start of an Aircraft Spruce order

this is for brake bridges and mitering/brazing practice...i have some Rivendell practice lugs that I don't know the exact tubing sizes for, so I'm hedging my bets by getting all 3 common sizes (25.4mm, 28.6mm, and 31.7mm), with more of the 2 sizes i'll actually be building with.

pulled from

2 ft. of 1/2" x .065" (~1.65 mm) @ $2.75/ft. = $5.50
2 ft. of 1" (25.4 mm) x .035" (~0.89 mm) @ $2.34/ft. = $4.68
6 ft. of 1-1/8" (28.6 mm) x .035" (~0.89 mm) @ $3.15/ft. = $18.90
6 ft. of 1-1/4" (31.7 mm) x .035" (~0.89 mm) @ $2.95/ft. = $17.70
3 ft. of 5/8" (~15.8 mm) x .028" (~0.71 mm) @ $2.75/ft. = $8.25
total = $55.03
total tubing weight: 7.029 lbs.

their 1/2" x .058" (~1.5 mm) is about 50¢ more expensive, even though it's slightly less steel. .058" is the size H. James sells for bridges, but I figure a little extra thickness can't hurt, and it's a little cheaper...why not?

Bringheli/Deda order

This is for all the tubes but the fork blades...from what I hear the 425mm chainstays will build a bike with a 455mm chainstay measurement as long as I stick with long horizontal dropouts. I'm hoping the single bend will be enough for clearance, and I guess I can always add another little bend if necessary.

Qty. / Part Description / Listed Price

1 ZeroUno 28.6 8/5/8 600 Top Tube $13
1 ZeroTre 31.7 9/6/9 650 Down Tube $8
1 ZeroTre 28.6 9/6 650 Seat Tube $9
1 ZeroTre 29.9/16 425 Single Bend Chainstay (pair) $16
1 ZeroUno 16/12.5 .6 560 Conico Seatstay (pair) $15
1 ZeroUno 31.7 1.0 200 Head Tube $6
1 ZeroUno 25.4 2.3/1.55 Steer Tube $10

H. James order

Qty. / Part Description
5 Columbine Quickchainger
1 C-04 Brass rod, 1 lb. pkg
2 1oz. coil 56% silver wire
1 1oz. coil 50N wire
1 HOXRCXFB fork blade (419mm length)

sourcing 4130

1.125" x .035 - $2.82/ft.
1.25" x .035 - $2.85/ft.
.5" x .035 - $1.39/ft.
UPS up to 8 ft.

Aircraft Spruce
1.125" x .035 - $2.35/ft.
1.25" x .035 - $2.70/ft.
.5" x .035 - $2.30/ft.
bargain bag (at least 15 ft. total) - $30

Ceeway order, almost finalized

This is intended to be all necessary small parts for about 5 frames, with some room for error, but only including lugs and dropouts for my 1st frame. The idea is that I could easily/quickly/cheaply get lugs and dropouts from Ceeway after designing each subsequent frame. This way I'll have a little stockpile of all the little specialty trinkets I can't get in the States.

The formatting isn't great. The order is:

Part no./Description/Qty
LB106 OS BB shell 30x17mm CS 1
??? R. Sachs Newvex Crown (non-stainless) 1
LT204C-4 OS 74° long pt. top head lug 1
LT204C-0 OS 60° long pt. bottom head lug 1
LT204C OS 74° long pt. seat lug 1
RE1171 70° 2-eye rear dropout (pair) 1
SLE20-2 Stainless 2-eye front fork end (pair) 1
471 INOX bottle boss M5 stainless dead-ended 40
221 Canti bridge 5
294 Rear pannier boss 10
293 Front pannier boss 10
296 Gear lever boss 10
Circles Fork blade liner 6
360 Bottle boss diamond (stainless?, for INOX?) 40
362 Seat stay reinforcement 20
J+3 Front canti boss (pair) 5
H8 Rear canti boss (pair) 5
287 Pump peg 5
LA47 Slotted cable stop for 16mm tube 10
LA46C1 Slotted cable stop for 30mm tube 10
313C Top-mount BB cable guide set 2
BP2142 Triple cable stop 6
581 Mudguard eye 10
316 16mm top eye, flat (for wrapover-style?) 4
557 Stainless seat bolt 5
448 Frame end adjusters 10
441 Bottle boss paint protector plug 6
725 Bottom bracket paint protector plug 2
723 Head tube paint protector plug 2
724 Seat lug paint protector plug 1
721 Gear lever paint protector plug 2
722 Brake support paint protector plug 3
FrameSaver J.P. Weigle's Frame Saver 1

t. palermo on hand filing procedure

Date: Thu, 14 Apr 2005 22:00:06 -0400
From: Tom Palermo
Subject: Re: [Frame] Tubing notchers ...

Those Harbor Freight things are wack (as in wack bamma). The cheap ones
I've seen don't have a proper tube block or real v-block to hold the
work piece. Instead they have a "Vee" block made from two pieces of flat
plate and a u-strap to clamp the tube down.

I use either a the lug I'm building the frame with or tubemiter.exe to
mark the miter. Then I use a hack saw to chop out about 95% of the
miter. Then I use a half-round bastard cut file (8" or 10" - sometimes
both) to finish the miter. Finally, I take the mating tube, wrap it in
coarse grit emory cloth (this would be about an 80 grit) and pull and
twist across the mitered tube to get the miter nice and dialed. Miters
take about 10 minutes a piece now that I've been doing it for a little
while. Yes, a mill would be nice but a clapped out B-port is $1500. A
nice set of files and a decent hacksaw will do wonders and save you a
bundle of cash. I also think doing something entirely by hand forces the
builder to become intimately familiar with whatever task they are doing
and more than likely, better at it over the long run.

Good Luck,

Tom Palermo

brass/silver filling

Date: Tue, 12 Apr 2005 10:24:26 +1000
From: Geoff Duke
Subject: Re: [Frame] Tubing recommendations ...

I second Omar on this.I read Tim's book before I logged onto this list.I
used silver on the dropouts for my first frame and forks and have done so
on all 7 of the frames I have built since; in the manner that Omar has
described.It can be done,
Geoff Duke

At 05:25 PM 4/11/05 -0700, you wrote:
>Hello Kurt and All--
>I think we need to clear something up. This issue of "filling" with
>sliver. You can successfully fill with silver. I, and others, have
>brazed dropouts with silver and filled the end of the stay just like I
>would do with brass. When I took Tim Paterek's class in 1988, we brazed
>Shimano verticals into slotted stays and blades and filled and filed the
>ends. They were not domed and slotted either. I still have the bike I
>made at Tim's (use it as a loaner) and it has never failed. I think a
>lot if info given on this list as fact, is given by many that have never
>attempted the process. I don't mean to criticize anyone here, but
>regurgitated info is not fact unless you have tried it and you can speak
>to its validity.
>Omar Khiel

more measurements

current bike:
ST C-T: 22 in = 55.88 cm
practical standover: 32 in = 800 mm
CS C-C: 17 in = 43.18 mm

random links, measurements

on touring supplies:

good site for repair/build info

rough measurements
23" trunk
33.5"=850.9 mm pubic bone height
16" arm

according to
the average trunk:inseam ratio is 0.75; mine is 0.69, so i need a shorter top tube.
same story with the arm:inseam ratio

clipped from the same page:
select a stem length "G" noting that a rough guide is as follows: for top tube lengths "L" between 45 to 48cm. choose a stem in the range of 8 to 11cm.; for "L" between 50 and 52cm. choose "G" equal to 10 to 12cm.; for "L" between 54 and 56cm. choose a stem between 11 and 13cm. and for a 58 to 60cm. top tube choose a stem between 12 and 14cm

now i'm looking to
Riv 700c size: 58.5-60

design, 1st draft

To review:
a 700C tourer/tough all-arounder based on the Rivendell Atlantis and my current bike ('06 Bianchi San José). Cantilever brakes, clearances for 28-38 mm tires with fenders, 135 mm rear hub spacing.
I'm 5'11", inseam/pubic bone height 85 cm, ~180 lbs.

Head Tube Angle: 72°
Seat Tube Angle: 72°
Seat Tube C-C: 553 mm
Top Tube C-C: 558 mm
Top Tube Effective:
Top Tube Slope: 2.5°
BB Drop: 80 mm
Chainstay C-C: 455 mm
Fork Offset/Rake: 50 mm
Fork length along steerer: 397 mm

Trail: 60 mm, +/- a couple mm depending on tires
Front Center: 50 mm
Standover, mid-TT: mm

my concerns:
What are the weaknesses of this design?
TT length. with the TT length that seems ideal for my short arms (about 55 cm), toe-clip interference becomes a problem. My solution is a longer TT with a shorter stem, which seems like it'll work fine in theory but I don't have any experience with putting this sort of thing into practice. Maybe it's not a big deal, since we're talking about a cm here.

front center research

From: "FredParr Bicycles" 
Subject: [Frame] front center minimums
Date: Sun, 17 Nov 2002 19:32:38 -0800

Dear James,
I have used as little as 565mm on 700c, depends on how far apart the peda=
ls are (how wide the crank spindle is). How long the toe of the shoe is.=
Whether the rider rides dead center on the pedal or turned in on the pe=
dal, or if he has large or small feet or actual toe clips or not.

