> 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?
O.k. here it goes:
1. No, the lugs do not discolor during brazing but they still must be polished as part of the finish work. I run my stainless lugs through a vibratory tumbler for a few days prior to basic lug prep. This cleans them up and allows a better finished product. Stainless lugged bikes or complete stainless bikes need to have a level of finish work far beyond other types of bikes. When you look at a stainless steel bike that I made you are in essence looking at a bare unpainted frame and everything needs to be spot on. I sand with successivly finer sand papers (120-500 grit) until I am close to a polished surface. Final polishing is done on buffing wheels. If you have done your job right the polish comes up pretty quick and easy without any damage or digging into the adjacent tubing.
2. Whoa boy, are stainless lugs way harder to cut and shape than standard cast or pressed lugs. Can't tell you the reason exactly but stainless is always difficult to work with wheather your talking machining, jewelry work or bicycle building/jewelry work.
3. There are no alternatives right now that are cast. Columbus makes a set of stainless lugs that are of fair quality but have a lot of meat to work with. These are the types that you see on the homepage of my site. Henry James are very high quality as always, not quite as much to work with but I am soon to be completing a bike with a fancy set of H.J stainless lugs. A touring bike, you guys will like it. Of course I could always TIG weld up a set of blanks and then work from those.
4. I always use stainless steel drop-outs on all my bikes and they come included in the price of my frames. A frame with stainless lugs which inlcude head-tube lugs, seat-tube lug, bottom bracket, fork crown, brake bridge, water bottle bosses, drop-outs, and chain hanger (enough stainless for you?) add approximately 500.00 to the cost. Most of this is incurred in the extra polishing and finish work and the extra paint work to mask all that stuff.
Man, we could make a full metax stainless bike with S&S couplers (there stainless), I have some new stainless stem lugs coming and we could make it with stainless tubing, mate it up to a stainless fork, Phil wood stainless bottom bracket and hubs, I am going crazy on the stainless.
Have a good night,