Butchered and Tied.- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Butchered and Tied.

    I took two of my stock Brooks B.17 leather saddles, and went to work on them.

    "Butchered and Tied" as it is known in the industry.


    What do you think? I love the new look.


    R.
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  2. #2
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    More..

    here:

    R.
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  3. #3
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    Last shots..

    R.
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  4. #4
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    Man, where those ties are would chaife me silly.
    No longer member of the bike industry nor society, so don't hassle me.

  5. #5
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    Strange.. I don't notice them at all when I pedal.

    R
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  6. #6
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    Why

    Why ?

  7. #7
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    Because...I can.

    Seriously..I have always preferred the look of the swallow.

    R.
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  8. #8
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    Taint

    Abuse.

    I'm forwarding this post to Health and Human Services.
    Professional Amateur

  9. #9
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    Smile Taint?

    ..lol.. only if you ride a geared bike, imo.

    I mostly stand up.


    Now you know why..


    R.
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  10. #10

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    ??

    Is that something that you came up with yourself or are you following the lead of others who have done the same? Looks to me like violating the integrity of the protective covering would accelerate the deteriation.

  11. #11
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    In this case I am merely a follower. This is not new, it has been done before by many other owners of Brooks saddles.

    Here is a link to a couple of examples:

    http://www.wallbike.com/content/butchering.html

    Enjoy...



    R.
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  12. #12
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    I like the Red/Brown one. Looks nice. Some of the saddles on the page you linked are cool too. I can understand the 'tied' part but what do the 3 holes in the nose do?

    C.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rainman
    In this case I am merely a follower. This is not new, it has been done before by many other owners of Brooks saddles.

    Here is a link to a couple of examples:

    http://www.wallbike.com/content/butchering.html

    Enjoy...



    R.



    All I have ridden for years are Brooks, havent modded any of the 4? I have currently but may try it some day. They sure look good! My only other saddle that gets use is a leather Lepper (like a Swift) on my Pinarello.

  14. #14
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    I've seen those pictures in the link before, even have a couple saved on my computers. I have a couple of Brooks I don't have the guts to cut, but I do have an older B-17 with the small rivets I've been thinking of "butchering". What did you cut it with and did you have to do any finish work? I'm not sure how to start, though I do have an idea about what shape I want.
    "I'll disintegrate over time if I expect my body to try to keep up with my mind" -BM

    Race, Rocks or Road...Just Ride

  15. #15
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    Wow Rainman, you've been reading my mind. I'm about to cut my Ti Swift. I found this site very helpful, linky.
    “Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of riding a bike.” John F. Kennedy

  16. #16
    mvi
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    Done that

    Done that with a cheaper French saddle. It works well.
    I still regreet the 5 week trip I once took , replacing leather with a Rolls (Sella SM).
    Biggest mistake I ever made. Leather is hard to beat for days in the saddle. Not that I have any right now.

  17. #17
    pepito
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    Quote Originally Posted by Soupboy
    Abuse.

    I'm forwarding this post to Health and Human Services.

    actually, these saddles are just about the most taint friendly i've found.

    rainman, i've been thinking of doing that lately, because i forgot to tighten my saddle as it broke in, and now it might be too broken in. tying it would create the needed tension. the only thing i was worried about is the rise of the center of the saddle (taintular region), and how comfortable that would be. how does it feel seated?

    the_dude
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rainman
    I took two of my stock Brooks B.17 leather saddles, and went to work on them.

    "Butchered and Tied" as it is known in the industry.


    What do you think? I love the new look.


    R.
    I love the look also. I prefer the brown color. I have an old B17 Narrow but I don't have the nerve to cut it.

  19. #19
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    The Antique Brown is also my favourite colour. It glows with a beautiful reddish brown sheen in some lights..

    I used a new and very sharp Stanley knife to cut the leather after taping out the angle of the cut like in the link I provided on the Wallbike site..I used plain red coloured half inch wide electrical tape to tape out the line of the cut.

    I have no leatherworking tools, so I just left it as is...but hope to complete the modifications when I can buy a couple of leatherwork finishing tools.

    Someone asked about the holes in the saddle..they are for taint ventilation...lol..

    It took me quite a long time to gather my courage to cut the first saddle, as I was afraid of messing it up. The second one was easier, because I knew what I was doing.

    Now i'm glad I did it. The butchered and tied saddle looks really great..imo. The side lacing firms up the saddle nicely, and the saddles are very comfortable because they are both 'broken in'.

    The ties are simply cut down runner laces in brown and black.

    I wanted to get the Swallow model look in a wider seat..ergo, the "swallowised" B.17

    R.
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  20. #20
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    do you ride those saddles in rain/mud? do they stretch?

    brooks saddles sure look comfy but i can't run a saddle on my mtb or commuter i'd be afraid to get wet.

    i really like the look of them chopped down. nice job!

  21. #21
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    Nice looking mods.
    Would you recommend breaking in a saddle first and then butchering it?
    Enjoy the ride.

  22. #22
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    Love 'em. I've cut on one of my Brooks a little bit, but I need to finish the edge, as it doesn't look that great - a new sharp knife would probably help.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by max-a-mill
    do you ride those saddles in rain/mud? do they stretch?

    brooks saddles sure look comfy but i can't run a saddle on my mtb or commuter i'd be afraid to get wet.

    i really like the look of them chopped down. nice job!
    Yes, I try to ride every day here in AU. Sometimes I get caught in a downpour, but that's unusual because Australia is normally a pretty dry country overall.

    In England, the land of the Brooks saddle, it rains a lot. That doesn't seem to worry the english riders who use Brooks saddles.

    I carry a plastic bag for wet conditions. If it rains whilst i'm out riding, I stop, slip the thin plastic bag over the seat, tie it off underneath around the seat tube, and ride on.

    I have only ever got one of my saddles really drenched and had to let it dry out for a couple of days whilst I used a spare Brooks on my bike.

    As far as the chopping goes, I like the looks of the saddles now a lot more. After I cut them, they were a lot 'softer' so I tightened up the tensioning bolt a little, and used the ties to firm them back up.

    The leather will stretch when wet, but goes back into shape when dry. Of course, it's better not to let them get too wet if you plan on using the same saddle every day.


    R.
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by max-a-mill
    do you ride those saddles in rain/mud? do they stretch?

    brooks saddles sure look comfy but i can't run a saddle on my mtb or commuter i'd be afraid to get wet.

    i really like the look of them chopped down. nice job!
    I use mine in the good old English rain. A mud guard is a very good idea as it stops the underside of the saddle getting wet and your backside protects the rest of the saddle most of the time. A plastic bag over the saddle is useful if you are leaving your bike where it is likely to get soaked. I've never used one while riding though. It is nice if you have a spare saddle so you can let your wet one dry slowly (don't put it near a radiator to dry it out fast as this can ruin it).
    Just think of a Brooks saddle as a pair of good quality leather hiking boots, spend a bit of time looking after it and it will last you years.
    Enjoy the ride.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by LJintheUK
    Nice looking mods.
    Would you recommend breaking in a saddle first and then butchering it?
    I think so, yes. Both the saddles I cut were broken in well, as you can see from the pics I posted. Notice the sit-bone dents in the leather at the rear of the saddles.

    However, not having cut a brand new saddle, I can't say this for sure...you would have to try it yourself.

    R.
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  26. #26
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    Rainman - I have three Brooks b-17. One is BRAND new - stil very hard after two short rides. My other two are a few years old and VERY broken in - I have to tighten them every 3 to 6 months - I have been worried that I have been using the tension bolt too much and want to tie them to firm them up.

    you said you used a nice sharp knife to cut them and running laces to tie them.
    what did you use to make the holes?
    did you "back up" the leather with a wooden block while you made the holes?
    Any tips or tricks you'd like to pass along?
    thanks!!!
    Chris
    Richmond, VA
    Ra-MORE mtb club

  27. #27
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    ... and if we just ... Thanks

    Rainman, thanks for giving me the guts and inspiration to try something I've never done before!

    Just finished trimming down my well broken in Brook's Pro, and she turned out PERFECT! I love it.

    Don't think she needs to be tied, yet....but time will tell.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by xrmattaz
    Rainman, thanks for giving me the guts and inspiration to try something I've never done before!

    Just finished trimming down my well broken in Brook's Pro, and she turned out PERFECT! I love it.

    Don't think she needs to be tied, yet....but time will tell.
    Glad it worked out so well for you..


    R.
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  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by cbchess
    Rainman - I have three Brooks b-17. One is BRAND new - stil very hard after two short rides. My other two are a few years old and VERY broken in - I have to tighten them every 3 to 6 months - I have been worried that I have been using the tension bolt too much and want to tie them to firm them up.

    you said you used a nice sharp knife to cut them and running laces to tie them.
    what did you use to make the holes?
    did you "back up" the leather with a wooden block while you made the holes?
    Any tips or tricks you'd like to pass along?
    thanks!!!
    Chris
    I used a common leather punch to make the holes in the skirts, then ran the laces through the holes, tightened them up and tied them in a knot underneath the saddle.

    I didnt use any sort of backing when I was cutting the leather skirts, I simply attached the saddle to a spare seatpost first, layed the saddle + seatpost down on a bench, and used a nice strong desk lamp to give me plenty of light so I could see what I was doing.

    It takes a steady hand to cut the leather, and I supported my cutting hand with my other hand whilst slooowly cutting along the line of the tape towards me.

    With a very sharp blade, just be careful not to slip.

    As always, I take no responsibility if you try this mod yourself, and screw up a good saddle.

    Just go slowly and try to make a nice clean cut.

    Here is a pic of my "professional" [lol..] leatherworking kit.


    R.
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  30. #30
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    Good job!

    I used a little "stone" with my Dremel to smooth out the leather "frillies" after cutting, and the same stone to chamfer the edges a bit.....looks factory to my eyes!

    Gotta get up the courage to cut Momma's new B17 "narrow" before she gets home tonight.....

  31. #31
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    Good job! Easy now

    Just today purchased a brand new BLACK B17 standard, and took to butchering for use on my Furly Fixie. Turned out outrageously fine, IMO. A good sharp box cutter and finishing off with the Dremel.

    I now have a sixty six dollar Swallow for my roadie, albeit steel railed.

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    Here's another site...

    with directions on butchering and tyeing a Brooks:

    http://www.fixedgeargallery.com/articles/brooks.htm

    I just saw it for the first time last week.

  33. #33
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    George Leakos work was my inspiration also. I thought that his Antique Brown saddle was beautiful, so determined to try my hand at it as well.

    George used a Makita grinder to cut his saddles, I preferred a sharp blade as I felt I had more control over the cutting of the leather that way.

    His Brooks professional looks great...imo.


    R.
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  34. #34
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    All those saddles look great to me. But at about $200 for a Ti railed version, I can't wonder if there is something else that might be better (and still lighter). I'm still very tempted to try a Brooks though.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rainman
    I used a common leather punch to make the holes in the skirts, then ran the laces through the holes, tightened them up and tied them in a knot underneath the saddle.

    I didnt use any sort of backing when I was cutting the leather skirts, I simply attached the saddle to a spare seatpost first, layed the saddle + seatpost down on a bench, and used a nice strong desk lamp to give me plenty of light so I could see what I was doing.

    It takes a steady hand to cut the leather, and I supported my cutting hand with my other hand whilst slooowly cutting along the line of the tape towards me.

    With a very sharp blade, just be careful not to slip.

    As always, I take no responsibility if you try this mod yourself, and screw up a good saddle.

    Just go slowly and try to make a nice clean cut.

    Here is a pic of my "professional" [lol..] leatherworking kit.


    R.
    Well I picked up a leather punch for 9$ at the Good hardware store in town and punched three holes right through the sides of two of my B-17 saddles.

    I lined the holes right up with the Brooks logo and it looks like it was made that way.
    a Cheap black lace until I can get a proper one.

    The ride is so much better - It's firmer but not harder - If you ride a brooks you'll know what I mean.
    its like I have more support and thus more comfort. I found my self naturally going faster on familar trails this past weekend on my test ride.

    I haven't the heart to cut it up and butcher it yet.

    I'll try to snap a picture in the next day or so.
    thanks for the info Rainman!
    Richmond, VA
    Ra-MORE mtb club

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by cbchess
    Well I picked up a leather punch for 9$ at the Good hardware store in town and punched three holes right through the sides of two of my B-17 saddles.

    I lined the holes right up with the Brooks logo and it looks like it was made that way.
    a Cheap black lace until I can get a proper one.

    The ride is so much better - It's firmer but not harder - If you ride a brooks you'll know what I mean.
    its like I have more support and thus more comfort. I found my self naturally going faster on familar trails this past weekend on my test ride.

    I haven't the heart to cut it up and butcher it yet.

    I'll try to snap a picture in the next day or so.
    thanks for the info Rainman!

    No problemo, mate.

    I [and all other Brooks owners] understand what you mean...exactly..


    R.
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  37. #37
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    Damn you Rainman, damn you to hell!!!!!

    Seriously, I got so inspired by this thread I went to work on my basically new (5 or 6 rides)
    B-17. I used my Dremel with the cut-off wheel after marking the line with electrical tape(sorry, no red, had to use black) to cut about 3/4 of the way into the leather then finished the cuts with a new and sharp blade on my utility knife. Switched back to the Dremel with a light stone drum to put a "finish" on the edges. Came out purty sweet if I say so meself.

    Total time from taping to finish: About 40 minutes

    Thanks to all for the info

    Just a note of caution...friction between the leather and Dremel causes the leather to burn a bit, nothing detrimental to the saddle but the odor.....

    Truly a wealth of useless information.


    http://blackdogadventureteam.blogspot.com/

  38. #38
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    My pleasure, sir. I'm glad it turned out well for you. I already knew about the rotten smell from cutting leather with a dremel, lol... it stinks ! ...

    That was one of the reasons I used a sharp blade.

    I must get around to finishing mine off with the dremel on the edges. A bit of "chamfering" would look nice, methinks..


    R.
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  39. #39
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    Picking the correct Brooks...

    Over 20 years ago I had a Brooks Professional and kept at it for a miserable 5000 miles -- it never broke into fitting my boney butt. Now that I'm slightly less boney (but still skinny!), I'm tempted by a Brooks but considering their price I would like to buy the correct seat the first time. It's my understanding that there are differences in width/length/whatever of the saddles and the brookssadles website isn't all that helpful. And I must say I would want to modify the saddle along the lines of this thread (unless I ended up with one of the one of those Swallow Limited Edition saddles -- what a beauty). Any advice?
    "The plural of anecdote is not data." -- Attributed to various people in a variety of forms, but always worth remembering...

  40. #40
    those are Rollercams...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rainman
    My pleasure, sir. I'm glad it turned out well for you. I already knew about the rotten smell from cutting leather with a dremel, lol... it stinks ! ...

    That was one of the reasons I used a sharp blade.

    I must get around to finishing mine off with the dremel on the edges. A bit of "chamfering" would look nice, methinks..


    R.
    My dogs, who usually get as far away as possible when they hear the Dremel seemed to think the odor was something akin to a rose garden in spring

    Truly a wealth of useless information.


    http://blackdogadventureteam.blogspot.com/

  41. #41
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    Try this site..gives measurements and pics..compares saddles, etc.. and their warranty is second to none.

    Highly recommended..


    http://www.wallbike.com/index.php


    R.
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  42. #42
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    Thanks, but man those saddles are wide!

    Quote Originally Posted by Rainman
    Try this site..gives measurements and pics..compares saddles, etc.. and their warranty is second to none.
    My wife's Terry saddle isn't as wide as a Brooks Swallow (seemingly the narrowest of the lot). My current saddle is about 25 mm narrower that the Swallow at the widest point. But that might not matter, and may even be good...

    By the way, assuming they issue the visa, I'll be visiting your fair country for a few months next year -- about 4 months in Melbourne at La Trobe University. I'll likely bring a bike, probably the old Bridgestone MB1 converted to a single speed, to use for transportation and entertainment. I hope you'll tell me that there's some good riding down there. Strangely enough, we'll be leaving the best riding weather of the year (August in Wyoming) to what I understand might be the worst riding weather of the year in Melbourne... Ah well, I guess work has to come first sometime...
    "The plural of anecdote is not data." -- Attributed to various people in a variety of forms, but always worth remembering...

  43. #43
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    For sure August in Melbourne is not the best time of year to be riding there. However I'm sure you can justify a trip up to Sydney or (even better) Queensland for a short break to some warmer climes and better riding!

    I got a new B-17 recently as well and gave it the chop job. It's pretty wide at the back and for off road riding I would find it too wide to get off the back. For getting around town it's just fine. Some of those copping pics look as though they actually chop the corners off the saddle as well, which is something I'm considering.

    The other consideration with changing to a Brooks is that they have much shorter rails than modern saddles which may make it hard to get it far enough back. Mine is as far back as possible on a kalloy layback post but I could do with it further back - anyone got suggestions for a cheap 26.8 post with more setback?

    Sam
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  44. #44
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    Nice cutting...

    If you are still needing more cockpit room with that setup, try a longer handlebar stem.

    I don't think you can get the seat end of things much further back than you already have it...


    R.
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  45. #45
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    not any cheaper but aThomson set back post would help and titec made a big set back post that looked like a bent drain pipe for a while, it was many inches of set back.
    Richmond, VA
    Ra-MORE mtb club

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    Rainy - not really a matter of cockpit room so much as the effectively steeper seat angle is putting more weight on my hands. Going to be a bit of fixed gear switching around this weekend though as I just got myself a 27" wheeled frame which is going to be turned in to a scorcher of sorts. That will get a 700c cross for with cantis and be rear brakeless. I'm hoping that will also slacken the seat tube angle and put the b-17 in a nicer place for me. Pics will come when the projects done....

    Sam

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by Singular
    Rainy - not really a matter of cockpit room so much as the effectively steeper seat angle is putting more weight on my hands. Going to be a bit of fixed gear switching around this weekend though as I just got myself a 27" wheeled frame which is going to be turned in to a scorcher of sorts. That will get a 700c cross for with cantis and be rear brakeless. I'm hoping that will also slacken the seat tube angle and put the b-17 in a nicer place for me. Pics will come when the projects done....

    Sam
    Oh..ok, I understand what you mean now..

    Please post the pics asap..

    R.
    It is inevitable ...

  48. #48

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    Ttt

    Thanks Rainman for starting this thread.

    I used the advice and tips to butcher, but not tie mine. I used a safety razor to cut my new B-17, and then sanded the edges to finish. The whole process took about 20min, and I am really stoaked about the results. I used a pencil to lightly mark a guide line, then cut just shy of the line for a little wiggle room. I then used some 200 grit to finish and the smooth the extra bit around the last rivet.

    I kicked this TTT so maybe some new folks can see.


    Saul Goode
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  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by saul goode
    Thanks Rainman for starting this thread.

    I used the advice and tips to butcher, but not tie mine. I used a safety razor to cut my new B-17, and then sanded the edges to finish. The whole process took about 20min, and I am really stoaked about the results. I used a pencil to lightly mark a guide line, then cut just shy of the line for a little wiggle room. I then used some 200 grit to finish and the smooth the extra bit around the last rivet.

    I kicked this TTT so maybe some new folks can see.


    Saul Goode
    Nice job Saul, it looks great.

    R.
    It is inevitable ...

  50. #50
    Boe
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    I used a "seam bone" or whatever it's called in english and polished the edges after I wet them. With a light hand and Brooks profide you can get mirror like finish on the edges.




  51. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boe
    I used a "seam bone" or whatever it's called in english and polished the edges after I wet them. With a light hand and Brooks profide you can get mirror like finish on the edges.




    your pictures did not come through so I reposted them for you:

    nice job!
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    Richmond, VA
    Ra-MORE mtb club

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