Fork offset and bottom bracket drop have no appreciable effect on front c=
enter dimensions. Only what I mentioned above.


From: "tim paterek" 
Subject: Re: [Frame] re: front to center demensions
Date: Sun, 17 Nov 2002 21:06:27 -0800


A front center of around 58 cm is where I have found toe overlap to
disappear. Why
are you concerned about toe overlap? There are only two instances I can
think of
in which toe overlap might cause problems with 700c bikes: 1.Touring bikes
-- Tourists
like to stop a lot and make U turns to take a picture or look at something
they missed.
When making U turns, toe overlap can cause a rider to fall from grazing
the front
wheel. In this situation, minor injury can result, but it probably will
not be a
life threatening event. 2.Track sprint bikes -- Because of the strategies
used by
track sprinters (track stands and jockeying the bars to stay up) a track
racer might
take a tumble due to toe overlap. Again, minor injury could result, but
not a life threatening event.

If a rider who has jack-knifed during an accident says that he went down
his toe caught the front wheel -- it would be more accurate for him to say
that he
was in the process of having an accident and happened to graze the front
wheel with
his toe on the way down to the pavement. It is virtually impossible to
turn the front
wheel far enough at average riding speed to have the toe come in contact
with the
front wheel. This can only be done at speeds of less than 5 mph.


Tim Paterek


From: LymeByker(AT) (Thomas Mohats)
Subject: RE: [Frame] re: front to center dementions
Date: Mon, 18 Nov 2002 06:27:33 -0800 (PST)

WRT front center, toe-to-wheel clearance...

Don't forget to allow for fenders and a choice of front tire
width/profile, as well. This has always been a difficulty in my
selection of touring bikes, and is pretty important when negotiating 24%
grades on rutted Forest Service roads where low-speed, zig-zag climbs
are the norm. "Minor tumbles" may not be life-threatening, but a
bruised, scraped elbow, knee, and shoulder are sure an irritation on a
back-country tour.

Chiming in,

Eugene, OR


found: 3 powdercoaters

Quality Coatings
(410) 590-5600
180 Penrod CT
Glen Burnie, MD 21061

A F I Powder Coating Inc
8844 Washington Blvd # B, Jessup, MD
(410) 888-9228

Premier Powder Coating
(301) 772-3200
8521 Rainswood Dr
Hyattsville, MD 20785


From: Doug Fattic <>
To: Conor Buescher <>,
       framebuilderslist <>
Subject: Re: [Frame] Blast Media
Message-ID: <>
In-Reply-To: <>
Content-Type: text/plain;charset="US-ASCII"
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
Precedence: list
Message: 2


Like Curt Goodrich, I also use aluminum oxide 80 grit.  It works fine but is
probably not the very best.  I've heard that garnet (spelling?) is a little
better but more expensive.  Special plastic media has been developed that
has certain advantages.  You can blast the frame and not hurt chrome for
example.  I've never bothered to experiment with it since I have to clean my
whole system and I don't want to be bothered.  But if starting out fresh, I
would certainly check that out at your local supplier.

I've mentioned this before on this list (I think) but I'm not much of an
archive checker.  Since I do a lot of painting I have good equipment for
these jobs.  My cabinet is 5' X 4'.  This is a nice size.  When I started,
my cabinet was 5' X 3' and that was too small.  I also use a pressure
blaster rather than a suction blaster.  It's a major piece of equipment.
Next to the blasting cabinet is a separate thing (which is bigger than my
blasting cabinet) that recycles all the media from the blast cabinet.  It
sucks the media into a cyclone separator where the dust goes one way and the
good media drops through a vibrating screen into a holding tank.  When the
foot valve is released, the media now drops into the pressure tank.  When
the foot valve is activated, a cone plugs the hole into the holding tank and
the media is fluidized like quicksand with air pressure through a special
stone.  It comes flowing out through the hose into the blast cabinet through
the right sized nozzle.  The advantage of a pressure blaster is that I can
use 40 to 50 pounds of air pressure instead of 80 like a suction one
typically needs.  More than that, a lot more media comes out at lower
pressure and so does less damage and cleans or removes paint much faster.

A suction blaster works on the principle of a T coming off of the air hose.
This creates a suction that pulls the media from the bottom of the blasting
cabinet where it is mixed with all the crud that was heavier and didn't go
out with the dust.  This system is fine but, it would be like comparing Ergo
shifters to old down tube friction shifters.  Once you get used to the
advantages, you won't want to do it the old way.

Of course great quantities of air is needed to power these things. I've got
2 Quincy 5 hp two stage compressors that don't quite keep up with the air
requirements.  I can't get more electricity to the shop so I'm maxed out.

The main point of this post is to check with your local sandblast supplier
to ask about plastic and other types of media but aluminum oxide works fine.

Doug Fattic
Niles, Michigan

> Hi,
> I've been thinking about getting either a blasting cabinet or a siphon
> blaster to use in the shop and was wondering what kind of media do
> people like to use.
> I was thinking walnut shells, but I thought I would check with the
> more experienced users.
> Thanks,
> Conor Buescher
> Vendetta Cycles

touring frame advice

Date: Tue, 23 Nov 2004 08:45:21 -0500
From: "John Clay" <jmedlockclay(AT)>
Subject: [Frame] RE: Touring frame advice

Hey Cliff;

I'm glad to have provided some food for thought.

>*Perhaps I haven't ridden a slack HT bike with proper trail but most of them
>seem to require some work getting in and out of turns. My 1st frame is a 74
>deg, 43mm rake (700x23) it almost predicts the turn before I enter it. Then
>again most rigid mtbs with slicks and the typical 71 deg handle quite well.
>I'm thinking maybe 72.

Anything reasonable can perform nicely. If 72+559+1.9+rake with fenders
doesn't cause toe overlap it would be just dandy. A very nice compromise.
I use 70 because I have a soft spot for it (and it's what I have) but my
latest road is 72+622 with 45mm rake or thereabouts if I remember
correctly. It handles very nicely on the road. BTW - I use fenders for
touring. They make the journey much nicer if it gets nasty.

I really would encourage you to do whatever it takes to eliminate overlap
on a tourer. Not sure if I mentioned this to you before but touring is
different than typical recreational riding. The rider workload is higher:
everything is unfamiliar, the bike is loaded like a pig, you're tired,
wet, cold - grinding up a steep gravel road in your 16" gear doing
everything you possibly can to stay moving and upright while wondering if
you're in the right place, steering corrections are huge, gross and adhoc
- the last thing you need is to have to time them with your pedal stroke.
And then you'll do it again, and again. You don't need to fall and the car
isn't back at the trailhead. Whatever frontend geometry/wheel choice it
takes to eliminate overlap is where I'd be. You can easily adapt if it's
less than your otherwise ideal design.

Your comments about FC are well taken. I have legs
>of someone 6'2" but a torso of someone 5'8" so bike fit has always been a
>little tricky. I run 175 cranks but prefer a 56cm or shorter TT. This is
>one reason I'm going 559.

559 makes all kinds of sense.

>*You're right on the BB drop. I'm going with 52 since 58 would make it too
>low with anything lower than 1.5s.

The red bike has something like 30mm drop, or was it 25? Less than I'd
design but the up side is that I rarely worry about catching anything in
the pedals. Not saying you should use 30 just giving some additional

>*The SS mounting kind of goes back to whether I want a full tourer or a mix
>of other design elements.

If you really think you'll tour I'd suggest no, or very few compromises.
You can build another!

FWIW I did do a FEA on a 18" c-c mtb frame with
>the SS at 15". I modeled a 28.6/0.9 SG ST with 400lbs on the saddle at full
>extension. This gave ~11mm deflection (mostly back but some down) at the
>saddle and ~50 ksi total stress which occurred right below the SS where
>seatpost ended. The geometry of this design is not as extreme and I think
>would result in less stress, even reducing to 0.8 wall thickness. BUT, this
>does not take into account buckling and a buckled ST would put a rather
>quick end to a tour. I know Don Walker does this on track frames with a 0.6
>ST (I think) without problems. Perhaps I should save this for another
>project and just use a sus saddle.

Interesting. I had not considered that mode of loading the ST. My gut
reaction is that I'd still use a conventional seat cluster arrangement and
a long enough seat post to lessen stress on the ST where the post ends
BUT: I've done no professional structural analysis and I've never analyzed
bicycle frame loads. That is most interesting. How long was the seat post
insertion? Do you know of ST failures due to seatpost loads?

