Frame building 101 by Steven Willis


Try and fit your self to your bike go to bike fit. If you are in need of any frame repair take a look at the repair page.

Frame Construction

      I do not view myself as a true KOF (keeper of the flame) but in my heart I feel that I am. The frames I build while not up to the quality of so many very talented frame builders out there I feel my construction is closer to what you may have found seventy years ago when it was more common to find your local independent bike store would also dabble in frame making. All twenty or so frames of mine, have been built for friends with fit problems this is the first frame I am making just for a friend that wanted one of my frames. Like a piece of me will be with them forever. It is kind of cool. I will try and get some more pictures up of the process. And if you have any questions or comments please feel free to email me at The Bike Stand.
      In 2010 I started a new build up for a friend Tom Adams so as before I will try and document the build and get some pictures up for your enjoyment. It was the hardest build to date for me because it is 650b wheels and has every braze on he could think of.
      I made a fork for a customer that damaged his fork. I found him one that he used for about a year then he came back for me to build one up for him. I looked around for a new one but would not be a perfect match. I found a Columbus tube set that I bought years ago so I made one up and cleck here to see it.
      Click on to the link to see the Violette one of my more off beat frames I made in 1998 for a woman that could not lift her leg very high. I did not have this web page at the time so when she brought it in for a tune up I jumped at the chance to put it up here. It lives down at the Jersey shore so it leads a ruff rusty life now.
      My son asked me to put up a page that shows a chart of meting point for metals. Some are used in bicycle frame making some are used in components and he thought some are just cool to know.
      This was a small fun repair done on a winter day in 2008, maybe worth a look at this Raleigh folder.
      Got an Atala frame in to repair in 2010. The customer wanted me to replace the cheap road drop outs with nice American made track drop outs from Henry James that changed his road bike into a fixie bike. So here is Brian's Atala being repaired.
      Thought I would do another frame prep page to help you with all that is need to do on a steel frame. So here is CJ's Ciocc being prepped.





Starting a new frame build up and yes it is made in America with American made tubing and lugs








Time for a new frame. This one is going to go to Rick Decker. As always this is the first part and I think one of the most important part the design. Rick is fairly straight forward 73 degree seat tube with a 59 center to center seat tube and top tube.









Pacenti Artisan Lugs will start the build up.









I insert the tubing into the lug mark it with a marker then start cutting away the tubing with a Dremel tool. You can also see the painted end this marks the end you can shorten.









This is the first cut still very ruff. Just to let you know the cutting was not done in the lug. I just put it back in for you to see the shape that it is starting to take.









Here you can see the miter with out the lug on it. Time to clean it up some more.









Here you can see the miter after I spent some tome on it. At first I used a small stone in that Dremel tool then finished up with a file.









The fit is starting to get good Just a little more work on the sides should do it.









A small gap is all that remains to take out. Be sure to keep checking the angle too.









I got it and the angle is 107 degrees.









You can see it fits flush in the lug.









This is the seat tube to top tube miter taking shape.









I am marking the seat tube as it exits the seat tube lug.









Remember measure twice cut once.









Marking the painted end again as it goes through the bb shell.









This is a fun picture because it show how I keep the lugs aligned to the tubing. I use the light reflecting off the tubing.









Down tube to head tube joint.









All the joints to the main triangle are done.









Time to start on the rear end of the frame. At this point I am ready to start brazing.









I start at the down tube seat tube joint. It is all fluxed up and ready for the heat.









The whole frame is set up now to check one last time.









Man at this stage it always looks bad.









Clean up is starting. I hate this part, my ADHD kicks in.









Now time to put on the rear end.









Wow, starting to look like a frame.









Brake bridge water bottle mounts all have to fitted and brazed in place.









Time to ream the seat tube.









Now the fork get made. Spend as long as you need to get those blades to be the same and at the right rake this is 43mm.









All most done now I had to take a peek at it with wheels on it.









I always wanted to try wrap over stays. The wrap is part of the chain stay I cut off.









James is helping me clean up the brazing.









All done with a Color Factory paint job. This is the first official Fat Man frame. Now time to build it up.









Built up and ready for it's first ride. Just for the record it got a flat on its first ride.






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