I am interested in getting in to the frame building industry and Im wondering what the typical builder would look for in a possible apprentice. Im looking for opinions mainly from current builders, but anyone that has some good ideas is welcome to chime in.
I am a rather handy TIG welder, but do not have any brazing exp. I would rather learn the art of lug steel brazing, so im not sure if my lack of exp would be a problem. I am very confident in a machine shop and have around 5 year exp in such an atmosphere. I have been heavily involved in building/welding cromo racecar chassis of very small wall thickness, so I am pretty aware of frame set up and tube prep, albeit not for bikes. I will also be graduating with a degree in engineering in the spring.
Bruce Gordon BLT, Cannondale parts bike, Ecodyne recumbent trike, Counterpoint Opus 2, miyata 1000
Try whipping up a suitable resume, send it to everyone on the list near the top of this thread except Bruce Gordon (he isn't hiring). With feedback re-do it and send it to the few larger companies still in the USA. See if your advisor in school will let you build some bikes or HPVs for academic credit and write off the costs. It is like asking a cabbie in NYC how to get to Carnegie Hall, "Practice!"
Sounds like you are overqualified! This isn't the kind of business were people hire engineers! I guess you need to look to see what is available localy. If you want to move, there is always Bike Friday, they seem to go through a lot of builders. With a background in engineering and welding I'd build chopper frames, more money.