>*Yea, my 2nd frame is a mtb with a sus fork. I went with 31.7x28.6x28.6 and
>it rides real nice but a bit wobbly at times. My next suspended mtb will
>have a 35 DT but I may keep the 28.6 TT
>*A 28.6 steerer might be good and I wouldn't have to buy a 1" cutter for the
>HT. Plus the steerers are generally longer, True temp give 40mm more on the
>*Yea I think my bar height has risen a few mm every year. For touring I'd
>like something level with the saddle. I tried to get a "north road" bar
>from harris but the nitto stock is depleted and yet to be replenished.

Try everything well in advance of departure so you can make changes. I use
the sprung Brooks B17 - and I'm not a retro grouch, not usually. I tried
it as a last ditch attempt to get something that didn't hurt. I'd tried
everything else. Money back guarantee from Wallingford and I had nothing
to lose. It has made all the difference. Were it not for that saddle I'd
be back on recumbents. That's where I get much of my ride compliance.

>*I checked out your pics, looks like some beautiful riding.

As little touring as I've done and I can say that that kind of riding just
knocks my socks off. There is nothing in the world that compares.

I didn't know
>who was who though and which was you bike. One caption read "john's jamis".

I'm on the red bike (the one that you won't see having the tire repaired).
~'85 Jamis fillet brazed Dakar. Heavy, durable, powercam rear brake, Troy
Courtney fork. Hanging from Joe's in Tallahassee for a long time. Nobody
wanted it. I love it. It's the one bike I'll keep forever, even when I
replace it with a tourer of my own construction.

While you're collecting parts you might look for a set of cranks with a
58mm inner bolt circle. I'm a huge proponent of a 20x34 low gear. The
crank on the Dakar has 20/32(or 34)/44 and for touring and it's sweet.
Thought about a 46 but I'd only spin it out down hills. No sense there,
for me. This arrangement gives 3 useful ranges with enough overlap so you
don't have to thrash the front der back and forth if on the edge of a range.

Lots of brazeons, with reinforcing diamonds where applicable.

I'll include fork crown shoulder bottle bosses so I can attach a low front
bag/map case support like on the old rando bikes. My bar bag is pretty
high - no huge problem but lowering it can't hurt and I might not have to
use reading glasses to focus on the map.

I'd be interested to see what you ultimately cook up.

Good luck!


1st frame account from

From: Orin Eman <orin(AT)>
Subject: [Frame] First frame (long)
Date: Thu, 5 Jul 2001 01:00:48 -0700 (PDT)

I've been slacking too long about writing up the adventures of
making my first frame.

Towards the end of last year, I decided to go take a welding
class at a local college, for reasons more than just bicycles.
So, at the beginning of January, I started the class. We started
with safety and personal safety equipment - for this course,
the passing depended mainly on turning up to class and being safe,
actually welding something being of secondary importance.

We started off with oxy-acetylene welding. How to check the torch,
set the regulators, light the torch, turn it off etc.. I get some
sheet metal welded fairly well by the end of the first night.
I learn that filler rods stay hot a long time after I lean on
one that I'd put on the bench and it burns through my shirt
and makes a mini-dent in my arm - fortunately only a 3/32" rod.

A few classes later, some want to move on to TIG, so I follow,
to see what the fuss is about - what's the big deal with TIG?
The instructor demos it and mostly, I can't see a darn thing
with others and helmets in the way. We are loaned the removable
parts for the TIG torch and two of us share a booth. We can
hardly get an arc between us. It turns out the high frequency
start feature of the machine is broken... setting it to
continuous (usually only used with aluminium and AC) works
and we are off... to the grinder mostly to regrind the tungsten
electrode after dunking it in the weld pool. My first attempts
at a bead wander at funny angles due to poor visibility, but
I get better. You get up real close to the arc - only a few
inches between the arc and your helmet to see well. Gloves
are essential to stop burns from the UV light from the arc.
It will sneak up you shirt sleeves if you aren't careful then
you wonder where the sunburn on the inside of the forearm
came from.

After I while with the TIG, I decided to try some bicycle type
joints. I got some .065" tubes from a local steel supplier
some hole saws and cheap ($30 Harbor Freight) tubing notcher.
I did a 1" tube at 73 degrees to a 1 1/4" tube. After a night
of this, I ended up with a piece of 1/14" tube with 1" tubes
sticking out at strange angles. Only one hole that I blew
in the tubes is still in evidence. I also had a 1 1/4" tube
at 90 degrees to a plate that the 'tubing monster' could
slip into. I took this home... the next evening, when I
got home, the 'tubing monster' is sitting in the tube/plate
with coffee mugs hanging off its arms!

065 tube being rather, thick, I ordered some 049 and 035 chromoly
and start working down to the 035. Eventually I succeed with
some 3/4" 035 tube to the 1 1/4" 065 tube. The instructor
suggests we destructively test it. The big tube is clamped
in the bench vice and we put a pipe over the small tube and pull.
I hang on the pipe and nothing happens. The instructor gives
up... The big tube is slipping in the vice, so the pipe
goes on the vice handle and the 1 1/4" tube is now squished
down to more like 7/8". Finally, with the pipe back on the
small tube, something breaks and the 065 tube tears. I'm happy
with the amount of abuse required to break the joint.

It's now near the end of the quarter and the instructor thinks
I should make a frame, so I sign up for another quarter and place
a call to Henry James... I chose True Temper RC2 tubing
for all but the seat tube where I decided the RC2 tube was
too thin for my skills and chose the AVR externally butted
tube instead. (Now both are called 'Verus' by True Temper
and my frame sports a pretty gold Verus sticker.)

A box of tubes, dropouts, brazeons etc. arrives as the second
quarter begins. I have fork blades to rake, dropout plugs
to file, tubes to miter and so on. Another trip to the local
steelyard gets some angle iron to make a fork/rear triangle jig.
I make the jig to rake the fork blades out of 3/4" ply from
plans that Henry James supplied.

Optimistically expecting that the frame will turn out OK, I
place an order to Total Cycling for a Campy Daytona groupset.
When it arrives I find I'll have the pleasure of doing a
front derailleur brazeon. Good thing I found out this early!

In class, I start brazing practice for the forks and brazeons.
(I had ordered practice kits from Henry James.) I made messes
for a while, but things come together... and stay together eventually.

I made a paper drawing of the forks. I got the rake of the
blades right by laying the blades on the drawing after bending
them and bending more if necessary. With two pieces of angle
iron, some bar stock, threaded rod and lots of 1/4" bolts,
I made a jig for the forks. I used u-bolts to hold the
steerer down to two pieces of bar that went perpendicular to it.
the bars were bolted to the angle iron that ran parallel to the
steerer. Two more pieces of bar provided uprights to hold
the threaded rod that simulated the axle. Rake was set by the
height of the threaded rod above the angle iron, adding for
the thickness of the bar and half the thickness of the steerer.
After finally brazing the blades in, and setting the spacing
at the dropouts, a freshly built wheel centered perfectly.
Better than I had expected!

On to the main triangle... well, some of it was done inbetween
operations on the forks. I started with the seat tube.
This merely has to be square and centered on the BB shell.
I accomplished this with a simple bar clamp... clamp,
square it up, tack weld it, check for squareness then
complete the weld, alternating sides to minimize distortion.

Then the down tube. This needs the angle between the seat tube
and down tube to be correct as well as being square to and
centered on the BB. Also, it needs some hand filing to clear
the existing welds on the seat tube. After plenty of hand filing,
it was ready and again, the bar clamp was enough to hole it square
for tack welding.

The head tube to top tube was next and was the joint I'd practiced
before. With a decent miter, it was just a matter of positioning
it the right length along the head tube (actually not a critical
position since I'd planned for a 20mm head tube extension and some
extension at the seat tube - a couple of mm wouldn't matter here).

Now, the hard part came - tacking the two halves of the main
triangle together. At this point, I finished filing the
miter on the down tube where it meets the head tube. The
top tube was ready to go. Again, the trusty bar clamp comes
into use to hold the two halves together. This was the hardest
to clamp as the tubes are at an angle rather than square like
the BB joints. I believe something slipped before tacking
since I had to some twisting prior to the final welding...
and required some cold setting afterwards.

Now for the rear triangle... "the chain stays look like you
clamped them in a vice..." Exactly. I wasn't going for beauty,
but tire clearance. I rearranged the angle iron I'd used for
the forks to make a jig for the rear triangle. Two uprights
and a threaded rod to hold the dropouts, two uprights and
threaded rod to clamp the BB. The bottom of the BB sat on top
of the angle iron and could slide back and forth a little,
making chainstay length non-critical. The BB drop was set
by the uprights that held the threaded rod/dropouts and was
the critical dimension on this jig (other than everything
being square of course). I spent so much time at the drill
press making this jig that the instructor was joking that it
was welding class, not machining class...

