Re: [Classicrendezvous] Re: Frame tubing & chrome

(Example: Production Builders:Frejus)

Date: Wed, 18 Oct 2000 15:16:00 -0400
From: Jerry Moos <>
To: dave bohm <>
Subject: Re: [Classicrendezvous] Re: Frame tubing & chrome
References: <> <001c01c0392d$9aafd4e0$2b24c5a9@davebohm>

I was hoping you might respond to that point, Dave. Am I correct that the stainless lugs are discolored during brazing and must be polished after? Are stainless lugs more difficult to cut/ file to ornate patterns than ordinary steel lugs? Or are they cast like other modern lugs? How much does the use of stainless lugs and dropouts add to the price of one of your frames?

I have to say that despite all the nasty potential consequences of chroming, a full chrome Paramount is still exquisite to behold, and I'd love to own one, potential hydrogen embrittlement and all. I'd suggest Hilary do a Design Classic spot on the full chrome Paramount, but perhaps Paramount can't generate in UK the mystic that has always surrounded it in America.


Jerry Moos

dave bohm wrote:
> Hillary is right on the money on this one but I do have to chime in on the
> stainless lug alternative as I have done a fair amount with them. Stainless
> lugs are expensive and difficult to work with so you will probably never see
> them in mass production. But it looks so good when it is all done with none
> of the problems inherent with chroming. Most high quality stainless steels
> have a much higher elongation than standard steels used in drop-outs and can
> take much more abuse before failing altogether. If there is a place I can
> substitute stainless steel for standard drop-outs and fittings, I will. I
> am mourning over the now defunct Metax stainless steel tubing that was
> offered by Columbus. Great stuff and man did it look cool all polished up.
> I have considered using electroless nickel for bicycles but I do not know
> much about it yet.
> Sincerely,
> David Bohm
> Bohemian
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Hilary Stone <>
> To: Jerry Moos <>
> Cc: <>
> Sent: Wednesday, October 18, 2000 9:51 AM
> Subject: Re: [Classicrendezvous] Re: Frame tubing & chrome
> > No chrome is normally only applied to the immediate area and a little of
> the
> > surrounding area, the rest is masked. Chrome plating is not good for
> several
> > reasons. Firstly the tubes have to be highly polished first and this
> removes
> > metal. And secondly the frame is dumped in all sorts of pretty nasty acids
> > and if these are not carefully washed out after the plating is finished
> can
> > cause severe corrosion from inside. The whole frame is practically always
> > dunked in the baths. And thirdly the plating causes a change in the steel
> > alloy at the interface between it and the plating which leads to hydrogen
> > enbrittlement. This makes far more likely tube failure. Reynolds forbid
> > chroming on 753 and Columbus for many years recommended that is should not
> > be used on their tubes. It's pretty but it won't increase the life of your
> > frame. And no Colnago or any of the Italian builders who use chrome have
> not
> > found any special ways just to chrome the lugs ­ they just take the risk
> and
> > hope that frame has moved onto a new owner before it fails.
> > I've not seen stainless steel lugs in the UK though several builders
> use
> > stainless steel dropouts ­ Donohue and Argos for two. But stainless can
> have
> > its own problems if the stainless is not chosen carefully. Some stainless
> > alloys are very brittle and that is not a quality you want in a dropout.
> > Hilary Stone.
> >
> > ----------
> > Jerry Moos wrote:
> > >
> >
> > > Very educational, Hilary, I didn't realize that the current 753 is
> thicker
> > than the
> > > original stuff. Makes one feel a bit better about this tubeset, as most
> of
> > the
> > > horror stories surrond the early 753 frames. This suggests to me a
> related
> > subject
> > > - that of chrome. Is it safe to say that framebuilders have real
> concerns
> > about
> > > chroming tubes 0.5 or thinner? Even though most frames use chrome only
> on
> > > lugs/forks/stays, it is my understanding that one usually chromes the
> entire
> > frame,
> > > then polishes only the exposed chrome, while the unpolished parts are
> painted
> > > over. Are walls of forks and stays sufficiently thicker, at least at
> the
> > bottom,
> > > that chroming or half chroming forks and stays is safer (presuming this
> much
> > might
> > > be done without chroming the main tubes)? I presume that stainless
> steel lugs
> > > might give a similar appearance while avoiding the need to chrome the
> much
> > thinner
> > > tubes, but don't stainless lugs discolor during brazing, requiring
> polishing
> > > afterwards? I also note that several of the remaining Italian steel
> frames,
> > > including Colnago, feature chromed lugs despite using thin walled
> Columbus
> > > tubesets. Have they devised a way to chrome the lugs without chroming
> the
> > unbutted
> > > portion of the main tubes, or are they simply compromising durability
> for
> > > cosmetics? I realize these questions betray a general ignorance of
> chroming,
> > but
> > > the only cure for ignorance is to ask.