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RobE30 02-04-11 12:17 PM

How did you guys get started?
As my title states, how did you guys get started in frame building? Did you read a book for info or did you hang around a local frame builder (like I'm doing....:innocent:)? I enjoy wood working, have done a fair amount of metal work in the past (mostly auto body, sheet metal etc) and find the prospect of building my own frame very intriguing. I'm by no means ready to start but it is one thing I would really like to add to my list of abilities.

So what got you started?

ftwelder 02-16-11 06:11 PM

I started in 1970 as a kid fixing broken frames and brazing cross-bars in handlebars. I went on to replacing the curved tubes in a sting ray frame with straight varsity tubes. I then started altering geometry etc. I got a job in a BMX factory in 79. Things you can't do today.

I guess today, I would take a class.

unterhausen 02-16-11 07:23 PM

I bought a kit from Proteus Designs back in the mid '70s. I built a couple of frames, and engineering school wasn't going so well. So I answered an ad in Velonews for Trek. They said to come on out, so I did and worked there for a while. Even if you could do that, which you can't, it makes sense to go to a school and at least have some feedback from someone that knows how to teach. I am completely self-taught, there was zero training at Trek.

I didn't build any frames for quite a few years. I considered going to Doug Fattic's school to get warmed back up after such a long layoff. I'm sure I would learn a lot if I did, but I did find that brazing came naturally even after years of not having practiced. Granted, there are techniques that you get really good at brazing 30 frames a day. I have to admit I've learned a lot from looking at other builder's work on-line. As far as engineering school goes, I'm not good at accepting failure so now I have a Ph.D. Sometimes I wish I had stayed in the bike industry, but it's a difficult way to make a living.

JohnDThompson 02-16-11 07:29 PM

I got a job at the Trek factory in Waterloo. I started out doing finishing (filing lugs, dropouts, seat stay caps,etc.) before moving into brazing. Trek had an instructor from MATC come out to the factory on a regular basis to do brazing classes for interested employees (I started a couple years after unterhausen), and they provided a free tube set and lugs and such to each employee to build their own frame.

RobE30 02-17-11 05:07 AM

Hmmm, I wonder if either of you guys put my 84 Trek 610 or my 85 Trek 620 together....

NoReg 02-17-11 01:05 PM

While I am normally self-taught in the things I do, I got into frame building in the post internet age, so most of what I know I picked up online, or I picked it up from the Paterek videos. There is a lot of cross over from other fields, knowing how to design or lay out, is the same in any field. Cutting stuff by hand is identical to all kinds of hand work I have been doing in woodworking and metal work. The main initial hurdle is learning to join metals. And I have taught myself, to weld and braze. Self-teaching tig welding is difficult. But it's a hobby and I have just set aside whatever time it takes.

NoReg 02-17-11 01:07 PM

Hey RobE30, surely it has to be "all these places..."?

unterhausen 02-17-11 05:11 PM


Originally Posted by RobE30 (Post 12238510)
Hmmm, I wonder if either of you guys put my 84 Trek 610 or my 85 Trek 620 together....

I was long gone by then

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