With the stays brazed to the dropouts, I hand filed the chainstays
to fit the BB then moved on to fitting the seatstays to the
seat tube. Getting these to behave was frustrating and
eventually I TIG tacked them together at the top so I could
fit them as one piece. Now I made the mistake of using a
different TIG machine for the chainstays and seatstays.
The results weren't pretty, but they were functional. The
top of the seatstays are somewhat ugly. A little cold setting
(stand on one side and pull up on the other and a rear wheel
centers perfectly). One issue I had thought of and didn't
solve was getting the dropout slots parallel. They lined up
without help for me, but I'd like to know what I should have done.

Before going on, it was time for some machining. The local
Performance bike shop helped with machining the fork crown
race seat, chasing the BB threads, facing the BB and facing/reaming
the head tube for an amount I may not disclose ;)

Now I was ready for brazeons. Yes, I hadn't drilled the tubes
for water bottle brazeons, so I had to find a right-angled
drill attachment. With the help of spring loaded clamps from
Home Depot (they have plastic covers that I removed), this
went easy enough for all but the cable stops. A BB and cranks
were installed long enough to get the position of the front
derailleur brazon marked on the tube. The clamp held the
brazeon perfectly and the silver flowed nicely, though I
used a little too much (actually, a common problem with my
brazing, I had to do quite a bit of filing/sanding to remove it).
The only real mistake with the brazeons was the rear cable
stop on the top tube. It digs in my shoulder when I carry the
bike up the stairs to my apartment.

Of course, the bike got built up and test ridden now. It required
a trip to the Bikesmith in Seattle to ream out the seat tube,
the only 'machining' step that hadn't been done. (Val was very
observent in noticing that the bike had no paint ;)

Finally, paint. Matt Houle responded to my request here on the
list and arranged for it to be powder coated - thanks Matt!

I've been doing longer and longer rides on it - so far I've trusted
it to 27 miles from home and it seems to be holding together.
In fact, my money is on the seat binder bolt being the first
thing to break.


PS, the dimensions:

ST 57.5 C-T
TT 55
SA 72.5
HA 72.5
BB drop 7.5
CS length 43.5 (wheel all the way back)
Fork rake 4.3
Head tube extension 2cm
Clearances for 700C wheels with long reach brakes.

damin rinard on forks and fork length


fork building advice from the issimo

Date: Sat, 13 Mar 2004 20:50:11 -0500
Subject: Re: [Frame] Details Re: Brazing crown to blades??
From: Richard M Sachs <richardsachs(AT)>

after each blade is finished brazed, try waving the torch
up and down on the outside of the fork for about 10 seconds.
that should help them walking back "outwards" during the
cool-down period.

"John Clay" <jmedlockclay(AT)> writes:
> I just finished brazing fork number 1. When complete I discovered
> that the spacing was 95mm, not 100 as it was on the jig. The error
> is symetrical. I think I know why but would be interested in knowing
> if the experts agree.
> 1.. preheated the crown's fork blade sockets pretty uniformly all
> around their perimeter, then
> 2.. preheated the inside of the blades, and the long fork crown
> tang, much more than the outside - didn't heat the whole fork blade
> all the way around to the distance that the tang extends
> 3.. the corrolary is that I started by flowing the tangs first and
> then worked around to the outside of the sockets
> I think that #2 blew it and that I should have heated each blade the
> same distance out from the crown, all around the perimeter and then
> flowed the joints, probably from the outside, not the tang side.
> Am I right or wrong?
> John Clay
> Tallahassee, FL

a good thread on designing 'cross bikes

From: "Mike Zanconato" <bikes(AT)>
Subject: RE: [Frame] cx questions too
Date: Sat, 17 Sep 2005 09:30:18 -0400

I agree with Bob. I use 7.3 cm drop, and 72-72.5 HT angles with 4.5-4.8
cm rake. I shoot for 6 cm trail. Makes for a nimble race bike.

I go a little shorter on my forks, around 385-390 axle to crown. It
helps get the DT/HT angle closer to 60 degrees. I don't mind bending the
lug, but I would rather go to 58.5 degrees than 57.5 degrees. I also
think the shorter blades help reduce brake chatter. That could be in my
head though. I still get plenty of clearance to the bottom of the crown.

Have fun!

Mike Zanconato
Zanconato Custom Cycles

-----Original Message-----
From: framebuilders-bounces(AT)
[mailto:framebuilders-bounces(AT)] On Behalf Of Bob Brown
Sent: Friday, September 16, 2005 3:01 PM
To: Kurt Andersen; framebuilders(AT)
Subject: Re: [Frame] Re: [Frame cx questions too

Personally, I like my 'cross bikes to be very close to my road geometry.
I see no reason whatsoever for less BB drop on a 'cross bike these days,
I use 75-80mm. Fork length is in the 395-400 ballpark depending on how
much tire clearance the customer wants. My experience is the best
handling bikes are pretty much road frames with more tire clearance, and
a slightly slacker head angle (72.5 usually). Watch your cable routing,
so you keep cables and stops away from area's that contact the rider
when shouldering. A downtube with no cables can be nice since many
riders pick the bike up by the downtube, but that's more a matter of
personal preference.

Bob Brown

Bob Brown Cycles LLC
St. Paul, MN
----- Original Message -----
From: "Kurt Andersen" <andersens(AT)>
To: <framebuilders(AT)>
Sent: Friday, September 16, 2005 1:39 PM
Subject: [Frame] Re: [Frame cx questions too

> Hi all, Also on the CX questions, how high do you like to make the BB?

> What drop do you use to get that height with cross wheels? Any other
> specs different than a road bike? Thanks, Kurt
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Tom Palermo" <tom(AT)>
> To: <framebuilders(AT)>
> Sent: Friday, September 16, 2005 12:16 PM
> Subject: [Frame] Cyclocross fork length question
> > All,
> >
> > For those of you who have built or build cross framesets, how long
> > do you typically make your forks (ie. the axle to crown length)? It
> > seems like most production bikes hover around 395mm. Do you also use
> > this length when building a lugged cross frame?
> >
> > Thanks,
> > Tom
> >
> > --
> > Tom Palermo/Frame Builder
> > tom(AT)
> >
> >
> > Palermo Bicycles
> > handcrafted steel bicycles & frame repairs
> > 9217 Baltimore Blvd.
> > College Park, MD 20740
> >
> >
> > _______________________________________________
> > Subscribe/unsubscribe or retrieve password at:
> >
> > Archives:
> > Archive Search:

brazing safety/technique

from Damon Rinard


I collected the following information from various sources on the net
prior to brazing up my first frame. The bulk of it comes from the
framebuilders e-mail list (

Safety Advice

1. NEVER transport oxygen or acetylene tanks without the screw-on
cover in place. If the acetylene valve were to break off, there would
be two risks: 1.iminent danger of explosion 2.death by inhaling the
gas. If the oxygen valve were to break off, you would have an unguided
missile that could go crashing through concrete walls and ricochet
back and forth for nearly a half mile before stopping. (Not to mention
what the initial concussion would do to you.)

2. NEVER run your acetylene line pressure above 15 psi. Acetylene
becomes unstable above 15 psi and can ignite explosively simply from
the compression caused by rolling a heavy cart over the hose.

3. Don't bleed your acetylene tank down to nothing before exchanging
it. Doing this will allow acetone to get into your lines, diaphragm,
and regulator. This could cause hoses to break down and the resulting
"sludge" could impair the proper function of the regulator.
Theoretically, it is not possible to drain the acetylene to nothing
because of the way it is released from the tank. There will be a point
at which you will think the tank is down to nothing and half an hour
later -- voila -- you have a healthy flame again. You can do this many
times over and the flame seems to be good after each half hour wait.
The first time it happens, you have drained the tank too low. Try to
exchange your tank before going under 15 to 20 psi.

4. Don't drain your oxygen tank down to nothing. Doing this could
allow the acetylene to seep into the oxygen tank because of the lack
of back pressure. Newer systems use check valves and flashback
arrestors to minimize the possibility of this problem occurring. At
any rate, any minute amount of acetylene in the oxygen tank is
dangerous. Try to exchange your oxygen tank before it goes below 20 or
25 psi.

5. Avoid storing your tanks for long times without exchanging them.
All tanks have an expiration date stamped on the top by the valve. If
you get stuck with an expired tank, you're screwed! If you take them
in before the expiration date, the vendor has to pay for the
hydrostatic pressure testing. Expired tanks could develop a variety of
problems such as moisture build-up or rust inside. I believe the ICC
requires tanks to be re-tested every five years.

