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How to build a lugged steel frame, with pics

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How to build a lugged steel frame, with pics

Old 11-23-09, 10:15 PM
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That's absolutely friggen gorgeous. I love those bottle cages as well.
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Old 12-15-09, 09:09 PM
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It can be said enough. Truly incredible!! It's absolutely beautiful. Great job. I hope to do my own some day.
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Old 12-26-09, 10:47 AM
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Cassave,

If one were interested in trying their hand at building frames what would they be looking at in start-up costs (excluding tubing, lugs, bosses, etc)? Torches, tips, flux, jigs...?
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Old 12-26-09, 12:08 PM
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I'd like to see the filing and polishing technique, I have used some jewelers files and a dremel with sanding wheel to remove lumps of silver that have flowed with the flux, and then strips of sand paper to try to smooth out the lugs and joint.

Does a non lugged brazed joint have to be fillet?

Dave
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Old 12-26-09, 03:08 PM
  #205  
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You know, it's threads like this that are going to cause me valuable hours of my life, outside and in the shop, brazing my own frame. It's all your fault, man.
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Old 01-07-10, 02:39 PM
  #206  
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Originally Posted by Cassave
I've had a few people suggest that since I'm building a new frame why not document it in a
thread. So, for those that might be interested here's how a lugged steel frame goes together.
I know some of you have barely or rarely seen lugged steel frames but this is how bikes have been
put together for over a century.
Another incredible resource. Thank you for taking the time to document this along the way.
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Old 01-08-10, 11:04 AM
  #207  
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Originally Posted by Cassave
Continuing on..........
Started the fork.


The raked blades ready for assembly with the tips, then to be trimmed to length
for assembly with the crown.
How do you calculate how much to bend without having the fork tips in place ? Do you insert temporarily for measuring ?

When I built a few frames, I brazed in the fork tips first, then I could measure the distance from the center of the dropout to the center of the fork blade to get the desired rake.

Thr dropouts were also useful for securing the end of the blade in my homemade bender.

Also, do the Stainless lugs braze just like "regular" lugs ? And are they polished and clearcoated at the end ?

This great thread got me thinking it's time to make myself a new frame !
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Old 01-10-10, 07:29 PM
  #208  
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Originally Posted by Homebrew01
How do you calculate how much to bend without having the fork tips in place ? Do you insert temporarily for measuring ?

When I built a few frames, I brazed in the fork tips first, then I could measure the distance from the center of the dropout to the center of the fork blade to get the desired rake.

Thr dropouts were also useful for securing the end of the blade in my homemade bender.

Also, do the Stainless lugs braze just like "regular" lugs ? And are they polished and clearcoated at the end ?

This great thread got me thinking it's time to make myself a new frame !
As you can see, the bend on those blades is pretty much top to bottom. I just bend the blade to the limit of the bending tool I made. Final rake is established by trimming the lower end + - 5 mm or so. I do check rake setup with a dropout placed in the blade of course.

Stainless brazes much like alloy steel but if you do form an oxide layer due to too much heat or too little flux it's a devil to remove. I use a boron modified flux (Superoir 601B) that has a higher burn off temp. I do a lot of the polishing before assembly since it's much easier to handle, final polish after brazing and yes the lugs are clear coated.
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Old 01-11-10, 11:21 AM
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Wow... that is beyond awesome.
One of the best threads in BF history.
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Old 02-22-10, 07:38 PM
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Hell, I wish I could build one of those bottle holders, or a rack.

Awesome thread. Very inspirational.

Last edited by sknhgy; 02-22-10 at 07:41 PM.
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Old 02-25-10, 12:18 PM
  #211  
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Originally Posted by sknhgy
Hell, I wish I could build one of those bottle holders, or a rack.

Awesome thread. Very inspirational.

I'm sure you can. The stainless bottle cage is such low mass that even a cheap hardware store propane torch can supply
all the heat you need to braze with silver.
The rack is made from .028" wall 304 tubing, again a burnz-o-matic type propane torch would do.
Just get some silver and black flux.
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Old 02-28-10, 08:35 PM
  #212  
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What a nice bike,great job and nice parts you got going on that..
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Old 03-13-10, 09:06 AM
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Lovely work, great thread : )

