Paul Brodies' Frame Building 101 update...

The second course has come and gone. While the first course sold out with four students, only Mike enrolled in the second. You should have seen the smile on his face when he found out it was only him! I had the option of canceling, but chose not to. I attributed lack of promotion for the shortage of "bums in seats". We now have a marketing plan in place, and the Jan.17 course is already half full. While Mike built his frame, I had time to do a lot of shop improvements. It's good to see and feel a shop "come together". This is the fifth frame building shop for me.

One of my students from the first course is setting up his own shop, and he contracted me to build him a full set of jigs. I enjoyed doing it very much. The photo below is my first (well made..) bicycle frame jig in the background, that has built over 4000 frames. The jig in front is brand new, never used. There is also 25 years between them. The jigs are similar, but the older one is calibrated in inches, and the headtube is offset 2.0". The new jig is slightly more refined, metric, and has an offset of 45mm; more in keeping with current forks, especially road bikes.

So now, there have been five students completing the UFV frame building course. Four of the frames have been road oriented (I include track, touring, and cyclocross under the 700c skinny tire road banner...) and only one dirt (a 26" jump bike).  I would have thought more students would have built mountain bikes, but I was wrong about that. Three of these frames have been fillet brazed, and two TIG welded. Students are finding it easier to learn fillet brazing than TIG welding. If you really want to build a nice TIG frame, it's best to take a TIG course before enrolling in Frame Building 101.

I'm optimistic about the Frame Building courses in 2011. There are (8) scheduled between January and the end of August. See you there?

Paul Brodie

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