Monday, May 28, 2012

Soma Smoothie

Time for a "man blog" diversion. Why not? It's that time of year where we are all distracted from the shop, office, or what-have-you by the allure of the outdoors and it's specific, or general call to each of us. In my case: bike lust.
For a number of years I have wanted to replace an older road bike that didn't exactly fit me nor was quite geared towards the kind of riding I've been leaning to.
I had not been able to justify replacing it because I certainly do not make much for money and that I have hardly touched it for the last few years due to working myself ragged. After a hopeful barter with a bike rep fell through, I couldn't wait any longer. The bug had already bit. I decided to attempt what I like to call "a working man's bike build" with the good folk of the Angry Catfish behind the build.

Enter the Smoothie frame set from Soma Fabrications. Soma is a bicycle frame and parts manufacturer based in San Francisco who focuses on durability, and ride-ability at an approachable price. Being from Minneapolis one might ask "What about the likes of Surly or All City frames?" I would say that the tubing and geometry is worth the bit more than the Surly but to get a real appreciable step up I would need to spend at least twice that of the Soma.
At a price point of $550 for frame and fork (plus the $50 or so for professional chase and face), one cannot expect the world, but I was pleasantly surprised. The fit and finish of the frame exceeded my expectations with clean welds (to my eye), the clean white paint with a beautiful light pearl coat, subtle detail around the updated branding (a very welcome update), and so on. The fittings for racks and fenders are thoughtful but I would rather be without them. It would be nice if they had the option without them on this, their "race" frame.

Aesthetically I wanted to utilize the steel frame with its semi compact geometry to achieve a "vintage-modern" machine. One of course could make ties to the furniture and wood work I do.
For me this means clean, mainly silver/alloy components. I was a bit surprised at the limited amount of products that fit the bill! I had to do some searching but I came out with some good stuff.

Part of the reason I spent less on the frame was so that I could invest more into wheels and some more over looked parts that really do count such as the headset, saddle, and tires. These are the parts that can make or break your ride. When you are confident and comfortable you simply perform and feel better.

The Soma Soothie is certainly no feather weight by today's race standards, nor is it the most responsive frame on the market. However, it is a great bang for the buck. The frame comes into its own at speed. The modern race geometry delivers power and handling while the steel keeps me comfortable. Investing in the ride as a whole makes this a solid and confident machine uniquely tailored to my riding and aesthetic style, and budget.
For a person like me what it comes down to is riding, and wanting to ride more. I'm itching for another opportunity to get some miles behind me.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Sofa Photos

Remember this guy? The upholstery was just finished a week ago. I think it turned out mighty nice, this kind of cushion is a breeze for David of Remnants. If you're looking for upholstery done well, especially in a mid century nature, check him out!
These photos were taken with available light, thought I'd try it out. I think that my strobes may have done the soft green a little better, but hey this was really quick.
I have yet to name it, I'll have to do some more searching.

These arms are just impossible to photograph in a just way.
Love that fabric!

Here the sofa is mated with a pair of my Frame-Top Side Tables. These tables are a bit tall, perhaps an inch or two, but I think they work together. The Shedua in the tables is a nice match without getting "too matchy" with the Walnut sofa. I wonder how a pair in English Brown Oak would look...

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Back to the Bottle

Err the cabinet that will hold some bottles.
It has been a while since I've been able to get some steady work in on the whiskey cabinet. I've made enough progress to make a post about it though.
Here we see some shaping of the legs. Subtle pillowing and the leg is also very slightly tapered, heavier at the bottom, so lightly that I don't think many if anyone will notice. It should make the stand overall more complete/sound though.

The aprons got a rebate to recess the bottom of the cabinet into. This was done on the router table.

Then came a part that I hadn't been completely looking forward to. Cutting out notches in the tops of the legs to complete the recess for the cabinet bottom.
I first took a wedge chunk out with a hand saw. I tried to get pretty close to my scribe lines thinking that this way I was less likely to blow out fibers with me trim router later.

Dry fit the stand and cut as much waste out as I felt comfortable with my trim router.

Then cleaned the corners up with some careful handy-work.
Phew! I guess it wasn't all that bad though these kinds of operations I always get tense over.

Now that was done, I jest needed to complete some more edge treatment before pre-finishing the stand.

About a week later the stand was finished and glued up. Now another fairly cautious operation. Fitting the bottom panel to the stand.
Cut some waste on the table saw and came back to the bench for fine tuning by shooting the panel with a block plane.

A pretty fine fit if I do say so myself. Went pretty smoothly considering the lack of work I've been able to get in.
Even though I've been feeling pretty detached with my work it's nice to see that I can still manage to do good job! Hopefully I'll find some of that momentum again... alas spring is a time of interruptions.
At any rate, I'm coming to more pre-finishing and taking a look at the veneer for the sides of the cabinet!