Saturday, July 10, 2010

Back To The Business Of Racks

You know that I got all crazy gung-ho psycho into rack-building a while ago. Well, you just can't keep that energy level up very long. Or spend that much time holed up in the shop, neglegting your responsibilities. So the rack shop has been idle as of late. But with the Elephant now in stable, it's time to bring it to life again.

Before I could do any actual rack-building, though, I needed to do a little shop maintenance. The soft jaws on my vice have taken a tremendous beating. They were quickly put together and light-duty to begin with, so that didn't help. If I happened to slip when I was filing, I'd jam my knuckles into the ragged edges and I'd had enough of that.

I saw the jaws that Alistair made for his vice and immediately thought it was a great idea. So I blatantly copied it.

The other thing that needed to be fixed was the backup shoe on my homemade bender. It wasn't stout enough to begin with and had bent from the pressure, so I straightened it out and beefed it up with a gusset.

With that done, I was free to go to work. I had decided that I needed to order some 5/16" x .028" tubing, as opposed to the 3/8" x .035" I'd been using on everything up to this point. But the 5/16" is more than twice as expensive as the 3/8", which totally sucks. Bottom line, though, is that there's no way I'm turning the Elephant into a tank, so I bit the bullet.

This rack is no work of art. My homemade bender is designed for the 3/8" tubing and doesn't really cut it with the 5/16". Bigger problem though, is that I've been waiting a long time for this kind of riding weather and now that it's here, I'm not all that motivated to spend gobs of hours in the shop. Being outside on a bike in the summer somehow seems better than being inside looking at one. Life is about choices, as they say, and for this project I chose not to obsess.

It came in at just a little over 6 tenths of a pound, so mission accomplishd on the weight thing.

It's about the most basic rack ever and I'm not exactly sure how I'm gonna use it. It's painted with black rattle-can primer because there are hacks in its future for certain. It will be interesting to see how it evolves and gets used. For now, it gets me on the road with some way to carry a little something.

1 comment:

alex wetmore said...

Good to see you back in the shop, but I agree that this weather means spending time outside, not inside.

You can get 5/16" x 0.028 tubing much cheaper from Dillsburg than Aircraft Spruce. I have a catalog scanned here:

You have to order full lengths (which are about 19' long), but they cut them into 8' sections when mailing them to you. Shipping always works out pretty reasonably. You can get the price per foot really low if you find a couple of other people to go in on an order with you and you buy multiple lengths.