The time between Christmas and new years in my shop is usually spent doing projects that have nothing to do with the business. This period of a few days is what I like to use to do projects that have been on my mind during the year but have not been started because of the work load. Right now the shop is for all purposes shut until after the 1st of the year. Above is the start of the project- an old steel BB shell in its raw state. Below is what it looked like after we put some hand and machine work into it to make it nicer looking.
These few days I would be spending showing Brendan - the guy who pretty much runs the CX team and puts on our race weekend - how a lugged frame is built. He has already built nearly 20 fillet brazed frames but had not attempted a lugged frame. I figured that I should show somebody what I have learned after all these years. UBI, the school where I taught an annual frame building class has decided to stop doing frame building classes and concentrate on mechanics training . If I want to teach, I'll have to do it in my own shop. The problem with my shop is that it is not set up for teaching at all. This is pretty much a one-time special occasion and it serves several purposes: # 1, I can show Brendan what I know about lugged building . # 2, we will have a nice road frame to let one of the team juniors use for training. # 3, I'll get to use some of the old materials that have been in my charge for far too long. When I am not building any more I don't want to have a huge stock of old frame building materials that my wife has to dispose of. I want to turn it all into bikes eventually and use as much of the stuff up as possible.
Here's Brendan putting some heat into that BB shell. He wound up doing most of the brazing-I only did a couple of demos and a few spots of gap-filling after the frame was constructed. I think it will he a really nice riding frame-Columbus tubes , Cinelli head lugs and a Champion BB shell. Much of the materials is from the '70's and had been through a few hands before it got to me.
Most of the frame was brazed using 50% silver- a little harder to make flow but really good for filling bigger voids inside the stamped steel Cinelli lugs. We built this frame in about 2-1/2 days......not bad considering we had many interruptions of random people stopping by - it's the holidays after all and that stuff is bound to happen. At least there's still a couple of days left in the week and the frame is done.
This is one project that I'm very happy to have done- I don't know if Brendan will want to build many frames with lugs but at least now he has one under his belt and has a grasp of the procedure. I'll be happier to know that I didn't go to my grave not having passed on this bit of craft knowhow. Lugged frames only represent about 10% of the frames I have built but that still probably 200-300 of them . One learns something after that number , I would like to think.