Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Ancient Skills Revived and An Amusing Anecdote

Actual movement occurs in the world of Pogward bicycle building, mostly because I finally bit the bullet and purchased a lovely little oxy acetylene plant pictured here in fresh and pristine condition, full to the brim with compressed oxygen and dissolved/compressed acetylene;

A long time ago in a land far far away (England, 1993), a fresh faced young Pogward got a job working as the helping hand for the boss* of a specialist welding outfit. This meant he spent a fruitful time learning what MIG, TIG, MMA, brazing and silver soldering was all about, and once he had a handle on it (and had learnt that setting oneself on fire was less than desirable, amongst many other valuable lessons nearly all involving extreme heat, hair, fingers, limbs and genitalia) he spent a few years welding together many interesting things with a fair degree of competency.

It is amazing that he had the energy for it to be honest because his true passion was for cutting a dashing swathe through as many of the young ladies of Surrey as his stamina could support, and believe me in those days he had stamina.

In the intervening years the lack of practice (and noticeable lessening of stamina) has left the Pogward fairly out of practice, so the last couple of days have been spent trying to remember how to braze properly using some old bits of bicycle luggage and tube I have been given, and the bike frame specific rod and flux that the lovely Simon gave to me.

I am now happy with fillets and such;

But I am less happy with my ability to get the braze to wick down inside fundamental joints like the fork crown;

That one was pretty strong (I know this because you can see I smashed it with a hammer and it didn't fall off), but I still did not get a full penetration...

This one looks ok, but has this disturbing lack of brazing material where I would expect/want it to be;

I am guessing that a bit more practice will make all the difference, for if I have learnt nothing over the last couple of decades, I have learnt that technique is more important than stamina.

* My boss was called Maurice, and he did some extremely amusing things, one of which I shall relate to you. We worked out of a shed on a farm and there were a number of pretty girls with horses at the stables on the farm. We would quite often get one drop in for a cup of tea (no doubt drawn by the rather raw charms of the young Pogward). One day one of the girls whose name I cannot remember, but can right now picture her lovely face and rather sizeable assets very clearly even down the long and misty tunnel of time..... Anyway, Maurice said to her in his less than melodic Saarf Lundun accent; 'I bet you a Pound that I can make your tits jiggle wivvout touchin em'. She was extremely dubious as you could imagine, but eventually agreed to the bet. He then got her to stand in front of him, asked if she were ready, proceeded to grab her breasts and give them a quick jostle. He then reached into his pocket for a coin and said; 'Ere's your pound'.