Let’s get this out of the way first:
Moots does not dress their welds.
There is no painting, no filling, no filing, no sanding, no flapper wheels. The welds are what they are, and they pass from the welder’s hands to the buyer, as-is. They get blasted with the rest of the frame, but let me tell you–there is no change in the welds that comes from blasting. They’re perfect when they’re welded.
They start with impossibly tight tolerances in the joints to be welded…
Insert the parts into a jig, cork/tape the orifices, and fill the yet-to-be-welded frame with inert Argon…
And then they tack weld the frame together, to hold all of the parts in place perfectly. Before being tacked, all of the designed angles of the frame are carefully measured and confirmed one last time.
Here’s a sample tack weld.
Tacked frames are hung, awaiting final welding.
The tacked frames are then moved over to a second welder who again purges the frame with Argon (purging the inside of the frame keeps the welds pure…the outside of the weld is purged with flowing argon from the TIG torch while the welder is welding), and that welder finishes welding every joint up with a complete weld.
The finish welds are done in perfect segments of uninterrupted, stacked dime welds. This shows you what a finished weld looks like before Moots’ signature blasting:
There are 2 gents who do the finish welding, and a handful of people who do small parts or the tack-welding.
What do the finished welds look like? They look like perfection. The funny thing is, I don’t have to post a bunch of pictures of them here…because every Moots has finished welds that look amazing. Since they don’t even offer any factory painting options (and it would be sacrilege to paint one of these frames), every frame that leaves the factory shows the welding legacy of the company.
I’m a hobbyist welder. Give me some clean steel, and I can MIG you up something that will look nice, after a pass with a flapper wheel. Give me some rusty steel, and I can 6013 you together some welds that are ugly, but will hold. I’ve never seen a human do welds of this consistent quality, up close and in person. It’s amazing.
After welding and before finishing, each frame is put on a test-table, and is checked with a dial indicator and micrometer for any degree (or should I say any thousandth of an inch) of bend, asymmetry or imperfection.
Suffice it to say, there really isn’t any.
I have a Ti Vaya, which anyone who reads this blog regularly knows I love. It was one of the ‘made in the USA’ Ti frames from before Salsa shipped production overseas. The welds aren’t even in the same ballpark (and, based upon their appearance, I’m guessing they were hit with a flapper wheel before finishing). The Moots welds are truly spectacular…and you can see them on every frame that goes out the factory’s doors.
Seeing the welding occur firsthand, by itself, was worth the trip.
The whole Moots Series: