There is always a BS factor involved with tubing, but 953 when intitially introduced was only provided to certified builders, and earliest of all to major names. Obviously anyone could learn to work it, but it is a top of the line product, and it isn't where one starts. What is more there probably won't be much difference in the end result than when using other tubings, if the product is properly represented. There is a lot more to the value proposition of custom frames than the tubing.
I wouldn't go nuts if making someone a free frame, people tend to value the frame in proportion to what they paid for it, so whether one should go overboard on such a product... Not to mention some people have said one shouldn't gift or sell any of one's first 30 frames.
On the other hand, a frame with real value built into it will be treasured if the person is at all deserving. For instance, look at the mixed build up top. would have made a statement even without a tubing decal.
I think your chance of finding a non-frame builder to braze up tubing is pretty near zero. Frame builders could stand to learn stuff from machinists, or general welding gods, etc... but the reverse is also true. Most guys who braze in machine shops do stuff like cast iron repair, etc... They might be good candidates for being quick learners, but it won't be cheap or really possible. The more high tech the tubing the more the required skill level, and or fixturing, and post braze frame machining. The tools for remachining the frame are as expensive as a custom frame. There are workarounds to some extent, if you have a year or two to figure them out. There aren't work around for high end road bikes.
Everyone starts somewhere, no reason it can't be you, but your current approach requires some refining, and is full of all the newbie traps. You can't reasonably be even the general contractor for a frame project with what you know at this point. While the Paternek approach is a bit offside, I would review his online version of his book to raise the bar of your current knowledge. He tends to overcomplicate, and his book isn't current, but it's a start. Making steel bikes is a llittle like teaching an elephant to dance: Really pushing the available materials. What is in some ways an easy fabrication job, not unlike plumbing with copper, has inescapable series of complications and expences at nearly every stage. You can make a 50 foot yacht with a smaller tool kit!
Last edited by NoReg; 09-29-10 at 02:13 PM.