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Framebuilding classes in Italy

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Framebuilding classes in Italy

Old 08-29-20, 09:30 AM
  #26  
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Originally Posted by Andrew R Stewart View Post
Are you fluent in Italian? Do you think that some "Euro magic" will rub off and onto you?

I will second the US classes as I have taken a few over the decades. I have always felt that there are people who produce and those who teach. It's rare to find one that employees both qualities. Andy
Great point. I lived in Italy, in Umbria region - they are bad with English. I have doubts they have courses in English. I might be wrong but it just what I know.
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Old 08-29-20, 10:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Doug Fattic View Post
Niles, Michigan where my shop and school is located is not a place known for adventure.
Little known fact, Doug works for the Niles, Michigan tourist bureau.

I guess there are some experienced guys my age in Italy that have built frames. I see there are a lot of steel frame companies springing up in Italy now, which is interesting. I wonder how experienced they really are though. I think that it would be a lot more fun to take a class there if you already knew how to build a frame. Could be really frustrating to try to learn with a language barrier.
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Old 08-29-20, 06:54 PM
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Learning to build can be challenging enough with a very good teacher like Doug, for some. Add in culture and/or language differences and the experience could be less then rewarding. Andy
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Old 12-10-20, 12:19 PM
  #29  
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Oh man, why do I miss all the good threads?

Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
The true expertise in teaching framebuilding is in the U.S., as is the bulk of the framebuilding talent in the world.
Debatable. Very debatable.

Originally Posted by EamonPVD View Post
you had a page and a half reply to my short OP asking one question... its called over stepping. And you are doing it well.
As others have said, based on your responses here not only is a frame building class in Italy (and perhaps elsewhere) most likely not for you, I'd wager you might be frustrated by a simple trip to Italy as well. Cause, you know, they don't place the highest priority on things like good wifi in every shop, or all the modern conveniences wherever you go. Plus, as others mentioned, everything is in Italian, so...

Originally Posted by Doug Fattic View Post
This means that the instruction has to be sharp with good presentations and demonstrations well organized to cram it all in. There is an awful lot to learn...They are going to be better organized for beginner instruction than a master showing how it is done. Knowing common beginner mistakes and how to correct them really shortens the learning curve.
This.

Having spent a fair amount of time living and working in Italy (and yes, I speak Italian fluently), if you want to learn from one of the masters, it's mostly likely going to be a 'sit there and watch me work,' type of learning experience. If you already have a baseline of knowledge, it could be helpful, but it's not likely to be comprehensive or particularly interactive. You see, you would likely be dealing with someone that believes it takes many years to become competent in the trade, and so the idea of learning something in a "class" or brief period of time (because yes, weeks or months will be brief to them) will be more or less laughable to them.

All of that said, I have seen some things on the internet that could be compared to trade school courses. There aren't many details, but it would be more straightforward instruction (as opposed to something like an apprenticeship) aimed at getting the basics down. Of course it would be strictly in Italy, be over a longer span of time (months), and it may not even be open to non-Italians.
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Old 12-10-20, 02:23 PM
  #30  
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That's a really long post to offer no relevant information. I particularly like how you quoted me and later in the post proved my point about instruction. Sitting and watching a "master" (are there any there?) is not a good way of doing instruction. I'm sure there are people in Italy that know how to put together a frame. It's not really that hard, factory workers have been doing a creditable job for a long time.

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Old 12-10-20, 04:21 PM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
That's a really long post to offer no relevant information. I particularly like how you quoted me and later in the post proved my point about instruction. Sitting and watching a "master" (are there any there?) is not a good way of doing instruction. I'm sure there are people in Italy that know how to put together a frame. It's not really that hard, factory workers have been doing a creditable job for a long time.
Um what? Just because the info isn't relevant to you, doesn't necessarily make it irrelevant to everyone else.

And I quoted you because you made the statement that, "... is in the US, as is the bulk of framebuilding talent in the world," which make me laugh. So if you were trying to make a joke, you succeeded.

But based on your subsequent question about there being any masters in Italy, I think you might have been serious. Just a little further up the thread someone posted a video of Daccordi doing his thing. That video alone should have told you something. Most of the guys that built the amazing steel bikes we drool over are still alive. And even if many of them are no longer building themselves, plenty are, while others are overseeing the next generation that was brought up with a grand tradition that no other nation can match.
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Old 12-10-20, 04:41 PM
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My comment reflected the fact that Italians, on the main, gave up framebuilding for a couple of decades. Just like everywhere else in the world. Sure there were some good framebuilders left, but how many practicing? I think it's good that there have been more Italian companies getting back into building metal bikes.

