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Reamers?

Old 01-10-22, 04:34 PM
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Tandem Tom
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Reamers?

As I move forward with my second frame I will be needing to ream the ST. I have been looking at different reamers and wondering about a set of adjustable reamers. My idea is this will allow me to sneak up on the final size. Since I am only na hobbyist I am not sure about going with dedicated sizes.
Tthoughts?
Thanks!
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Old 01-10-22, 05:04 PM
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If you're only reaming the seat tube ID and the 27mm "family" is your goal then only one reamer is needed. Straight-Blade Adjustable-Size Reamer, High-Speed Steel, 1-1/16" to 1-3/16" Reamer Diameter | McMaster-Carr

I suspect you can find far cheaper ones that mimic the adjustment range. Andy
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Old 01-10-22, 07:34 PM
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Size "I" adjustable reamer will handle 27.0-30.25mm. Ream before cutting the slot, or the blades can catch in the slot. A helical reamer does not have that problem, but AFAIK, they're only available in fixed sizes.
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Old 01-10-22, 09:22 PM
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The I reamer I have, can't remember the brand but it's old, will cut a tad smaller than the stated minimum. I strongly agree with slotting the seat binder AFTER reaming with one of these straight bladed reamers. If one must ream when a slot is present a slight beveling of the slot's inner edges will soften the reamer blades tendency to catch on the edge. Andy (who finally got a Silve spiral 27.2 reamer a few years ago)
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Old 01-11-22, 05:45 AM
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I purchased this reamer https://www.biketoolsetc.com/index.c...&item_id=CT-28 to replace a cheap one that I bought from Amazon. It is far superior to the cheap Amazon reamer, which dulled very quickly.

I also own a Cyclus reamer handle that takes different sized reamers and it is mostly useless, since there is no pilot and the cutting blade is too short. The short blade is easily deflected by weld burn through and it deflects when it hits the top tube weld and then back the other way when it hits the seat stay weld. The result is a slightly "S" shaped 27.2mm seat tube ID that a 27.2 seat tube won't fit into.
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Old 01-11-22, 10:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Tandem Tom View Post
As I move forward with my second frame I will be needing to ream the ST. I have been looking at different reamers and wondering about a set of adjustable reamers. My idea is this will allow me to sneak up on the final size. Since I am only na hobbyist I am not sure about going with dedicated sizes.
Tthoughts?
Thanks!
I think the recommendations here are good. High speed steel will hold up better than just carbon steel. I've used the HSS Chadwick & Trefethen reamers like here: Chadwick & Trefethen Inc. The "I" will get you 27.2 and the "J" will get you 30.9 and 31.6.
After wrestling with adjustable blade reamers for a while I purchased a Silva spiral flute reamer. I don't make enough frames to justify - it was a Christmas present. =)

If you have any interest in carbon blade (less expensive, holds an edge less) reamers I have a new pair of #28 and #29 from Chadwick & Trefethen (Chadwick & Trefethen Inc.). Send me a PM and I would give you a deal. no pressure though - just haven't gotten around to trying to sell yet.
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Old 01-11-22, 12:16 PM
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I have a high-quality Cyclus reamer for STs of the standard (for me) size and a very inexpensive adjustable reamer like the ones in these pictures that I used for an unusual size (around 32mm). Was probably one of these:

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/284244191...wAAMXQ0pNQ-7YD

or similar. Made in India. Works absolutely fine, although maybe it won't stay sharp for as long, but then I don't use it often. The cutters look like they're made of high-speed steel. Just scooch it round a few times, wind it out half a turn, and repeat until the seatpost fits nicely.
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Old 01-11-22, 01:35 PM
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Originally Posted by guy153 View Post
I have a high-quality Cyclus reamer for STs of the standard (for me) size and a very inexpensive adjustable reamer like the ones in these pictures that I used for an unusual size (around 32mm). Was probably one of these:

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/284244191...wAAMXQ0pNQ-7YD

or similar. Made in India. Works absolutely fine, although maybe it won't stay sharp for as long, but then I don't use it often. The cutters look like they're made of high-speed steel. Just scooch it round a few times, wind it out half a turn, and repeat until the seatpost fits nicely.
I bought 27.2mm and 31.6mm dedicated reamers that fit a single handle. I almost never use the adjustable one and would let it go for shipping costs. It was used once and I just found it too frustrating. My wife says my super-power is impatience. Direct message me if you want it Tandemtom . If TandemTom doesn't want it, it's available to anyone else for the same deal.
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Old 01-11-22, 02:27 PM
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Another reason to go with a brand-name for an adjustable is availability of replacement blades. It's probably technically possible to have an adjustable resharpened, but I haven't heard of anyone doing that, probably not cost-efficient.

At one shop I worked where we used Silva spiral reamers, we got them sharpened by the guy Andy at Strawberry recommended. (That guy has since retired but Andy has a new guy who's probably also excellent, I just can't say 'cuz I haven't dealt with him yet.) You can sharpen fixed-size reamers without losing diameter because only the front tapered part of the reamer does any appreciable amount of cutting, and that can be ground back a ways before the reamer has to become a smaller diameter. The Silva reamers are awesome but their handles are too short for my liking, so we made our own with longer ones. We also powered them in the lathe (on super-slow, "back gears"), holding the frame with your hands, which was exciting/scary but I never lost a frame or a limb so all's well!

If you ever want to be able to ream titanium, your reamer must be very sharp. Theoretically the cutting edge geometry should be different too, but I never used any reamers made specially for Ti, just used normal adjustables with sharp blades.

The inside bevel at the slit to allow reaming after slitting is pretty quick'n'easy, 5-second job with a burr on a die grinder, so don't worry too much about the straight-blade reamers catching. I think it's not much of a worry, though reaming before slitting is still advisable when you can arrange it.

Reminder, maybe obvious, but I worked with builders who regularly forgot: no abrasives inside the frame when reaming! If a frame has ever been sandblasted, sand in the top tube will come out into the seat tube through the vent hole and ruin your reamer, so please for the love of god don't blast before all cutting (BB tapping etc.) is done, or you have a hard time getting ALL the sand out. And resist the urge to make the bevel on the slit (for straight-blade reamers) with an abrasive cartridge-roll. On a repair, assume there's sand in the TT, and hold the frame with the TT pointing down while cleaning all rust and grit out of the ST.

A Safe-T-Kleen tank or similar that pumps solvent is great for cleaning the ST. I also got a big strong bottle-brush with a steel shaft long enough to reach all the way to the BB on big frames, came from a brewery supply IIRC. Get a rubberized apron for that job, it's messy. The solvent clean is also good after flex-honing, which we always did after reaming and the customers did notice how nice the seat posts went in, with no scratching. We were wholesaling them so the customers were mostly bike shops, and we got repeat business from shops that were impressed with the fit and finish.

Oh one exception to the No Abrasives rule is if you're going to hone instead of reaming. Note, I do not mean a flex-hone, which cannot replace reaming. The problem is right there in the name, they flex, so they just follow whatever shape the tube is already. Flex-hone only after reaming. But one shop I worked in, instead of reaming, used a big industrial cylinder hone that had rigid/adjustable stones, that did an awesome job on 853 that was air-hardened enough in the HAZ that reaming was impractical (boss said "impossible" but I never tried it.) Honing on that machine was about as fast as reaming, and left the most beautiful bore for the seatpost you ever saw. I'd love to have one, but the machine was the size of a Bridgeport and only did that one thing. We'd have to replace the stones as they wore down, getting about 10 frames per set.

But, back to reamers since that's what 100% of FBs use. I'm sure you know this already but included here for completelness, never back up the reamer. Even if it catches in the slit, you have to power forward. Er, by forward I mean clockwise.

One more tip and I'm done, I promise: those adjusting nuts on the reamer don't need to be super tight. The hardened blades can bite into the nuts if you over-tighten. I saw guys using giant wrenches and really leaning into them, and the nuts were never the same afterward.

