Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Niles, Michigan
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This isnít the place to give too many specifics about what we sell. PM me to get my email address and I will send you lots of information. I am traveling back to the States today and tomorrow so I wonít have internet access much if at all while I am in route. What I can say is that there are quite few that donít have the time or money to take either a 2 or 3-week course. I recognize that 2 weeks is often the limit of what one might have to spare. Even then a person doesnít learn all they need to know. It just gets them started properly in the time available. There are some that can spend an extra week and that allows for learning more details. For those that canít afford either $1800 or $2300 for the longer classes, I also offer a 3-day class for $500, which covers the basics of silver, and brass brazing and frame design. Since personal instruction in how-to-braze is the most important skill a teacher can give, this at least is a big improvement over those trying to figure it out by trial and error. Iíve seen some really decent results from even that short of a time. Of course not everyone has the ability to braze well just like some canít sing on tune.
You indicated that your son-in-law wanted to learn framebuilding as a trade. That requires a different amount of training and equipment than someone that just wants to build something for himself and maybe a buddy or two after work and can take his time with hand tools. In order to make money the father of your future grandchildren has to produce a reasonable product within a certain amount of time. And he has to convince others he knows what he is doing so they will buy from him. This is why a pro builder has fixtures and machine equipment to make things more accurately more quickly. If he takes too long he loses money. Iíve actually had some students make as nice a frame in class as some Iíve seen at NAHBS. The difference is that it took them 120 hours of work to make it that well (and with the help of my very nice equipment). I figure it takes me about 1/3rd the time to do a task as a beginning student. He should also consider that at least 1/2 his time will be spent in making the business run and not making frames.
Another problem for someone wanting to be a pro is that poorly made stuff he did in the beginning (when he was trying to figure things out) can hang around a long time to embarrass his reputation later on. Even if he fixes something right away for free the owner of the frame can still say years later ďI had one of his frames once and it brokeĒ. A poor start can be really expensive.
What equipment a person needs to start a trade is a matter of debate. I have a list I give students that falls into 3 categories. Essential, when I can get the money and if all my dreams comes true. In round figures I say a person would want to spend at least $5000 to get started properly and $10000 would be better. This can be reduced if one has the time to wait for deals in the classifieds or eBay.
Of course if these requirements are beyond the guy that married your daughter, he can do what many do and enjoy framebuilding as a hobby. He can take his time with simple tools and ask questions online.