6. Remove dented acetylene tanks from service. The spot where the dent
occurs is where the sponge-like core is damaged and the acetylene in
that spot will not be properly in solution and hence will not be

7. NEVER leave full tanks in an unattended vehicle on a hot day. The
pressure increase from the hot sun beating down on the car could cause
a devastating explosion. (Your welding vendor may have pictures of the
remnants of these explosion posted in their show room.)

8. Always secure tanks being transported from falling down and rolling around.

9. Tanks, by law, are supposed to be chained in place to prevent them
from falling down. Either have them chained against the wall or
secured into a stable welding cart.

10. Always use a striker to start your flame. After using a match, the
head could still be red hot. Throwing that match away could cause a
fire elsewhere in the room. AND, when the room is already somewhat
filled with smoke and fumes AND your vision is cut by tinted lenses,
you may not notice a fire in the room until it is too late.

11. Remember acetylene is alway turned on first and turned off first
during a welding/brazing session.

12. Only open your acetylene valve about 1/2 turn. If there is an
emergency, shut down the acetylene before doing anything else. Opening
the acetylene valve all the way will slow you down drastically when
you want to get the flame turned off. AND, if you use a T wrench on
your acetylene valve, ALWAYS leave the T wrench on the valve. You will
be in trouble if there is an emergency and you're digging in a drawer
for a T wrench to turn off the acetylene.

13. Always keep your torch tips clean. A dirty tip does not dissipate
heat efficiently. Also, incandescent particles could get lodged in the
orifice of a dirty tip and cause problems with the efficient burning
of your gases.

14. Shut the main valves of the tanks, bleed your lines and
regulators, and close the secondary valve at the end of your work day.

Brazing - Advice from Tim Paterek, Author of The Paterek Framebuilding Manual

"I always instruct beginners to keep their flame tangent to the
surface of the tubes so that they are blowing excess heat off into
thin air. You can hover 1/16' above the surface of the steel all day
and never overheat if your excess heat is blowing into thin air. If
you need a sudden blast of heat on your work, then tilt your elbow to
angle the flame toward the joint more. You can easily tilt and swing
the torch tip to control your heat.

I also instruct beginners to aim their flame down the V of the joint
rather than to point toward one tube or the other too much. You can
always tilt when you need more heat on one tube or the other.

Another technique I use is to build webs after laying down a
micro-fillet. These webs stabilize the joint and also act as dams to
build the fillet against - they prevent your fillet from falling on
the floor. There is a particular order in which the webs should be
built and I covered that in my book.

In a nutshell, finish the sides of the joint first to stabilize the
angle. Then build a web on the obtuse side of the joint to counter the
tremendous pulling power the acute side of the joint will have. Then
build the web on the acute side. Then fill in the quarters." - Tim

question answered re: BB spindle length

Date: Wed, 10 Nov 2004 18:18:39 -0800 (GMT-08:00)
From: sjoc(AT)
Subject: Re: [RBW] Sugino XD crank

I remember discussing with Grant the factors ... if my ever-fading memory
doesn't fail me.
This is by no means the exclusive list, just a few cents to the pot.

1. Whether the rear chainstays flare (like the Atlantis which accepts
wider tires) would call for more clearance and hence 118.

2. If the rear chainstays are straighter, then size of the chainrings you
plan to use factors in. For instance 52-42-30, then the 113 might not
clear the chainstay, whereas a 46-36-26 would.


-----Original Message-----
From: Todd Guess <yoursisterscar(AT)>
Sent: Nov 10, 2004 12:57 PM
To: Riv List <rbw(AT)>
Subject: [RBW] Sugino XD crank

I am setting up a Sugino XD crank with a Shimano UN73 bottom bracket.
The Sugino specs say that a 113 or 118 spindle length will work. What
would the difference be, and what are the reasons why I would choose
one size over another?

Thanks a bunch

Todd "tapping the collective knowledge" Guess
in Columbia, MO
RBW mailing list

fork alignment from the list

From: Andrew R Stewart
Sent: Sunday, May 14, 2006 2:04 PM
Subject: How to Align A Fork on the Cheap

Daniel- Forks need to be aligned on three axis's. Side to side, twist
and blade length. I usually do  most of twist then most of the side to
side then most of blade length. Then repeat until all the axis's are
good. For hobby needs a well trued and dished wheel (of the size the
fork uses), a ft. axle cut in half and a small diameter tube are all the
"gauging" tools you'll use.

Clamp steerer in vice. Place the cut axle in the drops. The cones, lock
nuts and axle nuts are in the usual positions on the axle (a solid one,
not QR). When tightened in place the axle sides will align themselves
with the drops' angulation and the axle's cut ends might not align, as
one side points where it's drop's angulation makes it point and the
other side does it's pointing. It is easy to twist each drop to allow
the cut axle ends to align (if you did use a QR axle a sighting down the
axle's inside length would show no misalignment). Next take the small
tube and place it into the drops (having the fork parallel to the ground
with the backside up helps here) and place a rule on the blades right up
next to the crown. Stand in line with the fork and sight along the two,
now, straight surfaces noting any nonparallelness between them. This is
the twist from the crown to the drops. A lever arm placed on either side
of the drops/end of blades will allow bending the two blades so that the
two straight surfaces will be parallel to each other. This will also
average out the differing rake each blade had. Don't worry if one blade
has more curve then the other, the only points that matter for the fork
to be straight are the crown/steerer and the drops. Having corrected
blade twist will recreate a bit of drop to drop nonparallelness. So
repeat the cut axle drop twist alignment and recheck the blade twist

The side to side is the coolest process. take the small tube and wrap
tape around it a few cm from one end. Wrap enough to form a spacer/plug
that fits down into the steerer as it just starts to taper (butt). Wrap
another ring of tape along the tube's length so that this ring is just
inside the steerer's top end and also snug. You have just made a
sighting tube. You can look down it's internal length and "spot" the
steerer's center past the steerer's ends. Place the wheel in the drops,
place the valve hole under the crown so that you can sight down the tube
and through the valve hole. You will see the rim's spoke face near the
label. Make sure that you hold the rim centered between the blades right
up by the crown and see where the sighting tube spots the steerer's
center on the rim's face. (You could mark on the rim's face a center
line or just use an areo rim). Now you can make corrections to the drops
side to side placement, their spacing and the blade length. With this
set up your line of sight is the diameter of the wheel, length of
steerer and a bit of the tube's poking out past the steerer's end.
Rotating the sighting tube in the steerer and repotting the rim's center
corrects for the sighting tube's nonalignment. Side to side and spacing
is simple bending, blade length is done by filing the axle slot deeper.

You'll se that as you do one procedure that it effects the others. I'll
do each a few times slowly reducing the misalignment to a degree that
I'm comfy with. Drop out alignment tools (Campy "H") help quicken things
but really it is the eyes and brain that matter here.

This is how I've done my forks for a long time, with only minor changes.
Now I have a Brignelli fork clamp for my flat surface and when I get it
set up and use it I'll let you all know about it. Andy S.

two new files (the non-metal kind)

i've uploaded a couple things i've been working on for a while. neither is complete, but both will be of help to someone designing and building a frame for the first time.

1st is a revised and appended version of Brent Hardy's bikecalc, an Excel spreadsheet that does all the math of frame design. perfect for quickly trying out design options. fun to play around in. i added a trail calculator and a simple form to determine fork rake. equations are from Josh Putnam's excellent steering geometry page.

bikecalc 1.1 (90k .xls)

next up is the parts list I've spent the past few weeks on. it's meant to be a survey of sources and costs for everything needed to build a frame, from files to flux to framesaver....oodles of data. i'm a total excel junkie. it's almost sad.
there's one sheet called A vs. B...the idea was to price a bare-bones frame and the frame i want to build, and see how much the difference would be. still working on it. this was part of my quest for funding, which has expanded to include the option of a student loan (not just for bike building, but equipment and materials throughout college).
my latest effort has been looking for sources for tools (all kinds of files, emery cloth, squares, rules, yada yada) and brazing stuff (flux and silver). at this point, McMaster-Carr has my vote, especially since someone told me their prices include shipping. and they have, like, everything, dude.
as big as this thing has gotten, there's a lot left to do, so i'll update until i'm done with it.

parts list (90k .xls)

check these out, add something, let me know what you think.

drawing to do list AND fork height data

headset lower stack height
crown height
fork height

fork heights - axle to crown - with listed max. tire width where known
pulled from Quality Bicycle Products catalog
Surly LHT (touring, 42mm w/f*, 45mm w/o) - 390 mm
Surly Cross (45mm w/f*) - 400 mm
Surly Pacer (28mm w/f*, 32mm w/o) - 376 mm
Tange Hybrid - 403 mm
True Temper Alpha-Q (cross) - 395 mm
Winwood muddy carbon (cross/lt. touring; 44mm) - 395 mm
Winwood carbon cross (cross/lt. touring; 44mm w/f*) - 398 mm
*with fenders

fenders take roughly 3 mm extra clearance
i want the greatest versatility possible, so i think i'll go for 400mm fork height
plugging all my numbers into bikecalc (from Brent Hardy, email me for a copy), i get an appreciation for the scientific art of bike design; it's impossible not to compromise somewhere.  in particular, the BB shell angles are giving me trouble--the 1st measurement in specs, the angle from DT to ST--they're generally 60°, and i apparently need about 3° less.  i don't have my exact measurements plugged in yet, though, so it's still coming along.
playing with lengths and angles to compromise standover, lug angles, DT-TT interference.

