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  1. #1
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    More than Interested

    I have lurked here for a while and state this in the most humble way.

    I have a profound respect for you builders and have caught the bug and want to learn to build as well. Not entirely sure to what extent, but I know that i want to give it my best shot.

    I have some sculptural experience and a good working knowledge of wood and metal fabrication. I am an artist by trade and have become stale producing digital imagery and yearn to use my hands once again. Teaching art is my full time job and I see no reason to quit that, so I want to learn and build as time permits. I would love to apprentice during the summer, take a class (way expensive), and begin to acquire tools and the needed materials.

    My approach would be simplistic and purposeful design with an artistic flair, focusing on MTB, then cross, then commuter, then road. Ambitious I know...

    I have found a few classes, but nothing cost effective (my budget). I would love to trade, clean, mop etc. for a chance to learn. Is there a builder close by to Nashville TN that would be up for this?
    Or, where would you point me?

    Thanks

  2. #2
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    Well, sounds like you are on the right track and I could be wrong but I don't think there is anyone really local to you.

    As you know, taking an apprentice is often more time consuming for the teacher than the student. Best bet if you can't go somewhere is to hit your local bike shop/scene and see if there is anyone local to you and begin from there. Show up a lot!

    I have said it before but I get many people coming by saying they want to be the next apprentice. Out of all these years, one guy came by more than 2 times and he became an apprentice. One.... I am not saying this about you but apprenticeship is essentially dead.. Not because the teachers don't want to teach but the students don't want to learn.

    A course may be much more economical than you may think. I have a student here and did a cost break down and I just spent about 600 dollars just for raw materials (including practice materials, fuel, etc). Realize you are walking away with a frame and that is worth a lot. The time input is also immense. I know Doug and I spend approximately 90 hr per student. That is dedicated time. Think about how long you have to apprentice to get 90 actual hours of instruction. Your a teacher. That would be like 4 semesters of one subject at a traditional school. Only you can make that decision that the extra 1400 or so you spend beyond materials for instruction is worth it.

    I would suggest Doug Fattics class. He is economical. Not that far from you and you will learn a ton.
    Last edited by dbohemian; 11-25-2010 at 10:39 AM.

  3. #3
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    The biggest thing you have to learn is how to weld. Be it brazing or TIG/MIG. So check out the local community colleges in your area and take a welding class. The basics are the basics. While your doing that read every thing you can on frame building. Then try for a class. If you have the basics down the classes are so much easier and nicer. You will learn more.

    Tim

  4. #4
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    I don't mean to discourage you...

    ...I really don't. Take a course. See what it's like.
    Last edited by mainlyfats; 11-25-2010 at 06:12 PM.

  5. #5
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    penn_rider, it sounds like you have the right skills and patience to be a frame builder. I'm just a hobby builder with a background of various types of fabrication experience.

    The hardest part is getting started. It sounds like you've been doing your research, but at some point, you just have to start. Make a list of a few items you need to start mitering tubes (tubes, files, vice, etc.), then figure out what type of joinery you want to do, and get the equipment you need and start melting metal!

    As a hobby builder, I enjoy the work at a relaxing pace, and even better, my wife and I get to ride on frames/bikes that I built. I think the fact that I built the frame for her makes her want to ride that bike even more (it's a hardtail singlespeed, but she has geared suspension bikes as well).

    Just do it!
    May the air be filled with tires!

  6. #6
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    Um...

    Dude, it certainly *sounds* like you are trying to be discouraging! I don't think the OP meant he was planning to quit his day job, he just wants to try his hand at building a frame or two and see what happens from there. Nothing wrong with that!

    Penn - just do it. If you read through the FAQ here, and spend some time skimming the archives (both here and at the FB list on phred.org) you'll have a great start. Yes, classes can be expensive - but you come out of the process with A) knowledge, and B) a custom frame that you at least mostly made yourself. Not a bad deal, really.

    Go for it.

    -Walt

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Walt
    Dude, it certainly *sounds* like you are trying to be discouraging! I don't think the OP meant he was planning to quit his day job, he just wants to try his hand at building a frame or two and see what happens from there. Nothing wrong with that!

