Friday, December 29, 2017


 Maybe I'm compulsive about this work-I think that I set a precedent with the total of frames I have built this year. Last year I thought that I would build 100 but I didn't quite make it. This year I didn't go to Ashland to teach my two week frame building class so I had the thought that it would be possible to build 100 frames in a year .

In September I got bogged down with some projects -at that point it looked like 100 would not happen. Job one is to do quality work-the goal of 100 was pretty far from the top of the list. I didn't want to hurry on any build but I did want to put in the time, be efficient and not waste moves. If I did this I was still thinking that I could hit 100 if I didn't make too many mistakes.
 Here it is, just a few days left in the year and yesterday I finished this frame in the photos- # 100.I also built the matching fork. This was nearly four days of work with a few fits and starts, some tubes that went into the scrap pile and plenty of changes on the fly. I took some very old lugs that I bought from Bruce Gordon and tweaked and bludgeoned into this tiny road frame. Most of the materials predate when I built my first frame. The tubes and some of the fittings were given to me by people who had plans to build a frame back in the '70's but never went through with it.
I feel like I'm batting cleanup-taking stuff that has been sitting in boxes for nearly four decades and turning it all into something that really didn't need to exist, except for the fact that all the materials were supposedly destined to be used for something eventually. There's a lot of old frame tubes sitting in garages that represent a time when building a bicycle frame was done with hand tools, a piece of string and a measuring tape-some sort of torch and a lot of time. With only a few exceptions , places where bicycle frames are made do not employ these methods or materials. It's a craft from another time for the most part.
Stepping back into this world was a real eye opener. It had been a number of years since I had built a lugged frame. I didn't forget the process-but with this frame I pushed the materials into a shape that they didn't want to be-it was a real fight. I can't say that I completely won the fight but I'll know for sure when the bike is assembled and gets it's first miles. I put an unreasonable amount of work and really endangered my chances of finishing it before the end of the year with all the time I spent but I'm happy that I chose a very challenging project to cap off one of the most productive years in the history of my shop.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Nicely done Paul!
I had wondered if those lugs would just end up gathering dust in another box for another 40 years.
Very English.
Do you have a name for this bike yet?