Restoration of an Olympia Cremina - Page 3

Equipment doesn't work? Troubleshooting? If you're handy, members can help.
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KarlSchneider

#21: Post by KarlSchneider »

srobinson wrote:
The Japanese have a great word that mortals use when dealing with true artisans and it is a phrase that I have used many times at great sushi bars and that is Okamase which roughly translated means: to leave yourself to the hands of the master....So I did that with Les.

I feel that his suggestion will push this build completely over the top. We will be going with Desert Ironwood handles with an inlay of Amboyna Burl.

In staying with the rarity of this machine, the wood will match perfectly. .
Steve,

I suggest that the idea of Okamase applies to you as well as to Les. I think your choice of wooden handles et. al. is indeed a perfect match. You mention a conceptual match in rarity between Ironwood and an Olympia. I see an additional match. I was lucky enough to get a tamper for my Elektra made out of Ambonya Burl from Les. While it certainly is gorgeous to look at what I find in daily use is that at least as important is the feel in my hand of the wood itself. One of the many things that I find i prefer about my Elektra over the Giotto I had is the feel of the tool itself while I use it. One can, as you well know, feel the water filling the grouphead during the pull. I imagine that there is more of this hand feel in using a non-spring lever machine like your Pavoni or (soon!) your Cremina. It is not just a tactile pleasure preference for the feel of wood over plastic or metal. The shape of the tamper I have fits my hand better than any of my previous tampers.

Based on this experience with using my Thor Tamper I have also talked with Les and decided to order lever and pf handles for my Elektra made out of Bois de Rose from Madagascar -- recommended by Les.
LMWDP # 008

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KarlSchneider

#22: Post by KarlSchneider »

Paul L wrote:Hi everybody, this is my 'hello' thread so forgive me if it looks like hijacking.


Anyhow, I just wanted to say Steve how enjoyable the thread is. I don't know that I will ever move to a Cremina but who knows. You received a bit of negative comment earlier in the thread about it being technical and not taste oriented but actually it's what makes this tick for me. A real look behind the shiny front that is not usually seen.
Hi Paul,

Glad you joined the discussion in this special little place inside HB. Your point about negative comments tells me how badly I said what I was thinking. I am like you immensely enjoying this thread. I come here first when I have time. I am in awe of Steve for doing this. I would never dream of doing the same. In high school I did take apart a lawn mower engine -- "to see how it works." I now know much better how gas engines work but that one never ran again. In my late 20's I did in fact take apart, repair and re-assemble a Seth Thomas 8-day time, strike and alarm clock movement and it is at this moment ticking in the room where I now am sitting. But, now I cannot imagine Steve's project for me. And I do like learning how one of these machines does work.

I admit to being impatient about wanting to know what the espresso tastes like from a Cremina. In the end, for me the taste is the defining element.

What I was actually trying to talk about was the wonderful complexity of the sensuous experience of taste. But, taste is an experience that is confusing to many. When confused we often turn to things that are more easily graspable. Technological things have this graspability factor and technology can lead us away from the experience of taste as well as profoundly contribute to that experience. Nature makes green coffee beans but it takes a human-made tool like a Cremina to make espresso.

What Steve has told us so far is that the Cremina is a wonderfully well-made tool. I trust his ability to taste. I admire his mechanical skills.
LMWDP # 008

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srobinson (original poster)

#23: Post by srobinson (original poster) »

I wanted to thank everyone for the positive responses from my last post. I think working with Les at Thor Tampers will give the machine a unique look. I did get some private messages on the type of wood has chosen and Les sent me over a picture of the raw stock that he would be using for my work:

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As a preview for the coming week, I will be posting the rebuilding of the boiler which will include the main gasket, water level tube and the pressure release gaskets. I am also hoping to show you the frame and cover back from the powder coater. Les has agreed to share some pictures of his woodworking and I am hoping to get some shots from Metro Plating on the chrome work if possible.

I seem to have almost all of the parts currently out to the trades now, but will try and keep the momentum going.
Steve Robinson

LMWDP #001

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srobinson (original poster)

#24: Post by srobinson (original poster) »

Since I am traveling this week, I get to keep this thread away from the metal parts and instead give you some more views of the work that Les is doing with the wood as he creates my handles and tamper. In the prior post you got a look at the actual tree segment that Les is working with and the one that he cut the blank from for the tamper. This is a piece of Desert Ironwood that was harvested over 75 years ago and Les let me know that it was one of the more expensive pieces he has been lucky enough to pick up. These pics will start to reveal its mysteries. I would also suggest that if the pics tempt you, you may want to get your order in since when a unique piece of stock like this is gone, it is gone.

The first step in turning the tamper is to cut out a base turning block. For tampers, he starts with a square piece 4"x2.5"x2.5".

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From this block, Les starts shaping the blank where were start to see the grain of this beautiful wood start to show. At this point the blank is still about 10MM greater than its final dimensions. Les' chip vac is made in Taiwan, all of his work is 100% done in Oregon. ;)

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When you consider a wooden tamper one of the concerns that I have heard is the weight. Will it be heavy enough? What Les has development is the Thor Hammer, where he will center drill the piece and fill it with bismuth, a metal alloy, which will give it the same weight as a Reg Barber tamper.

