[CR]Amir's SPiF ratio

(Example: Production Builders)

From: "Norris Lockley" <norris.lockley@talktalk.net>
To: classicrendezvous@bikelist.org
Date: Wed, 20 Jun 2007 02:50:33 +0100
Subject: [CR]Amir's SPiF ratio

Amir, if you're thinking of making the grade as a top framebuilder you're r eally going to have to increase your water intake..and take up smoking if y ou do indeed aspire to true French constructeur stand ards.

You will need to understand that not only is the SPiF ratio extremely im portant..the amount of flux powder increasing when you make the flux mix fo r brazing on the brake and gear cable stops, the front mech boss, the canti -bosses etc. How else are you going to be able to stick those fiddly little bits in place while you get the joint warmed up - but you will need to und erstand that the overall "assemblage" ratios are important too.

The correct ratios are very important in wine making too when a vigneron is mixing wines from several different parcelles of vineyard, to get the best grapes..and the best "assemblage". But you need to watch how a Fre nch framebuilder such as my old friend Bebere, a former copper-smith, manag es to permit JUST the correct amount of ash to fall from the end of his Gau lloise cigarette into the pot containing the spit and flux powder.. You are mistaken if you think that a Gaulloise cigarette's ability to form at leas t 4 cms of ash before that ash drops off the end, is the result of jus t sheer chance and steady inhaling by the smoker.

No..the French government who own SEITA ,the company that makes the Gaul loise cigarettes, is well-known for its efforts to subsidise with either th e taxpayers' euros, or any euros it can obtain from the European Community' s coffers..all types of French industry , entrepreneurs..and constructeurs of frames particularly and to carry out research projects to further their industries.

It is also well known in French frame-building circles that smoking a Ga ulloise or even a Gitanes when brazing ..makes it far easier to light the b razing torch. However this technique needs extensive practice if you intend to aspire to the top echelons of constructeurs who - and this is a v ery little known secret - tend always to wear a Breton beret when brazing. This woollen device helps to bring both the frame-builder's head and the jo int being brazed up to the correct liquidus range of the brazing spelter, m ore quickly than would have been the case had the builder not warn a beret. Attempts by some young French KOF builders to substitute an "I love New Yo rk" baseball cap for the traditional beret have not met with success as the bronze rods did not flow properly, but it is rumoured that frames ca n be silver-soldered effectively - due to the lower temperatures - by the b aseball cap wearers.

Another "wrinkle" or trade secret of the top builders is to add just a f ew drops of a good sauvignon blanc AOC wine - must be at least 13% - to the assemblage when a nickel-bronze rod is being used, as the wine is believed to produce a nicer coloured line around the finished joint. On ly the best Bordeaux "chateax-bottled" merlot wine might be added to the as semblage when a high carbon chro-moly tube , such as Super Vitus,is being b razed, as it is thought that the extra tannins in the wine help to maintain the steel's carbon content at the correct level. However for the ultimate in such joints the "Black" wine of Cahors whose Cot (Malbec) grape is extremely tannic, is reserved.

Remember too, that as a constructeur, you must have your "lucky" pot for mixing the assemblage in ! Not any pot will do. I know builders who always mix their flux in the same pot year after year..and those pots are usually jars that have contained the renowned "NUTELLA" sandwich spread..that Fren ch concoction of chocolate and hazel nuts, ground in a mortar and pestel ri ght down to the correct consistency by an army of Breton women who wear the ir tall lace-decorated hats as they do so. My own "lucky pot" used to conta in, of all things, salmon paste. Well..it's not as daft as you think. If yo u look at a pot of salmon spread and then at a pot containing pink brazing paste..they almost look alike. It's just a case of what you get used to. My first ROTRAX la Premiere frame bought in 1953 was painted in salmon pink!.

So, Amir...when you have mastered all these black arts you can then star t to think about head and seat angles, fork offsets, rakes and trails...It' s not as easy as you think to be a constructeur.

Unfortunately I lack sufficient time to introduce you to the special gas that the top constructeurs used to use in the 40s and 50s..and some are th ought to still do so, particularly those in the Chavignol area o f the Loire Valley, and the Saou area of the Rhone Valley. Before it w as understood that the methane gas ejected by the special breed of goat who se milk was and is still used to produce those very soft and smelly goats c heeses, such as Crotis,was contributing to global warming..it is rumoured t hat the gas was collected in large leather bags , possibly made from the go ats'udders and then mixed with the carbon dioxide produced and collec ted from the natural fermentation of the grapes in the wine-making va ts. This assemblage of gases..... But that must wai t until a later dateas I dare not divulge too many of the constructeur s' secrets at one sitting.

Finally loose talk among the French randonneurs and the Diagon alistes suggests that this gas might have been the secret weapon used by&nb sp;Paul Reiss, of Reyhand fame, who lived, of course, at Lyon ju st at the northern end of the Rhone Valley, and therefore just in sniffing distance of the Dromois cheese.. and that it was the ferocious heat ge nerated at the torch's tip by the combustion of this gas that enabled Paul& nbsp; to actually fusion weld his lugless frames instead of bronze-welding them.

Norris Lockley...now where did my wife put my beret...Settle UK

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