BUILDING a cycling future.

21 Mar

Greetings all!

As many of you know I have been at a frame building class the last week. The following is a brief synopsis of my time here so far.

The frame building class started Monday the 14th and we have been working 13-15 hour days consistently until last night at sundown. It is structured with a class style atmosphere in the morning with Doug lecturing on History, Theory & How things are to be done. The afternoons begin with demonstrations and then we get to work. Thus far it has been an amazing experience. My fellow classmates are excellent in asking important clarifying questions and they are a real asset to the learning process as we all think of different things to ask at different times. Bob is from Michigan and is building a bike for loaded touring. Bud is from Vermont and is building a Sport Touring bike.

We started learning a quick history of frame building & moved right into our bike fit. Doug has a Fit Bike here that we used to transfer our current bicycle fit to and then we would adjust from there taking into account the type of frame we are building. Since I am building a commuting bicycle it needs to be much more upright & comfortable than something I would race on etc… After we reach the appropriate fit we transfer those measurements to a special fixture on an alignment table and begin the building process.

Lugs were the first items on our agenda and as a custom frame builder one needs to file these pieces to, not only be be aesthetically pleasing but also, accurately fit the selected tubes for the bike build. We also have to miter the bicycle’s tubing to fit together and the goal is to be within .003″ accurate. That is a tough tolerance to hit but that is where the best joint can be made and, during brazing, the filler metal will flow best (Brazing is basically soldering at a higher temperature — this is a simplification but it is similar in the mechanics of the process, but the technique is different).

The last thing we were working on was brazing technique and building the fork. Now I realize some of the things I did wrong in my own garage with a torch and some fake joints (Doug would have been unimpressed I think). Learning from a master builder helps the learning curve drastically! My first practice braze went okay but I was very nervous. The second was much better and I kept both joints as mementos. My third braze was joining the steerer tube to the for crown — the first part I have built for the bike!

This experience has exceeded my expectations and I am becoming more enthusiastic as we progress. I am excited for tomorrow so we can get back to it.

Here is a video promo of the Frame building school I am attending.

I hope everyone is doing well and I will send a link to some photos when I get them uploaded.

Joel

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