Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Probably the last frame of 2020

For the last few years I have been using the time between X-Mas and new years day to build a lugged frame or two. Most of the time these are just long delayed projects for amusement purposes but in this case, there's a customer waiting for this frame and fork. I don't get many orders like this- maybe one every couple of years but going back to my roots and using materials that were popular 40 years ago is always challenging and enlightening. I don't care how long you do this stuff, there's always something to learn and/or improve.
The big advantage of doing a frame like this in my current shop is having not only the years of experience at my disposal but also the tools that I did not have back when I started. When I encountered sockets in a lug or BB shell that were too tight in 1980, I would have to take out files and spend hours getting the fit proper. Now, all I have to do is take out my adjustable reamers and within about 10 minutes I'll have the job done. 

After many years of brazing, that too takes considerably less time and the work requires much less cleanup. The mitering is done on a milling machine instead of by hand with hacksaw and files.This not only saves time but it also is a lot easier on the hands- no chance of slipping and slicing your hand open when filing out a miter. While I do clearly remember the days when all I had for tools were a hacksaw, some files, a hand drill and a torch set I do not miss building frames that way at all. I think that with my advancing years, all the extra time it would take to do this stuff by hand would really subtract from time to do other things-ride my bike, for one. 

I really have no idea how long I'll be building frames -that depends on the demand and my physical health. I do know that frames like this , while they are a great thing to craft- are something that require much more time than what I normally build. This makes it difficult for me to set aside time for a project like this unless I have reached the end of the year and have hopefully had a productive 12 months. In the case of 2020, it all lined up for me to build this Reynolds 531 frame and fork and I hope that the customer likes the result of my labors.

No comments: