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  1. #1
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    UBI and Yamaguchi

    I have been interested in learning framebuilding for a while now and I am just starting a welding course at my university to at least get my hands on the torch a little bit. I have been looking at attending a framebuilding course with UBI or yamaguchi in the near future. Do any of you have experiences or opinions that would help me choose between the two? It is a lot of money to dish out.

    I do live in CO, so going to Yamaguchi would save me the plane ticket and I am also really liking his small class size (3 max) and his amazing history.

    UBI does offer a discount for buying tools. I do not know how helpfull this is, but I would be planning to gather tools after the course so it may be usefull.

    Thanks for your time.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Nessism's Avatar
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    Stay local and spend the travel money on tools instead.
    Becareful buying/selling bike parts on-line. I learned the hard way. :(

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    Senior Member bellweatherman's Avatar
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    I don't think you could go wrong with either place. Both have good reputations. I agree with Ness. Travel is expensive nowadays, save money and stay local. Yamaguchi is in your backyard practically. If you choose to DIY and learn on your own, there are a lot of successful people that went this route. Granted the learning curve is steeper, but you learn a lot from making mistakes. It's part of the game.

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    Thanks for the input. I haven't decided where to go yet, I am excited for both routes. I have also thought about spending the money on tools and learning myself. I have so many questions though, so i think a frame building course could answer alot of them.

    How did you guys start gethering tools for framebuilding? Did you just have the extra money or was it a slow process? It seems like jigs and other allignment tools are the most expensive. Do people build their own very much?

  5. #5
    Senior Member Nessism's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by G0balistik
    Thanks for the input. I haven't decided where to go yet, I am excited for both routes. I have also thought about spending the money on tools and learning myself. I have so many questions though, so i think a frame building course could answer alot of them.

    How did you guys start gethering tools for framebuilding? Did you just have the extra money or was it a slow process? It seems like jigs and other allignment tools are the most expensive. Do people build their own very much?
    Have you reviewed the archives on the Framebuilders list yet? There are thousands of posts there with the answers to just about any question you could possiably ask.

    I highly recommend you purchase the Paterek Manual regardless of whether you choose to go to a school or not. The manual teaches you how to build a frame without a dedicated frame fixture - minimalist approach so to speak. For the cost of the class you should be able to purchase just about all the tools you are going to need to build frames. http://henryjames.com/patman.html
    Becareful buying/selling bike parts on-line. I learned the hard way. :(

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  6. #6
    Senior Member jacobs's Avatar
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    Yamaguchi actually only does 1 person at a time in his "classes". I don't know why he leaves that line on his site that says 3. Honestly, I say save your money and buy the Paterek manual, but between UBI and Yamaguchi, Yamaguchi wins with no question as far as what you'll get out of the course.

  7. #7
    Senior Member jacobs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nessism
    For the cost of the class you should be able to purchase just about all the tools you are going to need to build frames.
    ]


    You'll be able to get a lot of the basics, but not even close to a full tool set for what a course would cost.

  8. #8
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    Thanks for the responses. I am going to buy the manual for sure. I tried searching the other day, but I think the search function was down because it wasn't returning any hits. I'll try again, but thanks for the responses.
    Last edited by G0balistik; 12-02-06 at 09:52 PM.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Nessism's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jacobs
    ]


    You'll be able to get a lot of the basics, but not even close to a full tool set for what a course would cost.
    The UBI framebuilding class costs $2000. For that much money one could buy: brazing torch, files, bottom bracket and head tube cutting tools, plus there should be enough money left over to come up with some sort of surface plate to check/adjust alignment. Building without a jig is slow, but as long as you take your time and have some way to measure alighment, the frame will come out fine in the end.
    Becareful buying/selling bike parts on-line. I learned the hard way. :(

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  10. #10
    Senior Member bellweatherman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jacobs
    Yamaguchi actually only does 1 person at a time in his "classes". I don't know why he leaves that line on his site that says 3. Honestly, I say save your money and buy the Paterek manual, but between UBI and Yamaguchi, Yamaguchi wins with no question as far as what you'll get out of the course.

    Are you sure about that?! That's crazy! If you can get one-on-one instruction that would be fantastic. That's as good, if not better, than having a real apprenticeship from one of the best. Perhaps, Yamaguchi has his website advertising a max of 3 students because he plans on growing his framebuilding school. Doesn't seem like a person would make much income if he only had 1 student at a time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bellweatherman
    That's as good, if not better, than having a real apprenticeship from one of the best.

    That is another thing that I have been interested in. Do many framebuilders ever take on apprentices? There are a few frameuilders that I really like and would love to apprentice with, but I figured taking a course would give me a better chance at securing an apprenticship.

    So are apprentices common?

  12. #12
    ready for the freakout jitensha!'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bellweatherman
    Doesn't seem like a person would make much income if he only had 1 student at a time.
    I would assume since Yamaguchi's primary business is making frames (not teaching), he doesn't really feel the need to take more than one student at a time...

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    Also, he lives in *****, CO...it is a VERY small mountain town. I would also expect from his experience and histiry that he is not strapped for cash.

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    Senior Member bellweatherman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by G0balistik
    That is another thing that I have been interested in. Do many framebuilders ever take on apprentices? There are a few frameuilders that I really like and would love to apprentice with, but I figured taking a course would give me a better chance at securing an apprenticship.

    So are apprentices common?

    Apprenticeships aren't common these days. That's not to say that you couldn't get one if you tried, but it's really hard to make a living as it is for a framebuilder. The added responsibility of taking on an apprentice is a drain. I've seen people ask before on the framebuilder's list and didn't get anywhere with that. Today, your best bet is to go take a framebuilding course.

    Here's another idea. Like Ness said, you could go ahead and get the Paterak manual right now and try to learn a little on your own. Equipment is expensive, but if you plan on taking a course you probably want to do some frames on your own afterwards. So, why don't you just get an oxyacetylene tank setup and some basic stuff and give it a try? If you find it taking too long to learn everything, you could always speed up the learning curve and take a course.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bellweatherman
    Apprenticeships aren't common these days. That's not to say that you couldn't get one if you tried, but it's really hard to make a living as it is for a framebuilder. The added responsibility of taking on an apprentice is a drain. I've seen people ask before on the framebuilder's list and didn't get anywhere with that. Today, your best bet is to go take a framebuilding course.

    Here's another idea. Like Ness said, you could go ahead and get the Paterak manual right now and try to learn a little on your own. Equipment is expensive, but if you plan on taking a course you probably want to do some frames on your own afterwards. So, why don't you just get an oxyacetylene tank setup and some basic stuff and give it a try? If you find it taking too long to learn everything, you could always speed up the learning curve and take a course.
    That's great advice. If you have a frame or two under your belt already, I think you'd get a lot more out of the course than someone who is doing it all for the first time.

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    That is good advice. I am already ordering the manual and I figured I could read through it and decide whether or not I could try tackling it on my own. I am starting a welding class today my university and its just a basic class that supposed to teach me he fundamentals of MIG, TIG, ARC, and oxy-acetylene welding. I am sure it would make it easier to try it with just the paterek manual, if someone has already tught me the basics of welding.

    I'll let you know how it goes.

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    Is this the type of seup you are talking about? It seem very inexpensive, but I have no frame of reference.

    http://www.northerntool.com/webapp/w...t_6970_565_565

    [edit] scratch that, I have already found much better products and learned about renting tanks for very cheap.
    Last edited by G0balistik; 12-04-06 at 04:34 PM.

  18. #18
    Senior Member jacobs's Avatar
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    Yamaguchi used to do more than 1 at a time, sometimes up to 3, but he told me it was too difficult to work like that (which I can understand, his shop is a tiny shed in his backyard, and he only really has the capability of one person working at a time). ***** is a really small town. I'm a big city guy with no history of depression or mental illness, and I nearly lost my mind, ending up taking 4 busses and a different airline home just so I could leave a few days early. Koichi's wife works full time, as well as his framebuilding, and teaching business they seem to manage.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jacobs
    Yamaguchi used to do more than 1 at a time, sometimes up to 3, but he told me it was too difficult to work like that (which I can understand, his shop is a tiny shed in his backyard, and he only really has the capability of one person working at a time). ***** is a really small town. I'm a big city guy with no history of depression or mental illness, and I nearly lost my mind, ending up taking 4 busses and a different airline home just so I could leave a few days early. Koichi's wife works full time, as well as his framebuilding, and teaching business they seem to manage.
    So would you say it was a negative experience? leaving early sounds harsh, I could understand how easy it would be to be bored up there, but aren't you learning all day and then just exhausted? I was worried that his shop might be a rough environment because I was planning on going in january or februrary, but was worried about heating during the winter.

  20. #20
    Senior Member jacobs's Avatar
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    The workshop/class was fine, but it's only for 8-9 hours a day with a lunch break. I only get 4-5 hours of sleep most nights, and can only read/watch HBo for so long before I start to flip out. That along with the fact that I'd get harassed everywhere I went for not being a (excuse this please) ignorant hick, I needed to get out of there. The western slope of CO isn't a fun place for a city kid with nothing to do.

  21. #21
    delete folders. Beatsalad's Avatar
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    I would definatly recomend UBI. I went there and loved it. you learn so much about frame design and what your actually deciding when choosing geometry. you get to network with a lot of interesting people from all over the country. The teachers are very knowledgable and friendly. I think you could ask anyone who has gone there and they would say the same thing. ashland is an awesome small town with alot of real nice people. and great riding too.
    thats about it... no i could go on for a lot longer.

  22. #22
    Senior Member bellweatherman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jacobs
    The workshop/class was fine, but it's only for 8-9 hours a day with a lunch break. I only get 4-5 hours of sleep most nights, and can only read/watch HBo for so long before I start to flip out. That along with the fact that I'd get harassed everywhere I went for not being a (excuse this please) ignorant hick, I needed to get out of there. The western slope of CO isn't a fun place for a city kid with nothing to do.

    Jacobs, isn't this a good thing? I mean you had basically personal 1on1 attention with no other students and learning from the best, learning at 8+ hours a day! No wonder Yamaguchi's website's question/answer page says to bring some comfortable shoes! You'll be tired, but at least you get your money's worth! Was your experience at Yamaguichi good or bad? I can't really tell since you say that you left early. Was it because of the class itself or because you just couldn't hang in a little podunk town in the remote wilderness?

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    I hope to take Yamaguchi's frame building course this summer or next, and this information has me even more excited. Frankly, the idea of being stuck in the woods with nothing to do but learn about bikes and read for two weeks sounds fantastic. We'll see if I can swing it though.
    trued 'till death

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    I am still on the fence about whether to buy tools and try it for myself, or go to yamaguchi. I have decided I would probably like the yamaguchi experience better, but I think I could also get more out of it if I had some experience. I am part way through a welding class at my university, and its mo fukkin sweet. I really like it.

  25. #25
    Senior Member jacobs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bellweatherman
    Jacobs, isn't this a good thing? I mean you had basically personal 1on1 attention with no other students and learning from the best, learning at 8+ hours a day! No wonder Yamaguchi's website's question/answer page says to bring some comfortable shoes! You'll be tired, but at least you get your money's worth! Was your experience at Yamaguichi good or bad? I can't really tell since you say that you left early. Was it because of the class itself or because you just couldn't hang in a little podunk town in the remote wilderness?
    I just couldn't hang in a little podunk town in the remote wilderness.

    But it's not really the "remote" wilderness. If I had a car, or even a bike while I was there, I might have been able to see some beautiful countryside, but since I didn't, there's only so far you can walk. I'd walk the couple of miles down the highway to the crappy supermarket and liquor store, or the longer trek to the Super Walmart and Starbucks. That was about it. Except for the pawnshops. Lots of those, and most of 'em sold assault *****s and grenade launchers (seriously). I stayed at the Winchester motel. There was a 40 foot ***** on the roof.

    It's amazing to be able to look up an see the mountains all around you, but it's not like they're in your backyard, you need some way to get out of ***** and get to them, and I unfortunately did not have that. I also wouldn't suggest lurking around in the woods after dark (you'll be working in the daylight hours), as it's one of the top hunting destinations in the country. I was lucky enough to go during bow&arrow season, definately would not have wanted to go there during ***** season.

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