Bicycle framebuilding classes

31 10 2011

I don’t want you to hunt around too much.   Here is a list with links of all the available frame courses that I know about.   Please, check your options.   I am confident that I offer one of the best frame-building experiences going.

United States:

  1. United Bicycle Institute  (2 weeks) (cost $3000) (4 to 1 student ratio)
  2. Doug Fattic (1 week to 3 weeks) (cost 2-week 1800+material-3-week 2300+material/Material 4-500 average) (3 to 1 student ratio).  Painting course and Painting services available.  Student lodging available
  3. Yamaguchi (2 weeks) (cost $2700) (3 to 1 student ratio)
  4. David Bohm (Bohemian) (2 weeks to 4 weeks) (cost $2995.00) (2 to 1 student ratio). Painting services and student lodging available. Animals welcome.
  5. Hot tubes (1 week) (cost $2750) (1 to 1 student ratio).  Painting services available
  6. Brew Bikes (1 week) (cost $1500) ( 2 to 1 student ratio) (TIG only, no fork). Powdercoating available
  7. Cat Oregon ( 6 months apprenticeship) (cost $8960.00) (unknown student/instructor ratio)
  8. R & E cycles Seattle (4 days) (cost $3600.00) (1 on 1 student ratio). Painting services available
  9. Sanner Cycles (palo altoCA) (3 days) ( cost $ 1000.00) (1 to 1 ratio) (no fork)
  10. MetalGuru (Hudson Valley N.Y.) (1 to 1)($2750 for 8.5 days) (TIG) (no fork).   Also available 2.5 day bicycle painting course $750.00.  Painting services available.
  11. Joe Bringheli  (must call for info)
  12. Walt Works (5 days) (1 to 1) ($2000-2700) No fork.
  13. Bicycle specialties (no info, must contact)
  14. Bicycle Collective (not a lot of info, contact) ($1000.00)
  15. Geekhouse bicycles ($2700) not a lot of info

Canada:

  1. Paul Brodie frame course (university of fraser Valley BC) (2 weeks) ($2500.00 +if premium materials used) (4 to 1 ratio) (pre-fab fork)  TIG or fillet braze only

United Kingdom:

  1. Dave Yates (England): ( 1 week) (879 pounds + materials- $1400 U.S) (2 to 1)
  2. Swallow Bicycles (England): (1 week) (850 pounds + materials) (1 to 1)
  3. Downland Cycles: (England) (6-10 days) (1015-2300 pounds plus materials- $1600-3600 U.S) (2 to 1,)
  4. The Bicycle Academy: (England) ( 4 days-10 ) (750-2500 pounds +materials) ($1200-5000 U.S) ( 4 to 1 ratio).  Focus predominately on fillet brazing.
  5. Curtis Bicycles framebuilding course: (England) (5 days) (1000-1150 pounds $1623-1800 U.S.) (1 to 1) Notes: Curtis was a founding instructor at The Bicycle Academy (TBA)  9 miles from TBA
  6. Frame Building Academy:  England (5 days) (1200 pounds) ($1950 U.S)
  7. Bamboo Bicycle Club England (495 pounds) 2 days

Switzerland, France, Italy,Germany, etc:

  1. OTM bikes (Cophenhagen) (6 days) (1600-2700 euro incl. materials-$2200+ U.S) (1 to 1 or 2 to 1  15% off – fork extra)
  2. Fahradbaukurse  (Swiss) (2 weeks) (3500 franc  $3865 U.S)
  3. Manofacto (Swiss) (1 week) (2500 franc $2760 U.S) (2 to 1)
  4. Big Forest Frames (Germany) (5-15 days) (950E-2900E $1230-3750 U.S)

Asia:

  1.  Ti Cycles of India
  2. Bike School of Thailand 




Complicated builds and having fun at Bohemian…

8 07 2011

I like a challenge, but recently I have gotten a lot of inquiries during frame school to build a particular type of bicycle which is about as difficult or challenging as it can get.