    Go for it.

    -Walt
    Apologies and amended.

  8. #8
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    I think it's key to try to not over tool at the beginning. You just need some home made jigs, MDF is flat enough, or go jigless. Use tube mitre and do everything by hand/small power tool.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobbotron
    I think it's key to try to not over tool at the beginning. You just need some home made jigs, MDF is flat enough, or go jigless. Use tube mitre and do everything by hand/small power tool.
    I agree. I have a ton of stuff but people are always surprised when I say all you need to get the job done is a bench, vise, files, tube blocks and a straight edge and string.

    Most have some of the other basics around already. Drill, hacksaw, that kind of thing. Yes, it will take you 10x times longer than it would me be the quality can be there.

    The other thing I say is practice your welding joints. Not 5 or 10 but like 100 or 200 times. Try one a night. I am not half bad at fillet brazing and people would ask how I got as good as I did...... Honestly? I wasn't doing that well so I just stopped building and welded samples for probably 100+ hours. Everything is one part knowledge and 10 parts practice.

  10. #10
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    Thanks all, even for the discouraging comments No offense taken,, the world cant be all roses. Yes, I have no plans of quitting my day job. Teaching art/photography is far too important to me, and the break in tuition for a high quality education will mean that my kids will benefit the most.
    I think a class is in my future. Welding to start, then trip to a frame building class. There are a couple of start up builders in Mid Tenn, but may not be ready to accept someone in their shop.

    Until then I will read, draw up some ideas, begin to acquire tools and just have fun.

  11. #11
    the air is thin up here..
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    Quote Originally Posted by penn_rider
    Thanks all, even for the discouraging comments No offense taken,, the world cant be all roses. Yes, I have no plans of quitting my day job. Teaching art/photography is far too important to me, and the break in tuition for a high quality education will mean that my kids will benefit the most.
    I think a class is in my future. Welding to start, then trip to a frame building class. There are a couple of start up builders in Mid Tenn, but may not be ready to accept someone in their shop.

    Until then I will read, draw up some ideas, begin to acquire tools and just have fun.
    Please consider starting a blog with your experience. I'm also looking to go down the same path.

    Thanks

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by penn_rider
    I have lurked here for a while and state this in the most humble way.

    I have a profound respect for you builders and have caught the bug and want to learn to build as well. Not entirely sure to what extent, but I know that i want to give it my best shot.

    I have some sculptural experience and a good working knowledge of wood and metal fabrication. I am an artist by trade and have become stale producing digital imagery and yearn to use my hands once again. Teaching art is my full time job and I see no reason to quit that, so I want to learn and build as time permits. I would love to apprentice during the summer, take a class (way expensive), and begin to acquire tools and the needed materials.

    My approach would be simplistic and purposeful design with an artistic flair, focusing on MTB, then cross, then commuter, then road. Ambitious I know...

    I have found a few classes, but nothing cost effective (my budget). I would love to trade, clean, mop etc. for a chance to learn. Is there a builder close by to Nashville TN that would be up for this?
    Or, where would you point me?

    Thanks
    get lots of hand tools, an angle grinder or 3, an O/A rig, lots of files, a drill press, a nice sturdy bench with a vise, a little mig, chopsaw, a belt sander if your lucky, for the basics. start building **** as you go. if you love it keep going if not give it up. definitely not a bike frame to start with. think about the connections involved in bikes. work your practice projects toward those ends. accuracy in measuring, marking, drilling, cutting and very importantly jigging/fixturing. these fundamentals have little to do with aesthetic design but mean everything. look closely at things that others have built- how and why. if your local CC welding school has an awesome old guy for a teacher or a great tig program, send it.
    you will be able to find a mentor if you are lucky. you will have major problems just walking into someones shop and asking to sweep the floor to make you a master tig welder. do some networking in your area and dont hold yourself to framebuilder or artistes. you may find that in a lot of shops that build stuff that may be boring to you, the people behind that shop have interests that are not so far from your own. tread lightly.

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