Re: [Classicrendezvous] Re: Frame tubing & chrome

(Example: Framebuilding:Tubing:Falck)

Date: Wed, 18 Oct 2000 20:58:05 -0700
From: "Joseph Bender-Zanoni" <>
Subject: Re: [Classicrendezvous] Re: Frame tubing & chrome
In-Reply-To: <>
References: <> <> <001c01c0392d$9aafd4e0$2b24c5a9@davebohm>

Sorry, I had a problem with the uploads. To be continued...


At 08:01 PM 10/18/00 -0700, Joseph Bender-Zanoni wrote:
>I just uploaded some bike pictures to Included is the seat
>cluster of my Redcay with prototype stainless Henry James lugs. The entire
>frame cost the price of the Waterford upgrade in 1979. Jim took two years
>to deliver it and said he would not do any more stainless lugs- too much
>work. This is the frame under renovation at Spectrum.
>My username is my e-mail address- Look under bikes.
>As a seperate issue, some pictures of my Hetchins will show that a wide
>degree of ornateness is available. This one is called a Keyhole-Spade and
>it has relatively simple lugs and straight stays but lots of chrome and
>long tangs on the fork crown and rear brake bridge.
>At 03:16 PM 10/18/00 -0400, Jerry Moos wrote:
>>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
>>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.
>>> lugs are expensive and difficult to work with so you will probably never
>>> them in mass production. But it looks so good when it is all done with
>>> of the problems inherent with chroming. Most high quality stainless steels
>>> have a much higher elongation than standard steels used in drop-outs and
>>> 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
>>> > 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
>>> > be used on their tubes. It's pretty but it won't increase the life of
>>> > 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
>>> 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.