It comes down to a few types.  These consist a full touring and or Randonneur bicycle with integrated everything.   Ultra modern, straight fork, disks, big tubing and an integrated seat post aka. the SpeedVagen. Lastly, the monster/fat/cargo/electric/double boinger/beer cart/rolling couch or whatever other genre you can imagine.

So I am writing this entry so that I can refer students to it and they can learn the pluses and pitfalls of such designs.

First, we only have two weeks.  You must keep that in mind and one of those weeks is filled with discussions of frame geometry, metallurgy, design, and various practice sessions in filing, welding, fitting and alignment.    So, really what is left is one full unadulterated week to build.    Of course I don’t expect a Padawan learner to know how long it takes to make a bike frame but the short of it is, for a professional with experience it generally takes between 20 and 100 hours to complete a bicycle frame.   Twenty hours would be for a nice, clean road frame with lugs and 100 might be for a Randonneur frame with racks, lights etc (I have spent a lot longer than that BTW)   For someone doing it the first time count on it taking 2-3 times longer at least.   You can see that with only 90 hours of total instruction and work time during a course that it is near impossible to build some of these more difficult variants.

Probably my main concern with these complex builds is how does that translate into a quality learning scenario for the student?  Trust me, everyone freaks out at  just the thought of building a standard bicycle frame once you are into the throws of doing it.   To add large amounts of complexity only means two things.   Total overload and or I have to do major segments of the build which take away from bench time for you, the student.   I also want to point out that as a professional I did not start out building Peter Weigle’s Randonneur frames or Vanilla Speedvagens or ornate Bohemians.    We as builders have worked into this stage by building our skills, failing at times, learning constantly and maybe after a decade were able to attempt and succeed at accomplishing this.   To do this as a first try is beyond challenging to say the least and I worry may not lead to having FUN!  Really, its supposed to be fun and working with a deadline until you have blisters all over your hands is not fun.  It has happened, keep it in mind.

I also find that there is a new consumer of product that is discovering traditional steel bicycles after starting with the more ubiquitous carbon road frame of today.    They bring to this the aesthetic and design solutions that they are familiar with and hope to convert this to metal.   Examples are sloping top tubes,  massively oversized tubing, tapered steerers, straight forks, disk brakes, internal routes for brakes and derailleurs, integrated seat posts etc.

The breadth of designs is also greater than ever before.   Most students are stressed thoroughly enough just building a standard type of frame that has been in existence for 70 years.   Adding suspension, electric drives, monster tires etc all adds a massive increase in complexity.   I will say this.   If you want to build something like that the first order of business is to learn how to draft using CAD software.   Second is to learn how to join material.   There is not enough time by any stretch of the imagination to complete anything like these in a two week or even one month course.

One common error is translating designs that may be a necessity for carbon construction do not work well in steel.    Let’s look at an example.    Large oversize or tapered carbon steerers on forks.   Steel fork steers where traditionally 1’’ or 1.125’’ in diameter and showed though over 100 years to be strong and reliable.   Carbon fibers demanded that forks be designed differently because they are more reliable when made into large forms with smooth transitions.   This was not something that was ever needed for steel.   If we try and reverse engineer this what we end up with is a fork steerer that weighs a lot more just from the fact that it is bigger and also a steel head tube that doubles in weight because of it’s increased size.   Add in the increase weight of the bearings and such and now you have put half a kilo of mass where we never needed it only because we are trying to replicate a look rather than use proper engineering and the materials properties to ensure good design.

The same thing is evident for tubing, integrated seat posts, straight forks and internal cable routes which are very easy to do in carbon and difficult to do in metal.

One of my other concerns is will each technique teach the student all that they can be exposed to from the exercise?   A good example of this is straight bladed forks.   It is easier to build a straight bladed fork than a raked curved fork.   Straight bladed forks work well but initially were done to save labor and now with carbon it makes no sense to rake them.    With a steel fork though the rake can be varied which is not possible with straight designs and one learns the art of raking a fork correctly.   Build a straight fork and we forgo the knowledge of how to do a raked one.  Build a raked one and you can always build a straight one.

