the first epoxy coat was cured the amine blush was washed off (a waxy byproduct of epoxy curing) and the epoxy and bamboo pipes were wet sanded so a second coat of epoxy would stick. There were a few holes to fill and in those I jammed some more hemp cord.




I then painted a second coat over the joints and bamboo, laying it on thick where divots and crevasses had formed in the hemp cord.




Now it has to cure again and then we'll see if a third coat is needed or not. After that I will touch up the metal bits with paint and reassemble.

End of Part One...
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Old 04-28-19, 07:41 PM
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Round two:

Began reassembling the bike and ran into an issue around the headset so I had to chisel a bit of epoxy away before it would fit. I plan to touch up this area with a bit more epoxy during a small batch third coat to make it look like the rest of the surrounding joint.




I'm not happy with the looks of the seat/top tube joint so for the third batch of epoxy I plan to add a bit more cord around the seat tube to hide the seat stays better. Originally I was a little too cautious here as I did not want to interfere with the flex needed for the seat tube to clamp the seat post but now I want some more horizontal wraps to clean up the looks.




The BB joint I'm pretty happy with.




I repainted the metal parts but am ambivalent towards the results. Part of me wants to strip them and etch with gun blueing acid for a richer brown patina but its enough for now. I also pulled the rear brake as the cable guide looked out of place on the bamboo but the french shellac'd bar tape is a close match. When I do another bike I will try routing the cables internally.

I may buy a bamboo kit or do another 26" chop job to make a cargo bike by making an extended hybrid diamond/mixte frame. This was a fun little project!




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Old 04-28-19, 07:46 PM
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very nice craftsmanship!!!
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Old 04-28-19, 08:20 PM
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Thanks

I've been thinking of getting into bamboo for a while and finally decided to pull the trigger on the easy format of redoing an existing bike. Everything went pretty well according to what I've read on the net except for the electrical tape slipping all over the place when wrapping the epoxy hemp joints. The epoxy makes it super slick and you really need two people to pin and wrap effectively.

Last edited by Happy Feet; 04-28-19 at 08:23 PM.
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Old 04-29-19, 07:36 AM
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You haven't discussed how it rides.
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Old 04-29-19, 07:41 AM
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I'm impressed. I don't know why you'd do this unless the bike was otherwise a write-off, but that's not important - that you did it is pretty cool.
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Old 04-29-19, 12:31 PM
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Originally Posted by TugaDude View Post
You haven't discussed how it rides.
I only finished it yesterday but around the neighborhood it feels fine. It's a little lighter than the original (those steel pipes were heavy) and has a bit of flex maybe but I couldn't say how much. Going for a ride this afternoon so I'll know a bit more then.

Originally Posted by ridelikeaturtle View Post
I'm impressed. I don't know why you'd do this unless the bike was otherwise a write-off, but that's not important - that you did it is pretty cool.
Just for fun really. There are a whole slew of old bikes no one values that make great canvases for creative work. People mess with functional old ten speeds to make fixies for the same reason rather than just buying them. I like working on bikes as much as riding them (or as a different aspect of the pastime) but don't weld or braze and don't have the tools for metal machining so bamboo is an accessible option for frame design.

What I'm quite interested to try is a cargo bike from an old 26" mtb frame as off the shelf cargo bikes go for quite a bit otherwise. Something like this:

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Old 04-29-19, 01:00 PM
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Thanks, I was just wondering how the ride was. I'm assuming that it is reasonably easy to square up the frame, but I could see some frames being a little wonky after you are finished and bad alignment leading to handling issues.
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Old 04-29-19, 03:23 PM
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Yes. That was a concern.

In the first post there's a pic of the tubes tacked together and being bound by a strap to dry. When I did that I added the fork so I could make sure the dropouts and fork ends lined up and ran true. After that the tubes didn't move. Some people make a jig which I'll do in the future when I replace the stays as well.
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Old 04-29-19, 08:50 PM
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This is really cool.
Couple of questions:
1. How did you make sure that it was straight?
2. How did you retain that straightness when the adhesive dried?
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Old 04-30-19, 05:19 PM
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Originally Posted by BicycleBicycle View Post
This is really cool.
Couple of questions:
1. How did you make sure that it was straight?
2. How did you retain that straightness when the adhesive dried?
I added the fork when initially tacking the joints together and aligned the frame on my work stand so that both dropouts and fork ends were square and level. I also used the edge of the work stand to make sure the front and back did not dogleg. I checked occasionally while drying (30 minutes to 1 hour) and after that the sections were set. Unlike a bamboo kit this had nub ends on the fittings that helped keep the pipes straight.
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Old 05-06-19, 08:42 AM
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Just to tie the thread into a nice bow, a couple of pics of the bike in the wild.



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