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Custom wood bike stem caps add style to your ride 

click to enlarge NATE ANDROMEDA
  • Nate Andromeda
While some people are perfectly happy to ride a bike as-is from the manufacturer, a significant subset of the cycling population prefers to modify their rides with all sorts of unique features like intricate paint jobs and specialized grips, plus dozens of other small touches that turn their bikes into personalized two-wheeled wonders.

That’s where Nathan Andromeda enters the scene. He’s a woodworker and cycling enthusiast who’s been creating custom wooden stem caps for those riders who demand that their bikes be anything but average.

Custom stem caps aren’t a new thing — many websites sell cool laser-etched caps, and some even allow for uploading your own art or image which they’ll transfer for you — but painstakingly carving them from blocks of hardwood on a wood lathe certainly might be. Andromeda creates his stem caps from hardwoods such as Osage orange, rosewood and dogwood, turning tiny flaws like knots or grain aberrations into beautiful points of interest. This, combined with his method of nurturing the natural color of the wood, creates caps as distinct and individualized as a fingerprint. One of his favorite pieces to date is a cap he gave to his girlfriend as a gift. It’s made of maple and burned with the imprint of a cassette cog.

“I love carpentry and woodworking. It’s been great to be able to combine that with my love of bikes,” he says, noting he’s never been able to find his type of caps — which cost $15 each — anywhere else, not even in the vast universe that is the World Wide Web.

But they aren’t the only project on Andromeda’s lathe — rings, bowls and random items like honey dippers, ice cream scoop handles and manual-transmission gear shift covers are just some of the items viewable on his Andromeda Wood Works Instagram page — but the caps are certainly the most popular. In the last year, he’s attracted customers close to home and as far away as the United Kingdom.

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