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Now this is not mass production. At this point Les said that he will be letting the rough tamper rest for three days as it recovers from its elective surgery. Final construction will be over the upcoming weekend.

As I finish this post, I do have one metal related bit of news. I am really getting impressed with the power of HB and the wide audience that reads these posts. I called this week to check on my chrome-work up at Metro Plating in Maryland and Steve said that they had been reading my post. He also questioned where the front panels were in the order I had sent them and we discussed that they were Stainless and would not be chromed. He had read that I was having some issues over some of the hairline swirl in the metal and told me to get those parts up to him immediately so that he could work on them with his high speed buffer that they use for Stainless Steel polishing. So while I am extremely proud of my hand polishing, one cannot turn down the opportunity for a mirror finish that his machines can turn out. So off they went. I can now see how car restorations get out of hand so quickly....but as I keep repeating to myself...you only do this once...yeah right.
Steve Robinson

LMWDP #001

Rockygag

#25: Post by Rockygag »

My Oly is in horrible shape externally,

Internally who knows, but I have no leaks.

for the fearful, can you give some idea of costs without shocking your SO?

Dave

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srobinson (original poster)

#26: Post by srobinson (original poster) »

One of the mantras that I use with my old car hobby is to never add up your receipts, but I will give you some ranges.

Paint: you have two choices here. Either paint or powdercoat. For either I would suggest sand or media blasting the metal. If you don't have a booth then this runs about $50 an hour just to get the old paint off. Any metal work or rust work will be extra on top of that. Paint can by done cheaply with a rattlecan or have a pro spray it. Powdercoat would have to be done by a pro unless you have your own oven. So painting/powdercoat would run from $5-$150.

Chrome for chrome work you have to factor in chrome removal, scratch repair, rebuffing, rechrome and then final buffing. Depending on the shop I would put rechroming all the metal on an Olympia in a range of $130-200+.

Gaskets will run you about 90, random parts on top of that and then your call on stainless steel polishing, the wood handles, semi-precious jewel inlay and flaming insignia. All of these steps add up fast. What you run into like with car restoration is that you can find yourself on a slippery slope pretty quickly and have more in the machine than it is actually worth.

Thus another mantra from the car hobby world...always buy someone's finished project.
Steve Robinson

LMWDP #001

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srobinson (original poster)

#27: Post by srobinson (original poster) »

It is great to finally get some parts coming back in. As you saw in some of my first posts that the case of my Olympia came in smashed, bent and rusted. While I never thought that I would be taking body hammers to an espresso machine that many consider a work of art, a man has to do what a man has to do. Well those of you that follow this thread, know that I left the final work on my case in the credible hands of Triangle Coatings, and they called me today to come pick up them up.

Dan happened to be available and we got the grand tour of the facility including the paint booth, powder booth and an oven large enough to drive a car into. There sitting on a table of bright orange rubble sensors were my pieces. Now Dan was bitching a bit about the color I chose, but I wanted a very classy piece. He said the original was more subtle, I could have gone with a matt finish to hide finger prints, but piano gloss black is what I wanted and baby, that is what I got....(sorry about the piano in the shot, trying to class up the place and wanted a compare point)

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Now some of my more regular shots.

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A rear shot showing a sneak peak of a more complete machine:

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And finally go back and look at that rusty bottom plate..sorry for the fingerprints.

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Now I have the itch to get it all together. Now things are going to slow down a bit on the post since I am waiting for the brightwork and the fact that I am heading off to India and Europe for a two week business trip. Hopefully Les will send me a few pics to show the work on the handles and I will try to snap a few shots of gasket work to hold everyone until I get back.
Steve Robinson

LMWDP #001

GreatDane

#28: Post by GreatDane »

Steve,
The Desert Ironwood is going to look great with the frame and chrome! I am looking forward to seeing this whole project done! It is fun being a part of the process. I need to post some pictures of my lever machine. I have an odd-ball Sama. It takes a 45mm tamper and when used within it's design it makes really great shots.

Les

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espressoperson

#29: Post by espressoperson »

srobinson wrote:Les does outstanding work as can be seen in some of the other threads in this forum and he really tempted me with this recent set that he had just finished for an Olympia owner:

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This set is in New Guinea ebony...
Wow! My Olympia Cremina has more of a life than I do! I just discovered this forum a couple of days ago; turns out my Cremina has been here for a few weeks! I thought it was flashing me a sly smile last week; now I know why.

The picture doesn't even do justice to the true look - let alone the feel - of the wood. STRIPED New Guinea Ebony to be precise. The camera flash washes out the subtleties and makes each piece look a different color. It is so rich looking in person.

Glad to hear you are dealing with the master for your parts. You can't go wrong with a Thor Tamper and all the other wooden parts to go with it. I'm constantly tempted to put in an order for a backup set in another kind of wood. Perhaps one of these days...



MichaelB

ladalet

#30: Post by ladalet »

Michael, just to clarify that I am not misunderstanding. The picture of the Cremina with the wood mods by Thor is actually a picture of your personal machine??? You are the Olympia owner that Thor just finished the work for referred to in Steve's thread??? If this is indeed so, what an amazing coincidence. If it is really your machine, could you please share how much the wood parts cost so the rest of us can start saving now?

Thanks in advance,
Lance
Lance Goffinet
LMWDP #019