Certain designs just don’t work with steel very well.    An example of this is disk brakes for road or cyclocross use.   I look forward to the day we have great hydraulic brakes for road bikes but in the mean time there are maybe more disadvantages than advantages.   Mainly for steel road forks that is the added stresses that come from using a disk.   Steel road fork design currently dates back at least 60 years and they were not engineered with disks in mind.   To keep it simple what happens is that all the braking stress is on one side of the fork and in such a way that it works to un-rake the fork constantly.  In the worst scenarios this can cause the fork to twist permanently and essentially it is damaged beyond repair.    In order to alleviate this one would have to use fork blades that are much thicker and therefore heavier, stronger crowns and disk brake mounts.   Now onto the disk brake.  The only one that currently works well for road/cyclocross  is the Avid BB7 and although admirable it has its issues.   Disk rub and squeal for one.  Weighs a lot itself, add in the beefed up fork and downtube and it weighs more.   They interfere with rack placement and fender attachment as well.   The only thing I think one could really claim as being superior is alleviated rim wear but good ceramic coated braking surfaces will last at least 3 years under the hardest of use and honestly don’t cost a lot more than a new disk so I consider it standard wear items.   Maybe someday we will have much better options but heavy, noisy, and mounting difficulties make them not the best choice in my book for Randonneur or cyclocross bicycles.

Massively oversized tubing is another.   Steel is very stiff.  In fact the stiffest of all the metal frame materials.   If one emulates the diameters one finds in aluminum or carbon then it ends up being too stiff in steel.  One of the beauties of steel is being able to adjust the level of stiffness for the rider but too many riders today want to choose their tube diameters based on nothing other than aesthetics not proper engineering.   I have been blamed in my career of being too fancy.   Usually the line is something like this.  “What good does all that detail do?  It doesn’t make the bike any faster.   All I need is a simple tool that goes fast”   Conversely choosing tubing based on looks is no better than added frills and will make you slower not faster if overdone.

Some of you may be thinking that the course for you is not about learning so that you can replicate the process but just having a great time in Tucson and experiencing building a frame.  That I completely understand and respect,  if that is your intention then just relay that intention to me.   I will help.   There is still not enough time to build some of these complicated builds but I will as I have done before help you or finish the more complicated aspects of the build for you.   Of course there is a fee for this but if you would like polished dropouts, or internal cable routes or lug work that is beyond your abilities then all of this can happen it’s just that its not going to happen in the time allotted.   I will also offer a three week course if you like so that you have another 40+ hours of build time to finish these more complicated items and finish work.   If you would like that just inquire.

So to surmise,  I want you, the student to have a great time here.  I do not want you to be overwhelmed by complicated builds that are best left to persons with many years experience and I want you to end up with a great product you are going to be proud of, not one that was so challenging that the final result was less than you hoped for.   Less is more here and being conservative usually leads to improved results and more satisfaction in your build and time here.    Please, just keep that in mind.





Some of the reasons the Bohemian Bicycles course rocks!

23 05 2011

1. The first Mexican dinner is on me!  (we have awesome Mexican food)

2.  You only use the best materials for the bicycle you want to build!   Where some frame school choices limit you to only the cheapest parts available or make you pay extra for every little convenience or upgrade that does not happen here.   The best parts/tubing for the job is not always the most expensive but if a set of expensive S-bend chainstays work best for our application then by God S-bends it will be.

3.  The lodging is excellent!   No hostels with 12 screaming kids!   Private, clean and conveniently located (15ft away)

4.  I am well equipped.  I have a dedicated home/workshop just for framebuilding.  Nobody else has a setup like this.   I have more tools and gizmo’s to play with than anyone, um…by a large margin I will add.

