October 19, 2014
Change of the season. Down under, another warm Summer is on the way. For us in the North it’s been a grueling season of cyclocross, bright Fall colors, and unseasonably warm weather. At Wheel Fanatyk our move to Port Hadlock is complete and we soon won’t be living out of moving boxes!
Many wheel builders ride more and use the “off season” to change gears: building up stock, rearranging workshops, acquiring and repairing tools, finding more dirt oriented wheels to build and fix. Each of us becomes a better builder and gets closer to the “perfect” wheel. Perfect wheels start with skillful building and require special components. Skillful building is made of experience, execution, and great tools. By the way, how are yours?
Against this familiar rhythm, shipments of cool tools and devices are coming our way. But nothing so inspired as recent arrivals from Montana, where Jon continues to work wonders with a variety of woods. What a dazzling event unwrapping his latest shipment.
Jon’s dishing tools have been scarce all year. These seven are just in time for holidays. One, made of myrtlewood, does not hide the laminations as white oak. Lamination is why these tools are so awesomely strong and stable. Each dish tool could be the handle of a daily use hammer for a carpenter’s entire career. Thin layers and industrial adhesives create strength and stability to survive years of use and exposure.
The knobs are myrtle wood, and you can see their individuality. Jon uses overstock wood from other projects for small items like dish tools and shuffle boxes. He picks through scraps and boards for wood with integrity and character. Each tool shows its uniqueness and we all have the pleasure of using appropriate materials in an age of scarcity.
Today we received one myrtlewood and six oak tools. On the webstore, look for options. If they appear, we have stock. Searching overruns is serendipitous, so future dish tools may be made of other woods, but always beautiful and strong.
This wood variety really shows in the latest Shufflers. These nipple sorting boxes have been a big surprise. We have sold over 60 in the last six months! They began as pale bamboo. When that material ran out, we switched to dark, stranded bamboo. A very different look, like dark walnut. We are down to one and the new shipment is made of six different woods.
Jon included 2 boxes of myrtle wood. These are nearly twice price because, for Shufflers, it’s more time consuming than the other woods. He searches for pieces with small scale character, shapes the wood more slowly, sanding takes longer. The boxes are more costly and rarer.
The inventory will change and webstore options will reflect those. For those who admire all the colors and seek a box mostly for function (faster, easier wheel lacing), please indicate and we will surprise you (not including myrtle wood).
Hope you too are impressed by these products, arrived just in time for the upcoming season. We love when stock of such beauty is on our shelves and in customers workshops. Easy to believe wheel quality benefits from the use of artistic, inspired tools.
Upcoming posts include the start of an exploration of bearings, devices that affect our wheel building in sooo many ways. We also have to conclude the mysterious case of exploding spokes, share a few radical bicycle design ideas, see what P&K were doing at Eurobike, 2014, and discuss the state of bicycle mechanics (people not wrenches). Stay tuned and watch out for those damp corners!
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