Missing the Craft

I miss framebuilding. I make no bones about it. I love damn near every part of the process — and when everything’s happening the way it should, the process of building a frame might be the most rewarding thing I do. (Yes, there are clusterfuck days, and stupid mistakes, and annoying shit that doesn’t seem to go quite right, but I love all of that, too.)

I’ve quit the biz. To be fair, that was the right thing to do — upheaval in my personal life, combined with untreated ADD, and a skillset that wasn’t quite ready to make the leap into full-time building resulted in a rather monumental debacle.

That doesn’t mean I don’t want to take another stab at it — because I do. When the time is right. What I want to do is come back to it in 3-5 years after taking the time to really hone my skillset and improve the speed with which I build. By that time, life should be less insane, and between meds and behavior modification therapy, the ADD should be much less of an issue.

To that end, I’m looking at each year as a series of tasks that I want to accomplish, but I’m not looking past the next calendar year.

For the remainder of 2015, I’d like to finish my cyclocross frameset and get it fully dialed-in and race the shit out of it this fall. I’d also like to start getting my workspace set up again, which will be much smaller and less reliant on things like a mill. (I think I want to stick with hand files.)

In 2016, I plan to do the following things:

  • A bare minimum of 100 fillet-brazed practice joints, hand-mitering all the tubes with a file, and finish them to completion before dissecting them
  • A bare minimum of 100 silver-brazed lug joints, including shoreline finishing practice, before dissecting them
  • Design my fixture in CAD and start gradually ordering parts for it
  • Maybe (depending on whether I finish the fixture), build myself a track frame
  • Stay highly involved over at Velocipede Salon and closely read the hell out of everything written by the big names in the biz

I think that’s a pretty ambitious list. The tubing (basic straight gauge 4130), bronze, and oxy-acetylene should be relatively cheap. The 56% silver is going to be pricey, as always, I’m sure. And I’ll probably just order a fuckton of cheap-assed stamped lugs from China, just to make sure I’m not wasting money.

The plan is to take a much more methodical approach toward getting the process of the joints down. To be faster, better with the heat control, and ultimately not wasteful of material so that finishing times (whether fillet-brazed or lugged) are much lower. I need to be better about overall quality AND faster. Period.

How will I know when I am ready to come back to framebuilding as something other than a personal endeavor? That’s one of my next tasks — define what constitutes “ready” to try this again.

I suspect that this is going to be a large, multi-part series of articles. Stay tuned. 🙂

Image Credits: Alex Cook/.

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