5.  If you want to share fixtures and tools with 3-8 other people be my guest.

6.  My experience is really unparalleled.   Look at what your instructor has done compared to me and ask yourself  who has the greater breadth of experience and knowledge.

7.  Tucson has the best weather ever!   Seriously your choices during most of the  year are snow or rain…. It’s a no brainer!

8.  Look at what the students have done!  My students are putting out some amazing stuff!  Look up close at pictures at the actual brazing work and finish.    I am proud of that and you will be able to do the same thing.





More Frame Course FAQ’s

7 01 2011

In no general order:

1.  When is payment due?   Payment is due on the first day of the course in full.  Check, cash or CC card is fine.  If you are coming from another country it seems like a bank check is best, my bank will do the conversion.   If payment is not received by the third day your class will be cancelled.

2. The workshop is a converted home for your convenience.  Most students stay at the home.  It really is an awesome place.   Work, eat, sleep, repeat.

3.  Internet access is included.  Please be nice to your neighbors on this one it is a shared system.

4.  If you fly into the Phoenix airport and need to get to Tucson there is a shuttle service.  The last stop is .5 miles from my house and I will pick you up.  Here is the link:

http://www.arizonashuttle.com/

5.  If you fly into Tucson Az, just drop me your flight information and I will pick you up.  Please try not to come in at 2am cause I will make you take a cab and its about 40 bucks.

6.  You do NOT need to have any prior experience with framebuilding, welding or design.  You do not need to design your frame prior to arriving unless that is something you like to think about.  Please bring good work cloths and closed toed shoes.   If you cannot see well please bring you prescription glasses and or sunglasses.  Brazing and or welding requires that you see every bit as well as you can.

7.  I have some spare bikes to get around on for you.   You should not have to bring a transportation bike unless you want too.





New Studio guest room for Framebuilding students

10 09 2010

I have a guest studio I have been working on for a bit two doors down from where class is held.

I realize that the cost of lodging is a major factor in choosing your school.  It can easily exceed 800 dollars for a 12 day stay.   Some school options allow for one staying at a local youth hostel or sleeping on somebodies couches but lets be honest here…..That sucks.

Most of my students are adults and do not long for the days that it was fun to sleep indoors in a sleeping bag or deal with 14 partying German kids.  I think you will find this comfortable, quiet and ultra convenient.   It has a small kitchen to prepare meals, a rock fireplace (not that this is needed much in Tucson) AC/ and a large bathroom with a whirlpool tub.

This is offered at $200 per week.  28 dollars a day or the same price as dorm space at the hostel in Ashland Oregon.

Read the rest of this entry »





A course is a course of course

30 03 2010

There are many builders giving courses now.   Here is a list so you don’t have to hunt around.

Also check out my new, more current list here:

NEW LIST!

  1. UBI
  2. Doug Fattic
  3. Yamaguchi
  4. David Bohm
  5. Hot tubes
  6. Ant
  7. Brew Bikes
  8. http://ocbicycleco.com/
  9. Dave Yates (England)
  10. CAT (center for appropriate transportation)
  11. LMNO cycles Quebec
  12. Tech shop in San Fran
  13. Sanner Cycles (palo alto CA)
  14. Chris Kopp
  15. Bamboo studio
  16. Jeff Bock

I cannot comment on any individual course.   What I can comment on is expectations.   People go to framebuilding course for as many reasons as there are people.   I have tried to structure this course for the more serious.  Not necessarily those that want to go into business, but those that are serious about learning all they can learn in the alloted time and want to have a large hand if not total control over what they build here.

This brings me to the one week courses.   Here is what you can do in a week…….Watch me build your bike for you while we chit chat about bike stuff a bit.   If you want to learn the basics of frame design, welding and the like you CANNOT POSSIBLY learn this in a week.   Shoot, two weeks is not enough but it is the absolute minimum in my opinion that will give somebody a solid enough footing to at least continue on their own.

