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Doug Fattic Framebuilding Class Update: Day 8-10, Austin, we have a bicycle frame

Posted Dec 13 2008 10:07pm

This article is part of a series I’ve been writing about my experience taking a two week bicycle frame building class from master framebuilder, Doug Fattic.

My frame all brazed up with some lug filing still to do.

My frame all brazed up with some lug filing still to do.

Things moved quickly the last few days. After spending a week and a half working on small parts of my frame and learning brazing techniques, my frame parts came together into a rideable frame in short order.

On Tuesday, I finished brazing and aligning my front triangle and brazed the chain stays to my frame. On Wednesday, I leap frogged Robert and Andrew by choosing prefabricated seat stay tops while they chose the time consuming albeit very cool options of Masi style fluted tops and a triple triangle, respectively. (The triple triangle is created when the seat stays bypass the top of the seat tube and instead attach a bit down the top tube.)

By Wednesday night, my frame was nearly complete. With a day and a half left in class, I got to work filing down my lugs to look more attractive. And I filed and filed and filed. Getting the cast lugs down to smooth lines is very time consuming and part of what makes a hand built custom bikes so special. Doug normally does not spent much time on this for the transportation bikes for his Bicycle Ukraine Project, but this is going to be my bike and my first built frame so I want it to look good and be special.

Andrew opted for the way cool triple triangle design for his seat stays.

Andrew opted for the way cool triple triangle design for his seat stays.

On Thursday with the frame almost complete, I worked on smaller details like the seat stay bridge and kick stand plate. Luckily, Doug has had made several frame parts specifially for Dutch style transportation bikes that are not available from other frame building suppliers. He has offered to supply me with more parts if I continue to build utility bikes.

Robert went with the classic fluted seat stay top made popular by Masi.

Robert went with the classic fluted seat stay top made popular by Masi.

Now that the class is drawing to a close, I’m feeling a certain sense of pride in having accomplished something so complex that I had never done before. I had read some things on frame geometry, but now have a much better understanding. Of course, I had also never brazed before this class, and while by no means am I a master, I feel confident that I can braze without supervision now. I’m also feeling a lot of excitement. I’m excited to get my bike painted and taken for a spin (look for an upcoming review), excited to set up my own framebuilding workshop and excited to build a frame on my own. I’m still uncertain whether this is a hobby or something more (right now I’m leaning towards more.) At this point, I am looking forward to getting back to my family and Austin with its charming lack of snow and sorting things out. No matter what transpires, this has been a blast, has challenged me, and uncovered the artisan part of me I always thought was in there somewhere.

Related posts:

  1. Doug Fattic Framebuilding Class Update- Day 6 & 7, Things coming togetherThis article is part of a series I am writing...
  2. Doug Fattic Frame Building Class Update: Day 2, There will be blood!This article is part of a series I am writing...
  3. Doug Fattic Framebuilding Class Update: Day 3 and 4, Playing with fireThis article is part of a series I’m writing about...
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