filing/mitering from archives

i'll likely be doing this type of post a lot.  it's the best way i can think of to cull valuable info from the email list archives.  my procedure is to search for something i'm interested, in this case mitering with files, then read through the results until i find something interesting from someone who seems authoritative, or even newbies describing their first experiences.  i copy the relevant text into an email message, which i send to a special address so it gets posted here.
in essence, i'm taking the 1st step towards making a comprehensive FAQ of the list, although that's a job i realized i'm not up for after reading through just a small portion of the archives.
these posts are not meant to be concise or highly readable, but they're almost pure data, and they'll be my guide for most procedures.  this is my paterek manual.
intentionally, there's a lot of opinions here, some conflicting, some agreeing.  my goal is to get together a survey of the info in the archives, not to present anything comprehensive.
From: "Anvil Bikeworks" <ojv(AT)>
Subject: RE: [Frame] Diamond Files
Date: Tue, 16 Mar 2004 01:04:46 -0700

As I said yesterday, the answer is to replace your files more often if you're working with hard tubes.  Using a diamond file to miter a tube is like what, help me think of a witty metaphor here...using an organically grown q-tip to wear a hole in a tube for a water bottle boss?  Something along those lines.  Anyway, you're going to be there a loooong time and that diamond file is going to cost you royal.  So you'll end up spending 5x more money for the privilege of having to spend 5x more time trying to wear a miter into a tube.  There are carbide files on the market but they're a) too coarse for mitering tubes, b) not available in the half round shapes we use, and c) too expensive.

I've seen a lot of reference to the Simonds Maxi Sharp files.  The Maxi Sharps are fine files, but they're just black oxide coated, which while I agree makes them look cool, actually does nothing for their performance other than making them slightly more resistant to rust.  As long as you don't have to pay more for them than you do regular files, they're fine, but
they're not going to cut any better or last any longer.  Just a side rant about coatings:  all coatings REDUCE sharpness.  In certain applications, and filing ain't one of them, their hardness and increased lubricity can allow you longer tool life and greater speeds & feeds, but the hype around coatings make the bicycle industry look like child play.  Cutter performance is all about flute/edge geometry and substrate material properties; coatings can be a performance aid, but choose material, geometry, and sharpness first, then consider the pretty colors.

Where was I?  Oh, I've cut all the hard tubes with files.  I don't typically miter my tubes that way, but I've done it just the same and there's one or two on this least who've even SEEN me do it.  Harder materials will wear files faster, but poor technique is your real enemy.

Don Ferris
Anvil Bikeworks, Inc.
Littleton, Colorado
Ph: 303.471.7533 / 303.919.9073
Fax: 413.556.6825
From: Derek Shuman <dshuman(AT)>
Subject: Re: [Frame] File use

XORider(AT) wrote:
> Once again, please excuse me as I am Dynafile impaired, but what is the
> proper way to file?  Is it about learning how to hold the file parallel to
> the work surface throught the stroke? Could someone please explain hand
> filing or point me to a good book or video on this?  I was never taught how
> to file, so I don't know if I am doing it correctly.
> Dave Schlabowske
Derek Shuman responds:

I will only attempt to add my $.02 to the other excellent postings. I've only made one lugless frame, so perhaps there are better techniques that more experienced people can share. First and foremost, clamp the tube or joint in a tube vise or set of tube blocks fairly close to the miter or
joint. Leave just enough to get your hand around it, unless you are starting the miter, in which case leave as little as possible sticking out. Your ability to rigidly lock the tube or joint off in as many positions as possible is very important, and will pay off in both quality and time saved. Pay attention to your stance; it should always be solid and comfortable, with one foot forward and one foot back, so you can lean into the file. Let your legs and body weight do the work,
not your arms, you need them to maintain rigidity. Look like a prizefighter. Get the height right so you can brace your arms against your body and see what you are doing. You might want one height for roughing, another for finishing. Also, put plenty of light on the subject to see closely what was going on. Try using those clip-on magnifying glasses so you can see close without getting close to the chips or straining the eyes. Don't file when you are agitated or had too much coffee. You gotta be in the right Zen kind of mood for it. For most of the miter, I used two hands on the file, one on the front, and one on the rear. I used a file with a bit smaller radius than desired for most of the miter. Make sure the tang of the file cannot dig into your wrist if it hangs up or your grip slips. I don't like to use handles as they come loose, and you lose some of that feel that tells you how smoothly the file is cutting. If they come loose while you are whaling away, you could really get jabbed badly. There are self-tapping screw on handles that might be good, but I haven't tried them. It might be good to wrap the tangs up with tape, or put a golf ball, piece of rubber tubing or a wine bottle cork on it.  For finishing the miter, I used the proper radius file, found the section where the radius was best matched to the mating tube and went real slow, with short strokes to keep the ideal section doing the cutting. I grasped the file very close to this section with my right,
(pushing) hand and put the right index finger over the section doing the cutting to get even pressure. I would grasp the tube with my left hand, and use the left index finger and/or thumb as a "rubbing guide" to keep the file on track. It might be helpful to wear some kind of glove or finger cot here but I didn't. I didn't have a problem filing away my
finger, but the corrosion problem is something I hadn't thought of. I kept checking the fit as I came down to the mark, and on the top tube, I also checked the alignment between the two miters on the oposite end of the tube using longish sections of mating tubing lightly clamped into
the miters. I would mark sections of the tube with a pencil to show where to shave off a few mils. At this step its tempting to shortcut by trying to file without reclamping the tube in the vise, but avoid it.  Spend the time reclamping the tube and getting a good final cut.  I used this "grasp the tube and guide the file with the index finger" method exclusively when filing down the fillets. Using a rattail file, I
found I could file away with abandon without ever hitting the tubes. The secret is to put lots of light around the joint, preferable small specular lights that give sharp reflections off the joint. This allows you to see exactly where the file is cutting, every single stroke. You should be able watch the fillet grow right out to meet the tube, every stroke. Keep reclamping the joint to put the section your are working on
in the right light. Don't move the lights around, because then you'll have to follow them around, getting into an awkward position. Once your stance is off, you can't concentrate on guiding the file to that exact position needed to finish the fillet without hitting the tube. Have fun, I certainly did.  -Derek Shuman
i miter all my tubes by hand using a
12" or 10" 1/2 round bastard cut file.
From: "Anvil" <ojv(AT)>
To: meade(AT)
Subject: Re: [Frame] Getting the Right Miter Radius
Date: Mon, Mar 26, 2001, 11:18 PM

Approximate coping radii by Nicholson, second cut, half round file size:

8" - approx .5" (1" dia)
10" - approx .5625" (1.125" dia)
12" - approx .625"/.6875" (1.25"/1.375" dia)
14" - approx .75" (1.5 dia.)

The sandpaper around the proper tube is a good trick but doesn't work well
for Tig, it gives an oversize radius.

Don Ferris
From: "e-RICHIE" <richardsachs(AT)>
Date: Wed, 28 Sep 2005 20:46:49 GMT
Subject: RE: [Frame] frame building pictures

i use the 12" to mate the dt as well as the tt to the ht.
i use the 10" to mate the tt to the st.
at the bb, i use the 10" on the front of the st.
at the bb, i use the 12" on the sides of the st and the dt.
-- "Buescher, Conor Joseph" <conor.buescher(AT)> wrote:
Our process is essentially the same, however, use the lug to scribe a
line <cut>

"ours" is too; i scribe the line and then hacksaw & file with
a 10" or 12" half-round as the case may be.
From: "Brian Smith" <briansmithmail(AT)>
Subject: Re: [Frame] Brake bridge mitering
Date: Mon, 24 Jan 2005 19:23:04 -0500

> Hi all, good morning.  What file are yous using to miter the brake
> bridge?  CS's are about 16mm.  Or even methods.
> Thanks, Kurt

I use a round file, about 16"-18" long, and the cut can occasionally end up
slightly smaller radius that the seatstays (that's what you meant, not CS,
right) and if so, 3 or so strokes of a 6" half round remedies that just
Cut to approximate length first though with a hacksaw.