Look at the top outfits, UBI, Doug Fattic, Yamaguchi and myself and ask yourself why we take two weeks if we could pull it off in one?  Now, if you goal is just to get an overall view of the process and have a somewhat greater stake in your frame then one you can  buy off the rack then yes,  the one week course will work.





Frame Course FAQ

19 03 2009

1.  I have a fairly extensive shop but you should know that this is my home that I work out of.  My wife also works from home and although she is an Angel and very used to my cantankerous banging some people may not feel comfortable working in the home of another.   Sometimes, Angela is on the phone and we have to momentarily restrict our noise making or work in the additional shop outside.

2. .  Safety is a number one priority around here.  No matter the level of experience you may have I require eye and ear protection where appropriate and will go over basic safety procedures and hand tool usage with everyone.  No exceptions

3  We have a dog (Chelsea) and a cat ( Meows)  Chelsea and Meows are super friendly.  If you are allergic to dogs or cats or just find them intolerable this course may not be for you.  Otherwise, they would love your attention.  They know how to stay out of the way too.

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4.  Every person has a different viewpoint on how they would like to finish their frame-set.   Some people would like to do every little bit themselves.  Others do not.  Some want perfect lug edging, others are happy with a blob or two.   I am here to help.  If you want to complete every little bit,  just tell me.   Taking the frame home with you to complete any work is just fine.   Also, if you rather I can complete any finish work or additional work for you as part of the services I offer.  I always endeavor to keep everyone on track with a syllabus and daily updates.

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List of FAQ’s that occur below:

How much is Tuition and what does it include?

Do I need to know anything before I come for your course?

What is your course schedule?

How do I get there?

Where do I stay?

Is room and board included?

What are working hours in your shop?

Do you offer a 3-day TIG only seminar?

Do  you offer a 3-day Lug Brazing or Fillet brazing course.

Will you teach me what I need to know to be a  Pro?

Do you also offer courses for experienced framebuilders?

Do you teach fork and stem fabrication?

What kind of tubing and lugs do we use?

Can I learn how to TIG weld?

Is it possible to learn all three welding methods Lug, Fillet Braze, and TIG?

Should I build a lugged frame?

Will time allow to fabricate or carve moderately custom lugs?

Can I work with Stainless Steel lugs?

Can I paint the frame under your supervision?

Can I build a touring frame in your course.

Can I build a frame utilizing S & S couplings?

Can I build a recumbent in your course?

Can I build a downhill  bike with Gagomonsterzilla tires, a jackshaft and 14 inches of travel?

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How much is Tuition and what  does it include?

For current tuition prices please refer to the website http://www.framebuildingschool.com

Tuition includes all necessary frame materials, practice materials, educational materials and included frame design software.  I also offer frame painting services if you wish to take advantage of it.   Unless something very exotic is used or a major mistake occurs that requires me to replace large amounts of tubing there are no additional fees.  Yes, my course costs more than any other option but here are the benefits.

1.  One on one instruction 100% attention.

2.  Attendance dates are fluid to work best into YOUR schedule.

3.  Tucson easier and cheaper to get to than the other purveyors of framebuilding courses (that is if you have to get on a plane anyways)

4.  Full use of shop, no waiting for other students.

5.  Can build anything within reason and my shop is extremely well equipped.

6.  No extras to deal with, no finding a painter, or paying for odd bits while you are here.

7.  Amazing deals on frame kits and parts for students only.

8.  Lots of great take home stuff, including proprietary frame design software.

9.  The weather in Tucson fall, spring and winter is almost always amazing.  Treat yourself and get out of the cold.

10.  Killer road and MTB riding!

Do I need to know anything before I come for your course?

You do not need any prior experience to participate in our course.   I will teach you all you need to know to use basic hand tools and the safe and efficient use of the various welding and brazing techniques.   If you are experienced in various techniques before the course we can move ahead in these subjects and spend more time on other things.   I have found that beginners can learn just as quickly because they have no pre-conceived notions of how the techniques work and are open to learning.

