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Elaborate lug cutting tutorials?

Old 02-06-16, 02:51 PM
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Elaborate lug cutting tutorials?

Do any exist? I'm looking to start cutting lugs into the super fancy ones that I see from time to time to hopefully use on a build in the far future.
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Old 02-06-16, 03:26 PM
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While not exactly a "how to" tutorial, this YouTube video clip shows a lug being cut at Oswald Cycle Works. It's also called "custom lug carving", so you may get some additional search hits by using that term as well as lug cutting.

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Old 02-06-16, 03:41 PM
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Thanks!
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Old 02-06-16, 07:10 PM
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My few carvings were made much easier with the purchase of a jeweler's saw and get the blades by the gross as you'll break a bunch with each cut out. Andy.
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Old 02-06-16, 07:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Andrew R Stewart View Post
My few carvings were made much easier with the purchase of a jeweler's saw and get the blades by the gross as you'll break a bunch with each cut out. Andy.
Thanks!

Can I buy cheap headtube to top tube lugs by the dozen to practice on? I'm assuming ill probably screw up a handful, plus I also want to practice brazing them together to scrap tubing w/o spending a fortune on lugs.
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Old 02-06-16, 08:11 PM
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Originally Posted by FatBaldMen View Post
Thanks!

Can I buy cheap headtube to top tube lugs by the dozen to practice on? I'm assuming ill probably screw up a handful, plus I also want to practice brazing them together to scrap tubing w/o spending a fortune on lugs.
Most framebuilder supply houses like Nova and Ceeway sell lugs by the set (HT to TT, HT to DT, and TT to ST). Henry James sells individual HT to TT lugs, but they're not cheap at $30 - $40 each.

Nova sells 3 lug sets (stamped, not investment cast) for $23.95.

NOVA LUG OS ROAD LUG SET
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Old 02-06-16, 10:41 PM
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Originally Posted by FatBaldMen View Post
Thanks!

Can I buy cheap headtube to top tube lugs by the dozen to practice on? I'm assuming ill probably screw up a handful, plus I also want to practice brazing them together to scrap tubing w/o spending a fortune on lugs.
I would suggest practicing with tubes then lugs. Much like practice brazing is often done. Get some tubing in (as example) 1.125"x .035 and some 1.25"x.058. The .058 walled tube will slide over the smaller diameter tube with about the right clearance for flow brazing. Cut a length of larger diameter, carve whatever you want and slide over the smaller and braze away. Far cheaper then using lugs.

When you're ready to move on consider lug blanks. Contact Doug Fattic and see if he still has the Nikko blanks he has stocked. Andy.
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Old 02-07-16, 03:27 AM
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^ & ^^ . . . Thanks, the 2 diff sized tubing makes alot of sense & something I hadn't thought about.
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Old 02-07-16, 10:25 AM
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How to cut lugs

FatBaldMan, I have a complete written tutorial on how to cut out designs on blank lugs. I can send it to you by email. It is 4 or 5 pages long and includes what tools i prefer and where you can buy them. Many of my framebuilding students have made frames with lugs they have cut out in class. Some of them were pretty elaborate. You can find pictures of a few of them in this subject thread on Paceline here: Paceline subject thread on framebuilding classes

Several years ago I also started a subject thread on Velocipede Salon about how to cut blank lugs. My motive wasnít pure because my explanations were designed to sell Nikko blank lugs as a fundraiser for our Ukraine Bicycle Project. The cost is $90 for a set of 3. Donít complain about the price because all the money goes to making bicycles in Ukraine for pastors that live in the danger zones in the eastern part of the country near the Russian border where walking and bicycling is the only way to travel on roads. Motorized vehicles arenít allowed unless they are military. These lugs are bulge formed so they have no seams like traditional stamped lugs. Nikko used to make the lugs Trek used on their early frames. Here is the link to that subject thread on VS: VS subject thread on lug cutting

Just last week they made lurking on VS more complicated. You now have to sign up to even see that the new retitled section on framebuilding even exists. It is invisible until you sign in. My latest instruction sheet has revisions over what I wrote there.