Mark B

Last edited by bulgie; 01-11-22 at 02:36 PM.
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Old 01-11-22, 02:53 PM
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Appreciate the education on reamers!!!
So a follow up question. What lubricant do you fellows use? Anything special?
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Old 01-11-22, 03:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Tandem Tom View Post
Appreciate the education on reamers!!!
So a follow up question. What lubricant do you fellows use? Anything special?
I just use Oatey thread cutting oil from the plumbing section at the home improvement store.
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Old 01-11-22, 05:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Tandem Tom View Post
Appreciate the education on reamers!!!
So a follow up question. What lubricant do you fellows use? Anything special?
I just use whatever engine oil I have left over from the car This is probably terrible advice but I figure oil is basically oil.
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Old 01-11-22, 06:44 PM
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Originally Posted by bulgie View Post
We'd have to replace the stones as they wore down, getting about 10 frames per set.


Mark B
Wow, that seems impractical but maybe they are cheap enough and the quality of finish high enough that it's not. Thanks!
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Old 01-11-22, 09:38 PM
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Originally Posted by duanedr View Post
Wow, that seems impractical but maybe they are cheap enough and the quality of finish high enough that it's not. Thanks!
This was at Match, late-'90s. Bossmang Tim Isaac said that 853 was too hard in the HAZ to ream, though I didn't try it. Maybe someone here has reamed 853 and can dispel this rumor?

Tim said that many frames out there with an 853 decal on them actually used something else for the seat tube, for this very reason. Match used "lesser" steel for the HT, to avoid ruining our HT reamer, but the ST was real 853.

So I can't say whether it was worth it or not, but the result was uber-sweet. And the replacement stones are not expensive. I don't remember what they cost (if I ever knew — I was not the buyer), but divided over 10 frames, the cost of the stones was considered negligible. Swapping out the stones only took a minute or so.

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Old 01-12-22, 10:32 AM
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I've used an 853 HT (they'd run out of 631 ones). But Reynolds HTs don't need reaming-- they're supplied the exact size and you just hope for the best. This suits me as I don't have a 34mm reamer anyway. However I did face it and it seemed to cut all right. I didn't notice it being any different from 631. But you're mostly outside the HAZ there I guess.
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Old 01-12-22, 08:46 PM
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I had built a couple of fillet-brazed 853 frames back in the mid 80’s with 853 seat tubes (externally butted, no less) and couldn’t get a reamer to work. The 27.2 id seat tubes ended up taking 27.0 posts…

Ever since then, anything 853 and fillet brazed in my shop gets a 725 seat tube. But with lugged and silver brazed 853 frames, no problems with 853 seat tubes and reamers, I guess silver braze doesn’t get the steel to the point where it air-hardens. In fact, I reamed the seat tube and cut the binder slot on my latest build literally yesterday - 853 Pro Team and stainless Llewellyn Manorina lugs - and no issues.

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Old 01-12-22, 11:48 PM
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Joe Bringheli sells spiral reamers. They're so much better than adjustable reamers. I think the cost is justified.
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Old 01-13-22, 02:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Mark Beaver View Post
I had built a couple of fillet-brazed 853 frames back in the mid 80’s with 853 seat tubes (externally butted, no less) and couldn’t get a reamer to work. The 27.2 id seat tubes ended up taking 27.0 posts…

Ever since then, anything 853 and fillet brazed in my shop gets a 725 seat tube. But with lugged and silver brazed 853 frames, no problems with 853 seat tubes and reamers, I guess silver braze doesn’t get the steel to the point where it air-hardens. In fact, I reamed the seat tube and cut the binder slot on my latest build literally yesterday - 853 Pro Team and stainless Llewellyn Manorina lugs - and no issues.
Interesting info, thanks! 631 ought to air-harden as well though. The only difference is that with 853 the whole tube is heat-treated. I've never had any trouble reaming externally butted 631 STs after TIG welding.
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Old 01-13-22, 08:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Mark Beaver View Post
I guess silver braze doesn’t get the steel to the point where it air-hardens.
Yes I think this is correct from what I "know" about 853. The Match frames, that Tim Isaac said couldn't be reamed, were brass-brazed.

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