What is your course schedule?

I give three classes a year.  A Spring,Fall and Winter course.  The exact dates can be modified but generally fall as follows.  Jan/Feb-April May-Oct/Nov.

How do I get there?

Tucson is a medium sized city of about half a million.   We have an international airport here and flights are frequent.  Often it can be cheaper to fly into Phoenix Arizona which is a major flight hub and take the shuttle down to Tucson.  The shuttles last stop is .5 mile from my house and it costs about 22 bucks.  I will pick you up either at the airport when you arrive or at the shuttle stop location.  I do have to say that although many people seem to choose an educational experience based on what is closest to them.  Tucson is much easier to get to than any other option if you have to fly anyways.

Is room and board included?

No,  I am sorry but room and board are not included.  I do provide coffee and pastry every morning.   There are many local supermarkets (including Trader Joes) within walking distance and you are welcome to brown bag it for lunch everyday.  Most people have been staying at the weekly hotel which has a small kitchen to prepare your own meals.

What are working hours in your shop?

The class typically runs from 7:30-8:00am to 5:00-6:00 in the evening. With a .5 to 1 hour lunch break. Nine hours a day on the average. More than this and it becomes evident that students generally become much less productive and may even become unsafe if overly tired.

Do you offer a 3-day TIG only seminar?

Why yes I do!  you can add this to the end of your lugged/fillet brazing course or take this independently from the other two if you wish.  The cost is $600.00 dollars.

Do  you offer a 3-day Lug Brazing or Fillet brazing course.

Why yes I do!  If you are in the area and would just like a extensive primer into lug brazing or fillet brazing I can help.   Nothing can speed the learning process faster than a trained eye to look at what and how you are doing and make recommendations.   If you have no experience, I am willing to help also. Cost is $600.00 dollars.

Will you teach me what I need to know to be a  Pro?

Yes and no.   If your intention is to someday be a professional I will structure the course a little differently so we cover ground on fixture design, necessary tools and more importantly the nature of this business, including marketing, production, tools, insurance etc.    You cannot expect to take a two week course and be anywhere near good enough to sell frames.  It takes time.   I am positive about the future of framebuilding in the U.S.  but in this respect I am opinionated.   For instance, if your idea is to make hyper expensive stainless urban fixed gear bicycles , I am going to tell you there is no market in that and to save your money.   The best way to approach this is to build it as a hobby.  Enjoy yourself.   Make it fun, make it great and if you still love it and people are clamoring to get your product, don’t quit your day job and test the waters.

Do you also offer courses for experienced framebuilders?

Surely,  If your goals are just to learn a little more about detailed lug work.  Pick up fillet brazing or TIG welding or just about anything else you can come up with, I can tailor a course for what  you want to learn in the amount of time you have.

Do you teach fork and stem fabrication?

A fork is the first thing that we build as it reviews almost all the skills and techniques that we will use on our frame and is a great introduction in a small, manageable package. Building a stem would be fairly straightforward for anyone who had completed the class and I have the equipment but so far nobody would have been able to complete a fork/frame and stem in the time allotted and ones welding/brazing must be extremely competent as this part is under high loads and of course failure of a stem equals serious injury whereas many other parts of the frame do not.

What kind of tubing and lugs do we use?

This is a half day discussion and is part of the curriculum.   I will say we use the best available tubing and parts for the job at hand.  I have used tubing and parts from just about every manufacturer there is today.  Part of the course is actually choosing your tube set and parts from my extensive inventory and discussing the merits of them while we choose.    Very light tubing most of the time is not a suitable choice for someone who may have no experience before.   If the design warrants it and you have the requisite experience we can use some of the light, heat treated stuff.

Can I learn how to TIG weld?

Yes you can, but we have to structure the course differently.   TIG welding is by far the most difficult of the three welding/brazing techniques (lug brazing, fillet brazing and Tungsten inert gas)  The course is much more welding related and much less is spent actually constructing a frame.   Personally I think more would be gleamed from taking a lug brazing or fillet brazing course and then a 3-day TIG seminar.