Originally Posted by zzzwillzzz
i couldn't remember if your other bikes had fastback seatstays. don't some seat lugs have caps for the ends of the stays? they're not as graceful with the caps. a girl i rode with back in the 80's had a Cotten frame, with a wishbone seatstay, campy delta brakes and internal cable routing. they drilled a hole or slot in the seatpost for the brake cable to route through so that the cable was inline with the center cable mounting of the campy delta brake. it was/is the coolest and cleanest setup ever.
Sounds it, alright...
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Old 04-08-10, 08:32 AM
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Alright, new to the forum and building bikes. Always busy, so I am sorry, but did not read everything here. I got some great idea for scratch building some fixtures! Thanks a ton! Now, where do you get your luggs? Any web sites? Thanks. Jody
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Old 04-08-10, 08:45 AM
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Nice job, I recently had to replace some plumbing dammage on my water lines and was going to ask if you used silver. Man, that stuff is a one way ticket.
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Old 04-08-10, 09:06 AM
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Originally Posted by smartresins
Alright, new to the forum and building bikes. Always busy, so I am sorry, but did not read everything here. I got some great idea for scratch building some fixtures! Thanks a ton! Now, where do you get your luggs? Any web sites? Thanks. Jody
The lugs on this bike are Henry James.
There are plenty of sources for lugs; Henry James, Nova, Bringhelli, Pacenti. A Google search will turn up more sources than you can use.
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Old 05-08-10, 06:26 PM
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great, nice job!
it reminds me of a short clip:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fWJhW913Ykc
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KIxCdTRkRHo
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Old 05-19-10, 01:02 PM
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I might have missed it somewhere in the the thread, but how do you make sure everything is aligned? Do you have an alignment table or another way of doing it?
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Old 05-19-10, 01:35 PM
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Originally Posted by brockd15
I might have missed it somewhere in the the thread, but how do you make sure everything is aligned? Do you have an alignment table or another way of doing it?
check post #65 and #68
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Old 05-19-10, 01:46 PM
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Originally Posted by brockd15
I might have missed it somewhere in the the thread, but how do you make sure everything is aligned? Do you have an alignment table or another way of doing it?
I have fixtures for the frame and fork. Each is fully adjustable for size and angles.
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Old 05-19-10, 03:45 PM
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I've never built a frame, so I apologize if the answers here are obvious. I thought the frame was set up in the jig for tacking (or possibly for full brazing) and was put on an alignment table afterward to fine tune everything and cold set as needed. Instead of that it sounds like you do all the brazing with the frame in the fixture where everything is held at the correct angle, making an alignment table unnecessary?

That bike looks great by the way. I'd also be interested to see the other bikes you've built (I've seen the thread on the mixte for your wife). You mentioned that you've built several bikes for yourself...how many different things did you try before you figured out what you liked? Did you sell off the ones you didn't like so much, or those you've replaced with a newer build?
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Old 05-20-10, 09:39 AM
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Originally Posted by brockd15
I've never built a frame, so I apologize if the answers here are obvious. I thought the frame was set up in the jig for tacking (or possibly for full brazing) and was put on an alignment table afterward to fine tune everything and cold set as needed. Instead of that it sounds like you do all the brazing with the frame in the fixture where everything is held at the correct angle, making an alignment table unnecessary?

That bike looks great by the way. I'd also be interested to see the other bikes you've built (I've seen the thread on the mixte for your wife). You mentioned that you've built several bikes for yourself...how many different things did you try before you figured out what you liked? Did you sell off the ones you didn't like so much, or those you've replaced with a newer build?
I fully braze in the fixtures which do an excellent job of maintaining alignment (which I check on a surface plate after brazing). The brazing sequence of the main triangle has a lot to do with how straight it stays.
As far as things tried? Over 35 years I've tried plenty of things from extremely tight coupled short stay bikes to touring bikes. The frame in this thread is about right for an all rounder. It gets ridden on fast short club rides to doubles and everything in between.
Yes, I've sold or given away plenty of frames, I keep three bikes built up at the moment, and that's about one too many.
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Old 05-20-10, 03:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Cassave
The brazing sequence of the main triangle has a lot to do with how straight it stays.
Could you elaborate on this?
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Old 05-21-10, 02:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Aaron_F
Could you elaborate on this?
If you noticed in the thread, I braze the main triangle in parts;
crankshell to ST
headtube to DT

Both are single joint brazes, easy to control and measure afterwards. Both assemblies are cleaned and filed before the next step.
The next joint, the one that determines coplanarity of the seat tube and headtube is the crankshell to DT joint. This is setup in the fixture and brazed.
The assembly is now cooled, cleaned filed and checked for coplanarity. Fortunately I've never had to coldset at this stage but if I did it would be easier than cold setting a
finish main triangle.
The last step is to fit and braze the TT, allowing each joint to cool before moving to the next. I suspect this method locks in the least residual stress in the finished assembly.
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Old 07-07-10, 08:17 AM
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First of all I want to thank you for generously sharing your art and wisdom. As with everyone here, I really appreciate this thread...no...this story. Your bicycle is achingly beautiful. It very much reminds me of my long-gone Columbine Cycleworks the Murphys built for me over 30 years ago...the polished Henry James lugs and the blue paint. I wish I still had the bike, but it was lost about 20 years ago in a bicycle shop in Huntigton Beach that changed owners and the shop is probably no longer there.

But there's hope. After reading and re-reading this thread a few times over, I think I know what I'd like to do with my time when I retire from my present career in a few short years. I want to build my own frames and forks. You have no idea how you and your exquisite work have inspired me to try this. I think my baby step for this exciting endeavor should be simple and pure...a road-friendly fixed-gear bike...polished lugs and all...and blue

If I make enough garage space soon, I might even have to start before I retire. And I hope its good enough to show you my effort one day. I'm new here and please forgive me if I sound as if I'm trying to hump your leg. This is not my purpose I just appreciate great works of mechanical art. Again, thank you for sharing!

Last edited by paipo; 07-07-10 at 08:21 AM.
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