Anyway, I'm not sure exactly why I mentioned where there were practicing framebuilders.
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Old 12-10-20, 05:14 PM
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My impression is that most of them didn't give it up voluntarily, but rather that the demand dried up. That said, this is long tradition of craftsmanship passed down among generations. It doesn't simply die out or disappear because of some lean years.

Just so happened to be browsing old Somec catalogs recently (they are posted on the website), and it looks like they always had at least one steel frame available, even during the worst of times for steel. And taking a look at the Battaglin website, I can't imagine anyone in the US putting out products like theirs.
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Old 12-10-20, 07:10 PM
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Those Battaglin frames are very Italian. I can't imagine an American making it either. But imagining that there is nobody in the U.S. that could is another thing. Actually, the Power+ is a very American looking bike with cromovelato finish.

My point was that once aluminum and then carbon took over, people lost interest in steel bikes. The history of Italian framebuilding stretches back a long way, but mostly died out, like it did everywhere. Steel framebulding picked up again in the '2000s, mostly in the U.S. There just aren't a lot of steel builders around anymore. And it has been waning again. I notice a lot more builders in Europe, including Italians looking for help. Which is great.

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Old 12-11-20, 04:43 AM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
Those Battaglin frames are very Italian. I can't imagine an American making it either. But imagining that there is nobody in the U.S. that could is another thing. Actually, the Power+ is a very American looking bike with cromovelato finish.

My point was that once aluminum and then carbon took over, people lost interest in steel bikes. The history of Italian framebuilding stretches back a long way, but mostly died out, like it did everywhere. Steel framebulding picked up again in the '2000s, mostly in the U.S. There just aren't a lot of steel builders around anymore. And it has been waning again. I notice a lot more builders in Europe, including Italians looking for help. Which is great.
There are a few steel builders in the UK and no doubt in most other places as well. The most are probably in the US or possibly in Japan where they didn't get the memo about doing everything for cheap in China. I'm sure they're still making very nice steel frames in Taiwan. And of course China has plenty of steel builders., working according to the ancient Chinese philosophy of "chabuduo" which roughly translates as "not that bad". This is the level I aspire to myself.

But if you want to get good at framebuilding yourself the bulk of that is going to be the effort and practice you put in. Good instruction no doubt helps but being in the right language and having a good teacher is going to be more important. Plus you don't want some wizened old lag telling you 753 is stiffer than 531 and don't argue or lecture him about the difference between stiffness and ductility because he's been doing it for 40 years etc. etc. Wikipedia is often a better source of knowledge than that which has been "passed down through generations".
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Old 12-18-20, 05:33 PM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
Those Battaglin frames are very Italian. I can't imagine an American making it either. But imagining that there is nobody in the U.S. that could is another thing. Actually, the Power+ is a very American looking bike with cromovelato finish.
My point was that once aluminum and then carbon took over, people lost interest in steel bikes. The history of Italian framebuilding stretches back a long way, but mostly died out, like it did everywhere. Steel framebulding picked up again in the '2000s, mostly in the U.S. There just aren't a lot of steel builders around anymore. And it has been waning again. I notice a lot more builders in Europe, including Italians looking for help. Which is great.
Those Battaglins aren't just special because of the design or geometry, but also because of the finish and level of quality. Is anyone in the US really putting out any quantity of bikes with that combination of great characteristics (low weight for steel, great geometry for fast riding, exceptional paintwork and finishing)? I'd like to know who.

And a quick stroll through the past catalogs of most of these brands is a perfect illustration of the transition first to aluminum, and then to carbon. But most of the big names are still around and offerring steel frames: Colnago, Tommasini, Wilier, De Rosa, Daccordi, Basso, Somec, Bianchi...

