I decided to take one of the frames to an independent bike frame manufacturer – just to get a second opinion.
There are a few independents near my house.
One is Field Cycles. They make really, really fantastic Steel frames with amazing paintworks by Croma. Well worth a look.
JF Wilson Cycles – these have been going for about 60 years, they make Steel framed bikes and have a fantastic narrative about how they were formed.
The other frame builder is Vernon Barkers – they used to be based in Drony (Dronfield – but Drony to us Sheffielders). They are now based in Broomhill in Sheffield, below the Public Library. They make Steel and Aluminium framesets.
I decided to give them a call.
I spoke to Dave and explained my situation and he said bring one of the frames in.
I drove down on a Friday lunch and parked up. I walked down the drive round to the basement and found myself at the entrance to the basement of what looks like a very grand old house. Bike shop in the basement. Library upstairs.
Fold back wooden doors were pushed tight against the walls with a long bench down one side and in the centre 2 bike stands.
I introduced myself and Dave walked forward.
Explaining who I was, I handed the frameset over and he took it off me.
He turned the frame over in his hands running his thumb over the welds as he looked carefully at them.
I asked him to complete a Quality Control check – he stated that he would check the frame for alignment, check the welds and we agreed a price.
I left him to it.
A week later I went back.
He had completed the checks by placing the frame in a jig.
Alignment of head tube was perfect, rear triangle straight and true.
Checking the welds was more problematic. I asked to him not to conduct destructive testing on it – i.e. cut it open which would be basically destroying the frame (which I believed to be a waste).
Dave also did not have any specialist equipment (such as X Ray machines) to look at it. So it was a visual inspection only.
He stated that the welds from what he saw were of good quality and there was a solid amount of weld in the joint.
We talked decals and paint finishes including priming and lacquers to protect the decals and avoid the paint chipping easily.
I took his comments on board, our sprayers will have this covered.
Dave was clearly knowledgeable about his craft and I was glad that I had met him, slowly meeting more people in the industry will only help.
I will also definitely be using him again for QC and his expertise – if he is not too busy.
Quick update on where we are.
I am waiting for the decals to come through. I spoke to the decal company last week. A company in Ilkeston Derbyshire.
Then once they have arrived, they are going on the frames and the frames will be lacquered.
I will chase them up this week.
Little bits of other house keeping left to do – ordering boxes for postage, sorting out how we are going to post and which companies we will use.
I will keep you informed.
Thanks for reading.