Is it possible to learn all three welding methods Lug, Fillet Braze, and TIG?

The biggest limitation is time. All in all about 100 hours are dedicated to the course work in my class. So far that has shown to be barely enough time to finish a frame and fork for the majority of students packing in three welding procedures and practicing them each enough to be proficient and then make a frame is most likely too lofty a goal to make sure we complete it. If you build a lugged frame we do practice some basic fillet brazing and bronze brazing as some of the features require this method. A fillet brazed class would be predominately fillet brazing of course with some light silver brazing for the sleeves and things that are necessary. TIG welding takes a lot longer to get proficient at

Should I build a lugged frame?

Whether to build a lugged frame or not is up to you. I do believe that building a lugged frame or partially lugged frame gives one the best primer for eventually building other types of frames. In that I mean a person who had only built a TIG welded frame would have a very difficult time building their first lugged bikes. A person who was proficient in lugged building, once they learned how to weld well would have no issue producing a TIG welded bike. The  skill set is wider for a lugged bicycle frame.

Will time allow to fabricate or carve moderately custom lugs?

Most students realize pretty quickly why lugged frames are so much more time intensive than TIG welded frames and most of this is the lug prep and cleanup. One of the advantages of my course is that I really want to show the student how to properly prepare, file and clean up lug work that other courses may not address but it is very easy for many hours to fly by modifying lugs and fall behind in the building procedures. So, the answer is yes, you can make simple modifications to lugs and prepare them well for brazing but heavy modification and or fabrication is not within the time constraints of this class. Add to that the extra difficulty of brazing and cleaning of such lugs and really it would be better to become skilled at basic lug work and then come back for a short primer and practice session on complicated work.

Can I work with Stainless Steel lugs?

Stainless steel can be a difficult material to work with.    It is much harder to cut and file than standard steels and brazing it requires more heat and a faster hand.   If a mistake is made with stainless it won’t be evident right away but will create a joint that will fail catastrophically.   Unless one shows a lot of prior experience, or you would like me to do this portion for you stainless steel lugs are not part of this course.

Can I paint the frame under your supervision?

I may offer paint courses someday. Currently I have only been painting myself for 7 years or so and do not feel confident enough to teach another person appropriately. On the note of what equipment is best. I can give a general overview of the equipment and materials, if we have time not to exceed half a day.

Can I build a touring frame in your course?

Absolutely you can.  I have found though that all the braze-ons that a touring bike needs adds a substantial amount of time to the build.  This takes nearly a day for most students.   This means we have to either hustle a little bit during the rest of it to give enough time for completion.  I may make suggestions to ease the building process as to facilitate this.

Can I build a frame utilizing S & S couplings?

The short answer to this is yes.   Of course, like the other fabrication techniques in this genre (stainless lugs, carving, unusual designs) its really just a matter of time.   If you show good skills in silver brazing and have the time then of course you can install S&S couplings with my supervision.   To be honest though, I have not had a student yet who would have met these two criteria.    Most likely I will have to install them for you after your time here.

Can I build a recumbent in your course?

No.  We cannot build any recumbents or trikes in this course.  The variability of these designs preclude them from being built here.  I just don’t have the fixturing or time to go into it.   With that being said, the same techniques used to build a great lugged or lugless frame carry over very well into recumbent designs.  We also study steering geometry which is applicable to recumbents.  I believe with the information you receive here you could build a recumbent in your own time and know how to do it.

Can I build a downhill  bike with Gagomonsterzilla tires, a jackshaft and 14 inches of travel?

See the above FAQ about recumbents.   We can build straightforward MTB’s but unusual designs with large clearances and unusual design ideas are outside the scope of this course.   It will be all you can do to just build a standard frame.  Trust me on this.   Once again, the techniques you gain will help you realize your goals at a later time.








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