So the weekly blog update went to shit last week didn't it? Seems on trend with the rest of the world right now but still, apologies. Mrs A has to sit and trawl through this process with me and was unable to this week. Maybe a bit of household context would help.
Mrs A has about 15 full-time roles, not including wife and mother. She's a journalist, does all the admin for August, sorts the accounts, herds spam emails into her 'fuck off' folder and enjoys dealing with influencer approaches (no Tarquin, we don't give free bikes to people with 124 followers. We triple-checked with our mortgage provider and alas, they don't accept "shout-outs" as legal tender). So, she's a busy gal and had a really heavy week outing Nestlé for their greenwashing, faux leaked product launch and child slavery court case. Big stuff and honestly? The blog needed to wait. Which leads us into our main theme...
WAITING. Parts. Materials. THERE ARE NONE. As everything we build is fully custom, we don't have several models that we custom size. Each customer project starts from a blank sheet of paper (Or BikeCAD file) and everything is chosen to suit the client's particular needs. Our current build queue is pretty eclectic (a mini-velo, balance bike, disc road bike and a trail spec 29er to name a few). This means that we don't have the luxury of bulk-buying tube sets and we obtain the necessary parts when a project is ready to start. Unfortunately, our UK suppliers' stock-rooms seem to be bare right now, meaning that we have a lot of tubing and other parts back-ordered. Components for completing a build seem to be in a similar situation.
Despite the shortage of raw materials we managed to get a few things done with the hardware that we could get our mitts on. Firstly, another Bullitt stem. This one is destined for a customer in Germany. The usual Chromoly fillet brazed construction, but unlike the last one that we built, this will use the entirety of a Chris King upper headset but is still preloaded from the underside of the bike. This one is ready to head out to our powdercoater for a clear finish that will show off the raw steel and brass fillets.
We also started on some sub-assemblies for the balance bike that is in the queue. This will be the twin of the one for our own daughter that is currently in the possession of Ornamental Conifer, getting a one off hand-painted finish and is actually for the daughter of the artist himself, so will be headed out to LA when it's finished. The head tube/steerer tube/headset that you see is made from six separate parts that have been manually machined in-house and joined with either fillet brazing or TIG welding before being given further attention to ensure all the shapes/tolerances etc are just right.
It's been a good week for tampers as we squeezed in enough time to make two from brand new, unused Dura Ace HB-9000 hubs. They are for sale in OUR SHOP now. Bases are always machined in-house from catering grade stainless steel and as usual, are 58mm to start and can be turned down to any size for your portafilter. Also, we've had a couple of people let us know they've seen 'our' tampers for sale elsewhere. The only way to get an #augustcoffeetamper is direct from us (or as a surprise gift from someone, as two lucky recipients did last week, thanks to a generous customer of ours). Anything else has been made by someone else. Our tampers are made entirely in-house and manually. we'd like to take this opportunity to once again say that we didn't invent this idea but we've been making our own versions for seven-plus years now. Thank you to everyone that has upgraded their home brewing set-up with our work and we look forward to doing the same for many more of you.
Wheels are always going on in the background but we don't think many of you are all that interested in them, so we whip them up and ship them out without too much of a huzzah. There are some good'uns coming next week though, spoke delivery depending. If you're interested in a run through of our wheel building tools etc, let us know. It's something we keep meaning to do as we've collected a lot of cool tools that might even make Dave Rome jealous.
If anyone's ever interested in what we're listening to, we've started a workshop Spotify account. You'll definitely be able to tell when Mrs A has been in control. To say we have drastically different tastes in music would be a real understatement. There's a few mutual fancies (we see you Hall & Oates), but I'll never choose McFly, Dennis Wilson or Richard Hawley. If you want to follow along, see the playlists we make or just tune in from time to time, you can, HERE.
Rad Peeps of the Week:
Hairy McClary from Donaldson's Dairy
Everyone that bought us a coffee this week, again!
Our customer Mark who collected his new bike via distanced interaction and brought joy, relief and camaraderie when we really needed some
Bret Easton Ellis for producing one of my favourite workshop podcasts
Our MK1 Polo for stepping up, turning over and being the cheap runaround (It's tax exempt, We are the worst kind of cyclists, we don't even pay 'road tax' for our car!) we need. Yes, I made an Isofix bracket, no shame in our parent game
RuPaul. We are late to the Drag Race game but for 100,000 doulas, we are ploughing through every series
See you next time!