Here is a quick overview of the procedure:
1. A rough sketch is drawn onto the lugs to get an approximate idea of what might work.
2. Refine the drawings on twice actual size lug templates. This makes it much easier to draw accurately. There are 6 separate patterns for 3 lugs one for each socket. These templates are like miter templates that unroll the tube shape into a flat pattern. They have a graph pattern to help position drawing details. I can supply these in PDF form. They are designed to fit the Nikko lugs.
3. Copy the drawings on the big template back to actual size on regular, vellum or some kind of sticky backed paper or film. This is what will be placed on the lug.
4. Cut out the lug template that contains the design (just like cutting out a miter template).
5. Centerlines are drawn or scratched onto the lugs to establish where the design is placed.
6. Glue the paper or film template to the lug using the centerlines as position guides.
7. Round or semi-round shapes and saw blade access holes are drilled out.
8. A jewelerís saw cuts close to the lines and Swiss needle files (primarily) are used to file to the line. This is done in stages from the outside in.
9. Remove the pattern paper and continue filing to keep refining the shape.

A couple of key points about drawing the design and cutting lugs for the 1st time. I use circle, oval and other drawing templates bought at art supply stores to aid in creating my design. Because you are cutting near the line but not on the line and then filing to the line that means you donít have to cut perfectly. Filing is a slow process so you can ease into it without worrying you will go beyond the line.

Some kind of lug vise makes working on lugs a lot easier.

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Old 02-07-16, 12:52 PM
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Correcting Doug's links:

Paceline: Paceline subject thread on framebuilding classes

Velocipede Salon: VS subject thread on lug cutting
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Old 02-07-16, 12:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Doug Fattic View Post
FatBaldMan, I have a complete written tutorial on how to cut out designs on blank lugs. I can send it to you by email. It is 4 or 5 pages long and includes what tools i prefer and where you can buy them.
Doug, would you please email me a copy of your tutorial? I believe you have my email address.

Thanks!
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Old 02-07-16, 01:03 PM
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I was hoping Doug would chime in. Andy.
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Old 02-07-16, 02:44 PM
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Doug,

I would absolutely like to have that tutorial & when the time comes (probably not for many months) I will gladly purchase lugs from you to benefit pastors in Ukraine.

Not certain if the tutorial your providing is free, if it is, I'd like to make a donation towards your organization, ill pm you my email address.

Thanks for chiming in & if I didn't work full-time plus 10-15 hrs a week I would love to attend your class but life's currently in the way, quick question . . . Will the very elaborate lug in your pictures support a 200 lb person or should I stay away from removing that much material to avoid failure?

Thanks again,
Lou

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Old 02-07-16, 05:04 PM
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Lou, I just sent you 3 documents by email. The 1[SUP]st[/SUP] is an introduction to lug cutting, the 2[SUP]nd[/SUP] are instructions and the 3[SUP]rd[/SUP] is a reference for tools and suppliers and helpful links. I don’t charge for them. You might want to read them first before sending me a donation for our Ukraine Bicycle Project .

Yes cut lugs can support significant weight without worries. In England they used to advertise fancy lugs were less likely to break because their greater shoreline length reduced lug edge stress. In reality their purpose was to make frames prettier but that might seem less manly than some logical reason based on physics.

You probably know this but Hetchins is the most famous of the British builders that made frames with fancy lugs. Many other builders from the UK did as well like W.B. Hurlow. I’ve got some of their frames hanging up in my shop to inspire students.
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Old 02-08-16, 09:45 AM
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Blank lug supplies have been pretty sparse for years after European stamped and welded lug manufacturers died out in the 70’s. The Haden company in England used to make a set until they went out of business about 15 years ago. I was lucky that Ellis Briggs (where I apprenticed in Yorkshire, England) had a number of blank sets they gave me when I left in the 70’s.

The Nikko company from Japan just happened to be at a industrial trade show in Chicago because their bulge forming process can be used in many industrial applications. I asked them if they still did lugs and they said no but still had the tooling. Eventually they agreed to make me blank lugs in standard and oversize sizes and also some spearpoint lugs similar to old Cinelli lugs. I liked to use Cinelli lugs because they had a little more real estate on the lugs to do cut outs. I often liked to put the owner’s initial in the down tube lug. That gave a bit of distinction without being over the top. Nikko lugs are easier to alter angles than investment cast lugs.

Because of limited blank lug supplies, most modern builders use a “bilaminate” method of making a fancy lug. This is when the tubing Andy already mentioned is brazed together to make a lug. Claud Butler was famous for making his frames that way in England after WWII. Since .058” walls are pretty thick it really helps to have a machinist thin them down on a lathe to around .040”. The advantage of this bilam method is that there are no restrictions on angles. However fillet brazing a sleeve over a tube is more challenging than many less experienced builders can do well.
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Old 02-08-16, 12:12 PM
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Here's a photo of the head tube of a Curt Goodrich frame using bilaminate construction.

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Old 02-08-16, 01:03 PM
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Another method of creating lug carvings is to make your lugs first. I explained how to make practice sleeves earlier. Making two sleeves whose IDs match your frame tubes' and are then held at your joint angle as you weld/braze the sleeves together results in a "lug blank" of sorts. A lot of carving and grinding later you have a lug. If you wanted thinner walls of the 'lug" either after creation filing or turning down the sleeve blanks on your lathe before. Andy.
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Old 02-10-16, 03:11 PM
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Originally Posted by FatBaldMen View Post
Thanks!

Can I buy cheap headtube to top tube lugs by the dozen to practice on? I'm assuming ill probably screw up a handful, plus I also want to practice brazing them together to scrap tubing w/o spending a fortune on lugs.
Taking Andy's suggestion:

"I would suggest practicing with tubes then lugs. Much like practice brazing is often done. Get some tubing in (as example) 1.125"x .035 and some 1.25"x.058. The .058 walled tube will slide over the smaller diameter tube with about the right clearance for flow brazing. Cut a length of larger diameter, carve whatever you want and slide over the smaller and braze away. Far cheaper then using lugs. "

You can then check your brazing, by taking the brazed sleeve, and cutting it into slices (core samples), like salami, and checking that there is braze material all the way through.
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Old 02-10-16, 07:50 PM
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Y'all are dropping so much knowledge I can't even begin to comprehend yet but hope to have my mind wrapped around it by this time next year, already have a couple nice bikes which are hand built w/ lugs so I'm not in any super rush but am looking fwd to when I can chime in & help someone new w/ the info I've learned thru here & earned thru trial & error.

Thanks!!
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Old 02-14-16, 04:50 PM
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Here are some pictures of cut lugs done in my class for Lou's inspiration. None of these students had prior experience using a jeweler's saw. Because cutting and filing is a slow process, one can do a good job on their 1st try. The biggest challenge is breaking saw blades because it is easy to not hold the saw in line with the cut. That is why saw blades are sold by the gross. After awhile a student can go a long time without breaking a blade.

The hardest part of cutting lugs is creating a good design. All of these students caught on that a design can not be too complex or small and that windows really help. You will notice that the design of the lugs in the 1st picture are not symmetrical. What is on the right side of the down tube lug is repeated on the left side of the top tube lug. Very clever. The lugs in the center picture are inspired by the Trillium plant. These are the Nikko lugs.
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Old 05-29-17, 10:53 PM
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That must have been your star student! I am trying to cut small eyelets out of .120 stainless steel plate to solder into some 1/4" 304 stainless tube for a light handlebar bag support. I am using 2/0 Pike (Swiss made) blades and the going is very very slow. I'm about ready to grab the Dremel with a cutoff wheel and a grinder to make these the way my Neanderthal ancestors would have. I think the pitch of the teeth on these blades is too fine. The plate is thicker than the most lugs. Am I using the right tool or blade for this application? Thanks
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Old 05-30-17, 05:55 AM
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there are stainlesses that have poor machinability. I have some I bought for rack tabs that is really difficult to cut with a hacksaw. Blade just skates. I think the rule of thumb is that you want multiple teeth in the material at the same time. If you can do the work with a dremel, that's the way to go.
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Old 05-30-17, 06:18 AM
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For lugs, Torch and File also has carving lug blanks.

https://framebuildersupply.com/collections/lugs
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Old 05-30-17, 07:35 AM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
there are stainlesses that have poor machinability... Blade just skates. I think the rule of thumb is that you want multiple teeth in the material at the same time. If you can do the work with a dremel, that's the way to go.
Agree. I tried cutting some stainless with my jeweler's saw and it was so hard the blade just skated over the material. I needed to use my Dremel with a cut-off wheel. My understanding of the rule of thumb for choosing the number of teeth on a blade is to have at least enough to have 2 on the material at all times. Otherwise if the metal is so thin it falls in-between the teeth they will break off. However when there are too many teeth the cut can take forever. Lately I've been using #2 and #3 blades when cutting Nikko blank lugs.
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Old 05-30-17, 07:52 AM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
For lugs, Torch and File also has carving lug blanks.

https://framebuildersupply.com/collections/lugs
I know they don't have control over the design, but the angles on those are really annoying. 75 degree seat tube angle? sheesh.
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