Originally Posted by guy153 View Post
The most are probably in the US or possibly in Japan where they didn't get the memo about doing everything for cheap in China. I'm sure they're still making very nice steel frames in Taiwan. And of course China has plenty of steel builders., working according to the ancient Chinese philosophy of "chabuduo" which roughly translates as "not that bad". This is the level I aspire to myself.
But if you want to get good at framebuilding yourself the bulk of that is going to be the effort and practice you put in. Good instruction no doubt helps but being in the right language and having a good teacher is going to be more important. Plus you don't want some wizened old lag telling you 753 is stiffer than 531 and don't argue or lecture him about the difference between stiffness and ductility because he's been doing it for 40 years etc. etc. Wikipedia is often a better source of knowledge than that which has been "passed down through generations".
See above on where most might be located. Are there really more of them in the US and Japan? And are they producing in quantity, or are they one man operations (not that there's anything wrong with that)? And are they building with steel knowhow that spans generations and was racing at the top level back when steel was the material of choice? Look at all those names I listed above, and look at their output.

As for passing down a craft, it's not just about knowledge of materials or following some step by step routine. That's the whole point. It's that special something that made those brands special, and superior, to begin with. These guys and these brands were building some of the best in the world back then, and they never completely stopped. That means that they are going to be the best at replicating that past magic (if that is what you want), and likely the best at modern interpretations of steel frames (if that is what you want). Trying to depict them as stubborn old men does a disservice to those that are doing brilliant work there. And, if I have to be frank, the insinuation that some small time guy or shop in a location and/or organization with zero racing history, tradition or knowledge is going to be putting out a better product than certain legends is laughable to me.

Lastly, I'll just leave you with some statistics from 2019. In 2019 there were 2,455,000 bikes made in Italy, of which 1,600,000 were purchased by Italians, while the rest were exported.

Check out this link (it's in Italian, but the two main graphs on bike production in the UK and Italy are in English): https://www.bikeitalia.it/2017/10/02...ci-fatte-asia/
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Old 12-19-20, 05:19 AM
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Originally Posted by robertorolfo View Post
As for passing down a craft, it's not just about knowledge of materials or following some step by step routine. That's the whole point. It's that special something that made those brands special, and superior, to begin with. These guys and these brands were building some of the best in the world back then, and they never completely stopped. That means that they are going to be the best at replicating that past magic (if that is what you want), and likely the best at modern interpretations of steel frames (if that is what you want).
Yeah but if we're honest this is really just marketing guff and there's obviously no such thing as magic. Some people are better at better at making bikes than others and I'm sure there are many outstanding builders in Italy as well in the US, Japan and everywhere else.

Don't get me wrong, I love bikes and trying to make them when I could perfectly well just buy them from China, so I do understand this magic thing. But I also know it's not "real". We all use the same tubes from Columbus or Reynolds and there really isn't all that much variation in geometry. Anyone having a custom bike made can have what they want. A really skilled builder will make every detail beautiful which a discerning customer will appreciate and this is a great thing but it won't change how the bike rides.

Originally Posted by robertorolfo View Post
Trying to depict them as stubborn old men does a disservice to those that are doing brilliant work there. And, if I have to be frank, the insinuation that some small time guy or shop in a location and/or organization with zero racing history, tradition or knowledge is going to be putting out a better product than certain legends is laughable to me.
It's just science. There was as much "myth and lore" in framebuilding as there was in wheel-building. Decades of legend and tradition can be easily blown away with a single finite-element analysis. https://www.sheldonbrown.com/rinard/fea.htm

Originally Posted by robertorolfo View Post
Lastly, I'll just leave you with some statistics from 2019. In 2019 there were 2,455,000 bikes made in Italy, of which 1,600,000 were purchased by Italians, while the rest were exported.
Check out this link (it's in Italian, but the two main graphs on bike production in the UK and Italy are in English): https://www.bikeitalia.it/2017/10/02...ci-fatte-asia/
Thanks, that's interesting!
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Old 12-19-20, 09:17 AM
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That's a lot more bikes than I would have thought. There were some large brands still going in the U.S., but that has pretty much gone away AFAIK. I don't think large brands from any country specialize in magic though. I remember the first bike I ever fell in love with at first sight was an early '70s full pantographed Colnago. I swear when I saw it in the bike shop there was an otherworldly glow around it. But maybe it was by the window. A couple of years later I saw an Eisentraut and that was a revelation; immaculate construction and durable coatings which at the time were unmatched by anyone in Europe. But some people get more excited by pantographing and flashy paint. I loved the paint on my Viner, but you could chip it by looking at it, I have wondered if it was made from chicklets chewing gum.
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