-Brian Smith in N.Y.
From: "Andrew R Stewart" <onetenth(AT)>
Subject: Re: [Frame] Brake bridge mitering
Date: Mon, 24 Jan 2005 19:51:25 -0500

Kurt- Wood blocks and a file work fine. I think the 16mm stays are about the
same as my 12" rat tail (round) file. Andy.
From: "" <brianbaylis(AT)>
Date: Thu, 12 Aug 2004 05:10:55 GMT
Subject: Re: [Frame] (flying off the) handle


If you come to my shop you will see that many of my files have just a
"bulb" of masking tape on the end. I find this more comfortable for me
than some of the larger file handles. I'm kind of on the short side and my
hands are somewhat small, so this works for me. It may not work for you.
Cheap, fast, easy. Also an excellent addition to a needle file.

Brian Baylis
Date: Wed, 22 Jun 2005 09:27:44 -0600
Subject: Re: [Frame] How tight the tolerance for a miter?
From: Harold Bielstein <hkbielstein(AT)>

Here's what works for me to get a nice tight mitre. Chuck the mitered
tube into your vise in your tubing blocks so that the mitered valleys
are in a horizontal plane. Wrap a short length of tubing that properly
fits the miter with 180 or 220 production cloth and use it as you would
use a file back and forth across the mitre. Do this a few times till
you cant see light between the mitered tube and its adjoining tube.
From: <davebohm(AT)>
Subject: Re: Re: [Frame]  TubeMiter exe and other ramblings
Date: Thu, 26 Aug 2004 17:03:47 -0400

I don't really use any drawing at all.  I know I am not the only one.  I use some sort of spreadsheet that I believe came from Mark Bulgier or something and it just gives the pure numbers.  tube angles and lengths and I translate lengths with a 4 foot dial caliper  (thanks don ferris)  works

Dave Bohm
From: "Neil" <info(AT)>
Date: Sun, 11 Jan 2004 00:57:43 -0000
Subject: [Frame] top tubes - one way to get it right.

Hang in there Jason, getting the top tube right is one of the hardest parts of the game if you're working on your own. I had the advantage of working with some of the best frame builders Britain ever produced, and watched intently as they went about their stuff. Now and then, they'd take the time to show me how. This was one method, which is a good one if you're starting out. It uses pins, which have been mentioned elsewhere; I just new them as brazing pins (coz that's what they were called, and Holdsworthy supplied them by the pound) but I'd say woodworkers 16g panel pins would do the job. (although they're probably called something else in the USA!)

First, slide the head lug over the tube and scribe around the inside. Take the lug off. Do a rough miter to the scribe line. Slide the lug back on and check your miter. Slide in the head tube and check for fit. Check against your measuring board or in your jig for angle. Heat and bend the tangs to match the angle if needed. If you're happy with this part, drill a pin hole in the lower tang and lightly tap in a pin. Slide the seat lug over the tube. Measure the length, centre to centre. When you hit the desired length, check for seat tube/head tube alignment. When it's as near as you can get, drill and lightly pin the seat lug through the lower TT tang. Scribe the tube around the inside of the seat lug. That's you got the right length seat tube. Now you can remove the pins and lugs, cut and file your miter, deburr the inside of the tube, etc. Now, with the pins out and the lugs off, check everything is tight against the head tubes and seat tubes. Make the most effort to get the head tube end right, the seat tube end isn't as crucial. Fine tune the miters. Heat and bend the tangs for a tight fit if you need to. When you're satisfied everything's as close as can be, fit the lug to the tubes; bang in the pins to fill up the holes; do your fluxing and get brazing. Tack the head lug at the front of the head tube; tack the seat lug at the back of the seat tube above the lug line if you're using a torch. If you're using gas/air and a hearth, pin the seat tube/seat lug.

There are other ways to do it, but this takes a lot of beating if you don't have a data book full of mitered tube lengths.

Good luck,

Neil, London, UK
Subject: Re: [Frame] Tube Coping
From: meade(AT)
Date: Wed, 30 Jul 2003 15:21:02 -0400

>What is the easiest,
>cheapest, and less wastefull method?

I second the idea of files.  It's not hard to do, and doesn't
take much time, plus you don't run the risk of chewing up
a tube if something goes wrong in your lathe, and you'll be proud of your handiwork when you get a nice fit.   I use the method outlined in Paterek's manual:  If you use lugs, use the inside of the lug to scribe a rough outline (I use DyKem to make the scribe easier to see).  Then use a hacksaw or a rough file to chew out the bulk of the material, and halfround files and small files to finish the job.  Use a machinist's square to make sure the points are the same height (helps to ensure that the miter is centered on the tube), and use the mating tube and a bevel protractor to make sure the angle is correct and that there are not big gaps.  You can even wrap sandpaper around the mating tube to make really small changes.  So far (four frames) I've never messed up a miter this way.  It takes me probably 30-45 minutes to get a really nice miter with not much daylight showing. If you decide to go lugged, there are only three miters that require any precision at all.

Alex Meade
Lexington, KY

From: "Al Andersen" <andersens(AT)>
Subject: Re: [Frame] top tube woes
Date: Tue, 25 Feb 2003 17:45:57 -0700

If you are making a full size drawing, lay out the tt in it's
posistion, and measure the angle with a protractor.  You could do trig calculations too.  Then take a T-Bevel and lay it on the tt st angle and set it to that angle.  As you file the tt check your progress with the T- bevel.  I have done my frames following the Paterick Manual.  First miter the tt to the ht.  Have the bb-st and ht-dt done, together and straight. Then fit the tt-st miter till it lines up according to your drawing.(Without messing with the tt-ht miter you did first).  Expect this to take some time.  When the tt drops into place, braze/weld/glue, whatever, and you got it!  Does this help?  Kurt andersen
From: meade(AT)
Subject: [Frame] Re: [Frame]file size
Date: Mon, 9 Dec 2002 18:13:00 -0500

>Hi all, what size file aproximates a 14mm dia. ss tube, as in mitering
>the brake bridge? What do you use?  Thanks Kurt

I use too-small round files to rough it out, followed by sandpaper wrapped around a piece of seatstay.   Makes a slightly-too-big miter, but it seems to be fine for silver brazing, especially if I'm using the reinforcing tabs beween the bridge and the stay.  If I'm feeling really picky and not using the tabs, I wrap the sandpaper around a smaller diameter part of the stay (at this point of course the stay is part of the frame !) to get a "perfect" fit.


Date: Wed, 25 May 2005 09:58:25 -0400
From: Doug Fattic <fatticbicycles(AT)>
Subject: [Frame] How to cut out lugs

Some on the list might have wanted to cut out their own lugs at some point in time so I thought I would post some detail on how to do this.  It involves two basic steps.  1. Getting the design on the lug and 2. Cutting that design into the lug.

I start by unrolling the shape of the round tubed lug, flat.  There would be two parts to each lug.  I cheat by taking a piece of tubing that is the same size as the lug, miter it so that it has a sharp edge and wrap a piece of paper around that miter.  Now I cut the paper hanging over with an exacto knife.  Most of you aren't going to have these components available so just wrap some paper around a lug, trace the joint with a pencil and cut it out.  A little back and forth and you have the shape needed.  A little help here, does the mitering program some of you use create this shape?  That would make it simple.  Once the shape is created - the one end being the shape of joining the other tube and the other end being square - the design can be placed on it.  Of course those that know CAD can do this on their computer. However for the more computer challenged, this can be drawn by hand.  One trick I learned is to blow up this size 4 times.  Our school copy machine can do this.  This allows for easier drawing using French curves or whatever.  Once your Picasso quality creative drawing is finished, the copy machine can reduce it back down to normal size.  Now I use sticky back clear film in the copy machine from the drafting supply store.  This stuff has two parts with a backing paper covering up sticky.  The Xerox machine will print your design right on this paper.  The backing paper is pulled off and the clear film is applied to the 1/2 section of the lug being worked on.

Don Ferris's (Anvil) lug holder is a real bonus here.  He has made a very nice one.  I forget the cost but I think it is $275.  The other tools you need are a jeweler's saw and blades.  Exacto makes one.  These are available at jeweler's supply stores.  Look under this heading in the yellow pages. South Bend, Indiana used to have one and so does Toledo, Ohio.  Does anyone know a mail order supply house for these?  You also need to get a bunch of blades.  You can go through these like water.  They cost about 35 cents apiece and the brand you want is Herkules.  They are sold in packs of a dozen or gross.  They come in all different sized teeth.  I think I commonly use 3/0 size.  Sometimes I want bigger blades like 0 or 2 and sometimes smaller like 5/0.  I keep a bunch of different sizes around.

Now you need Swiss Pattern Jewelers files.  They often times come in a set of 12 shapes but you don't need or use all shapes.  I would get the 0 cut, 5 1/4".  The ones I use are the Half round, half round with a safe edge on the flat side (handy in some tight places where you don't want to disturb the other edge), round, knife and I forget the name but the file edge (teeth) are on the flat side and the back side is safe (without teeth) and triangle in shape.  This allows you to get into tight places.  I seldom if ever use other shapes except maybe the one that is flat with out teeth and the edges are rounded with teeth.  This also works for the bottom of the seat tube binder cut.  Although the 5 1/4" do the bulk of the work, I also have some 4" ones for some situations.

