I just posted something similar in the Classics/Vintage thread but here's my situation.
I live in Chicago and I want to rip my hair out from trying to find the bike that I want. The market is so competitive that unless you are neighbors with someone, there's no way to jump on a deal quick enough and I'm car - free in the city.
I'm sick of it and I'm considering doing my own 'build'. I want to get is a nice steel frame that I can strip and do raw with a clearcoat. I can do that myself. The problem I run into is I don't have the tools nor knowledge to do the rest of the build. I may consider a single speed since I live in flat Chicago but I figure if I take my bike outside of the city I might want gears depending on where I'm at. Plus I have another little beater commuter that I can make into a single speed if I want.
I have just emailed a bike mechanic to see what he would charge for the build up. But beyond that - how much do you think I could reasonably end up dumping into this bike before it's finished? I don't need the best of the best and I don't mind getting used parts at all.
Just trying to get thoughts an ideas. Thanks for any input. I realize I may be over my head but I'll be dammed if I spend $275 - $300 on the Schwinn Varsity's that are advertised regularly in Craigslist. I'll spend that $300 on building something I REALLY want. Is that feasible/possible?