[CR] Two British phrases..

(Example: Production Builders:Peugeot)

Date: Fri, 21 Jan 2011 01:23:31 +0000
From: "Norris Lockley" <nlockley73@gmail.com>
To: classicrendezvous@bikelist.org
Subject: [CR] Two British phrases..

Oddly I haven't heard either of these phrases, but there are similar ones in usage that involve involving the phrase " stringing together" such as ' he couldn't string two words together' meaning that someone wasn't very articulate.

I an imagine however that the phrase 'stringing a frame together' could be realted to the practice, surpringlyly regularly used, by framebuilders of checking the alignment of the rear triangle with a length of string . I am sure that most CR Listers will have heard of this practice but just in case there are those who haven't ..here goes.

Once a builder had built the main triangle of a frame together and was inserting the chainstays and the seat-stays, tack-brazing them into position, it was quite common practice to check the alighment of the stays buy tying a piece of string to one rear drop-out and then passing it through the main triangle, looping it around the head tube , rethreading it through the main triangle and then fastening it to the other drop out...the string having been pulled as tight as possible to remove any slack.

The builder would then take a short metal rule from his overall pocket and place the end fairly and squarely against the seat tube at the point where the string passed close by, thereby enabling him to take a reading between the tube and the string. Having taken that reading, he would then take a second one on the other side of the seat tube. Obvious if the frame is in track the two readings would be the same.

If the distance were not the same the rear stays would be pulled to adjust t.o equalise the distances and then the distance across the inside of the drop-outs taken to ensure that it was correct for the type of wheel being fitted. A clamp would be fixed across the chainstays to prevent any movement and the brazing of the stays into thew bracket would be completed. Some builders preferred to complete the brazing and then carry out the tracking with the string.

It was always advisable to use a high quality fine string or fine wire The method was used to set both chainstays at the correct angle and correct width, but, of course it relied completely on the seat tube being perfectly vertical !!! I was taught this method way back in the early 50s. For us, in those days there were no jigs and alignment tables like the ones shown in the video of Harry Hoonavarian building a frame..and no machine tools. Frames were entirely hand made.

However a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing in the wrong hands. In the early 90s I remember building a road racing frame for a local Cat 1 rider. I was surprised when he phoned me to say that the frame was handling badly, and that his rear brake kept catching..the reason being, he told me categorically, that the frame was out of alignment in the rear triangle.

Now..show me the frame-builder who has never made a mistake.. The customer explained that he had carried out the string test..the unequal measurements showing the amount of misalignment. I invited him to bring the frame back and to demonstrate his test. Sure enough he did so and found a difference of about 6mm, meaning that the wheel would not be centred correctly between the stays.

I must admit to being quite upset at this finding..so I tested with the gauges that I have and then with the string..and found perfect alignment in both cases. Obviously the customer thought no wheel was ever going to be centred correctly...no rear brake would ever work correctly and evenly.

Scratching my head in embarassment I set about double checking the string rig...and was enormously relieved when I realised that he had tied one end of the string so that it departed from the inner face of the drop-out and finally arrived back after its journey through the main triangle and back and terminated by being tied to the outer face of the other drop-out. The notional misalignment was the thickness of the forged drop-out !!! Eventually I convinced him to let me put several other wheels into his frame...then he allowed me to get out the old tracking bells to prove to his satisfaction that the ends were correctly tracked and parallel..and I suggested that he should just possibly ensure that he always used a correctly centre rear wheel in future..before he decides to shoot the frame-builder.

Now then Crumpy...I've tackled one of these phrases..so how about you chimimng in on the other..one that I have never heard. Maybe it's one that you Midlanders used to use, as you always did speak a different language from us Northerners.

Kevin...did you ever use string?

Norris Lockley

Settle UK