Now when you cut out the pattern, you don't cut right on the edge.  Your blade is coming in at some awkward angle so you leave a little space.  That angle also makes them break easily.  Oh first you might drill out some places that the drill size matches the design.  Before going too far back with you cutting, you start filing to the edge of your design lines.  This is because you want the supporting strength of a solid lug behind what you are filing.  So you don't cut out the whole thing and then start filing to the edges but work back and forth cutting and filing.  At some point, you need to emery off the design to see if it looks right and so a little more touch up filing to make it right.  Next you are going to admire your work and think to yourself, Doug was very generous in telling me the secrets of how to cut out lugs.  I'm going to be generous back and write him a check right now for $100.  No need to send it Priority mail, I'll be happy anytime I get it.  Or more realistically just send comments and thoughts.  I didn't take a lot of time writing this as I have a bunch of bikes to paint today so some detail can be expanded on.

I should mention that I have some blank lugs.  I'm not giving them up easily (or maybe not at all - they came from England in the 50') but if someone makes a great design, I'll negotiate.

Doug Fattic
Niles, Michigan
Date: Sat, 10 Jan 2004 17:38:41 GMT
From: brianbaylis(AT)
Subject: [Frame] The two basic assembly methods

Fellow framebuilders,

Sorry it takes me so long to get to this stuff. I really have a lot to do. The purpose of this information is to aid the new framebuilder in understanding what basic methods are in use that relate to the small time builder. Jay asked what methods we all use. As far as I know, there are these two common practices that work well for our needs. The pinning method and the tacking method. I personally use the tacking method with a few minor variations where I use a pin for "cheap insurance" against movement during free brazing.

My experience is that most veteran framebuilders seem to use the method they were exposed to when they were taught or learning the craft. Back in the old days, many of us learned from either English or Italian framebuilders in one way or another. I learned the basics of framebuilding from Masi during my employment at the Masi USA Carlsbad shop. There the tacking method was used.  I have modified the sequence considerably for my own needs and taste, but basically I tack the frame as opposed to pin it. I don't know that much about the pinning method and I haven't been to Richards' site, but I think I understand the jist of it. Every framebuilder will probably end up with a system that has been taylored to their fixtureing and other needs based on the circumstances. Here we go!

To begin with, both of these methods require that the frame do into the fixture with absolutely NO stress at any of the joints. That means that all of the angles of your fittings must agree with the dimensions you are seeking to accomplish. The proper angle at the BB shell is critical. Make sure you can assemble the frame completely and it will hold itself together at exactly the angles and dimensions you require before you attempt to put it into the fixture. I work off of a full scale drawing which allows me to check and double check everything as I miter tubes and prepare fittings for joining. I also then set up the frame in my fixture without any lugs to check miters and the fit of everything. Then I will set it up again with the lugs and all to make sure everything is perfect and in plane and I'm satisfyed  that all systems are go. I then disassemble everything and clean and flux everything before going back for the final setup and tacking operation.

>From what I understand of the pinning method, the frame goes through the same basic preparations I just described and then assembled, fluxed and ready, in the fixture. Then holes are drilled in key locations and the pins wedged in. The frame is pinned like a porcupine until it is held together completely. It is then removed from the fixture and free brazed.  Then the frame is aligned and that is the end of the process.

The tacking method goes thusly. The tubes and lugs are fluxed and assembled in the fixture. Then the lugs and tubes are tack brazed using the same material you will finish braze with, in generally three places on each tube. The frame, which is now a solid unit is being held together and in dimension and alignment by the tack brazes. The frame is then put on the alignment table and checked for perfect in plane. If any movement is required, generally only light finger pressure is required to move it back into place. It came from where you want it to be and it will go back there if your fixture is doing its' job. Once perfect, the frame is free brazed. After brazing the alignment is checked again. Nothing should change beyond a few thousanths if you use low temp. silver braze material.

A certain amount of how to do things depends on what sequence and methods you use to assemble your frames. Some frames come out of the fixture whole, with the rear triangle already attached. Masis came out that way as do Richards' frames, from what I understand. Eisentraut used to (and still may) build a front assembly of the TT, HT, and DT in one fixture and used a second fixture to attach that to the rear of the bike. Mario Confente would start with a DT and HT held in a simple fixture at the perscribed angle and then move on from there piece by piece sort of.

I like to build just a main triangle in my primary fixture. I make a sub-assembly of a completely brazed and aligned seat tube before I put the other tubes in the fixture. I go through the same sequence. Put the BB shell and ST in the fixture and tack it. Check alignment, braze, recheck. That gives me a foundation of the centerline of the frame that is stable and perfectly aligned to set up in my fixture. Also it helps guarentee a perfect fit and braze joint at the most critical junction of the frame, the DT and ST at the BB shell. I see a fair amount of frames where the miters and brazing are sub-par here. This allows me to control this area completely, see the complete penitration at the seat tube which in turn will almost guarentee perfect jointery when the DT is brazed because the silver already there attracts the new material. I do this as "cheap insurance" to a perfect joint in this important location. Once I have a perfectly aligned and solidly brazed main triangle I have another fixture that I use to attach the main to the rear triangle. The  most important time for your frame to be in perfect alignment is while it's in the fixture. Attend to that and the rest of alignment is a snap. There are a few reasons why I have gone this way even though I learned from Masi who puts the entire frame in the fixture with the two stays already done as a sub-assmebly. One, the way I file my lugs requires that I finish file the seat lug before attaching the stays. That's how I get the look around the top of the seat lug that I do. Most bikes are thick where the seat goes in, I prefer a different look. Also, because I monkey around with all sorts of different variations in seat stay attachments, it allows me to experiment and be artful if I want to do that. It also allows me to have more control over the alignment of the rear dropouts. Working with the whole frame at once seems like too much to keep an eye on.

So, there you go. There are as many was to build an excellent frame as there are excellent framebuilders. The most important thing is how careful you are as the operator. Every method has it's quirks. Each guy irons out his own bugs over the years. It's an ongoing process, up to a point. Some methods work better for small timers and hobbiests and some things are better suited to more production.

Brian Baylis

more filings

search for:
(files OR filing) AND (tub* OR (miter OR mitre))

cool oval files

look good for finer mitering

sourcing files

looking for at least two high-quality half-round files
one, 12"-14", the bigger the better, coarse, American pattern, for
rough mitering.
another, 6"-8", medium-sized, finer cut, Swiss Pattern, i'm thinking a
medium coarseness, for more precision so i cen get those miters real

looking at:
<a> </a>
<a> href= </a>
<a> </a>

plus a set of rifflers from American Science and Surplus, and i oughta
be in good shape.
this is based on my own rookie ideas, plus the Talbot list.

talbot materials list

i've put together a list of materials given in Richard Talbot's book. the link is on the right side of the main page, here's the intro:

I compiled this list from Richard Talbot’s Designing and Building Your Own Framest, second edition (published 1984, 1st edition 1979). It’s at the Library of Congress as of April 2006.

Talbot was an amateur when he did the book, with I believe one frame under his belt. It’s simpler, less professionally-oriented, and more “quick and dirty” than the Paterek Manual, according to what I’ve read on the archives, but I haven’t read Paterek.

Fred Parr has told the Framebuilders’ list that Talbot got the information for his book by “pestering” Fred at his shop. Fred alleges Talbot got at least a couple things wrong in the translation from shop practices to amateur manual.

If you find this list useful, you’ll likely feel the same way about the rest of the book. I found it a great help as I’m the target audience: a first-time amateur builder with a technical head. That said, I consider it a starting point and not gospel truth.

Send questions and comments to ethan [a t] Let me know if this page looks a little weird; the html is generated by MS Word.

long chainstays

i'm on a quest for chainstays longer than Bringheli's...i want my CS measurement to be around 440mm, but not sure what length of tube will let me do that. i don't think the Deda ones will be long enough, which sucks cuz they're so cheap and all.

Tom Palermo interview

learned a lot from talking to Tom Palermo of Palermo bikes for a few minutes today.

painters to check out:
Vicious (nyc)
Franklin (oh)
Keith Anderson

each part of prepping a frame (BB, HT, ST) would be $25-30, or more depending on how much cutting is involved.

according to Tom's recollection, Roberts Oxygen's prices are:
$9/pound for 1/16" brass rod
$20/troy oz. for 56% silver coil

he said a troy oz. of silver outta do roughly 4 sets of lugs, so it sounds like 1 coil outta start me off well.
also, he said to try to run the silver from the front of the HT lugs to the back, that is from the front of the bike to the back.

Fred Parr's online building class

dug up on