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Thread: Framebuilder or production line worker

  1. #21
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    Default Re: Framebuilder or production line worker

    "This profession is undervalued and professionals attempting to earn a living wage have to compete with those willing to "learn" their way in, who charge less due to the starving artist sacrifice syndrome." - Rody


    I made chocolate chip cookies last night, but this does not make me a baker. I even baked once for a bake sale at my daughters school where my cookies were sold for $$$, but this still does not make me a baker.

    Rody's comment about "...those willing to "learn" their way in, who charge less..." reminds me much of my industry. I am a candy maker. The specialty side of our industry has suffered by what I call the "Food Network Effect", where the food industry has been glamorized to the point that people have taken to their home kitchens to produce candies at below market value in order to buy their piece of market share. When their demand grows to be greater than the capacity of their home kitchen, they are some how shocked by the fact that they cannot afford to buy equipment and pay rent for a commercial space, simply due to the fact that these costs were never calculated into their business model and therefore the reason they could sell their product so cheap.

    For now I am just a guy who like to build frame(s) [still working on #1]. Like many, yes, I have the fantasy of being a frame builder. For now however, I have two kids for whom I need to save for college and someday I would like to retire. That being said, frame building will be my hobby. ~~~Fantasy~~~ Perhaps someday I will have built enough, learned enough, and loaned out my bikes enough to the point that someone asks me to build one for them. ~~~Back to reality~~~ Aside from a friends & family discount, I cannot see how one would not charge the full market rate for a frame to compensate for the skill, time and materials that go into making a frame.

    This forum is amazing! My sincere thanks, to all those who post, professionals and hobbyists, from whom I have been able to learn. Once I get through the next few steps on my project and have a few more pictures, I will start contributing as well.

    Mike Gordon
    Highland Park, IL
     

  2. #22
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    Default Re: Framebuilder or production line worker

    "This profession is undervalued and professionals attempting to earn a living wage have to compete with those willing to "learn" their way in, who charge less due to the starving artist sacrifice syndrome."

    I'm not aware of many jobs or businesses where newbies earn the same as seasoned professionals. Tenured professors make a lot more than assistant professors even though they appear to teach similar things. It's the years of experience and accumulated knowledge that distinguish you from the new people entering the field, and because of that you should be able to get more for your time. Theoretically at least, the tenured professor can draw upon a wealth of knowledge and experience that will make a much better class.

    I would never consider trying to sell one of my frames (were I to hang out the shingle) for what Rody, Garro, etc. charge. But should I so I don't "undervalue" the better/elder builders and the profession as a whole? I don't get that. I agree that custom framebuilding is undervalued and most pros deserve to make more money per product, but if you can't sell your product to a customer because he/she picks a newcomer over you, it's not the newcomer's fault because they're charging a lower price. They're selling a completely different product, one with fewer years of experience, a smaller base of knowledge of design and geometry = a lesser product. It's your responsibility to charge what you deserve to be earning and use honest marketing to share why it's worth that amount. Maybe I'm naive, but customers can see through a nice paint job and appreciate what they're getting en sum.

    New builders are not "starving artists," they should just charge less until they *deserve* to earn more, in my opinion. They should make up the difference in what they need to live by having another job. It's up to the builder to decide if that 'break in period' is something they can handle financially and psychologically. With more time and experience the time allotted per frame will come down because you become more proficient and efficient in your process. So even if you didn't raise the price of your product after 100, 500, 1000 frames, you should be making more money because you can whip out a superior frame in 2 days instead of 2 weeks time like at the beginning. You charge more when your product is worth more. Anyways, that's my take at least.
    Whit Johnson
    meriwethercycles.com

  3. #23
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    Default Re: Framebuilder or production line worker

    Whit,

    as my quote was pulled out for comment, please allow me to expand on my thought, it may help clarify my perspective...

    Frame builders who fabricate for a living are fighting an uphill battle in respect to how our work is perceived by the whole of society. As builders, we perceive the bicycle as a multi-form tool that satisfies many client needs; function, recreation/performance, aesthetics, and personal/emotional expectations. It is, however, a vehicle for transportation and must be crafted with all the care and precision that is required for the safety of it's operator. The assumption of this risk is placed squarely upon the shoulders of the fabricator, requiring experience and maturity from those that choose this career.

    Those who are embedded in the cycling profession, whether wrenching in a shop, selling inventory, or crafting product, recognize and value the form. However, society as a whole still sees the bicycle as a toy. When I commented that I believe the profession of fabricating bicycles is undervalued, I am looking through those eyes.

    Folks accept that highly skilled trades executed by professionals demand a certain level of monetary compensation. Plumbers, Electricians, auto mechanics, etc, have hourly shop/job rates that reflect the value of the work they do. Demographically these rates vary, but in my region it is not uncommon to see an hourly cost of $80-$150 per hour for these skilled trades. It is necessary work provided by a skilled tradesman.

    Conversely, many frame builders have a difficult time requesting the fair monetary compensation that their level of skill deserves. It is not until they have solidified their place in the market, suffered through many storms that build experience, and learn to operate a business efficiently that many exhibit the confidence to set a living wage without feeling the necessity to justify it. Sustainability/Longevity is the measure of success.

    It saddens me to see so many promising builders start up, only to leave a few short years later because of a lack of small business tools and market awareness. This cyclic renewal of participants is present in every trade, however, it certainly feels like we have a greater turnover, perhaps because the community is smaller.
    Many entering this profession do so because they feel passionately about it, but have not invested the appropriate care and time in creating a sustainable business model and cultivating a market for their work. In order to keep the flame alive, many will scrape by in an attempt to keep following their passion...thus the starving artist. These practitioners ultimately fail, often leaving behind economic upheaval in the customer base, tarnishing the niche as a whole.

    The trades mentioned earlier mandate education, experience, and certification before allowing one to venture out and begin a business, stacking the deck in favor of the new entrepreneur. I often feel that we create an ill defined path to success...we have limited educational opportunities, mentoring is done impersonally through 1's and 0's, and very little information queried and shared centers around small business tools vs. what torch/cutter/etc do you use.

    Is it the responsibility of established fabricators to develop those who wish to learn? Morally, I believe an effort should be made. Many have accepted this moral responsibility and have contributed, "setting the table" for others to achieve the beginning steps to success. It is the responsibility of those accepting such information to wait until they are well prepared to hang out a shingle and become a "professional". If not, our niche as a whole will never achieve the level of professional value it deserves.
     

  4. #24
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    Default Re: Framebuilder or production line worker

    This is tee shirt material atmo -


    Quote Originally Posted by Rody View Post
    Is it the responsibility of established fabricators to develop those who wish to learn? Morally, I believe an effort should be made. Many have accepted this moral responsibility and have contributed, "setting the table" for others to achieve the beginning steps to success. It is the responsibility of those accepting such information to wait until they are well prepared to hang out a shingle and become a "professional". If not, our niche as a whole will never achieve the level of professional value it deserves.

  5. #25
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    Default Re: Framebuilder or production line worker

    Quote Originally Posted by Rody View Post
    The trades mentioned earlier mandate education, experience, and certification before allowing one to venture out and begin a business, stacking the deck in favor of the new entrepreneur. I often feel that we create an ill defined path to success...we have limited educational opportunities, mentoring is done impersonally through 1's and 0's, and very little information queried and shared centers around small business tools vs. what torch/cutter/etc do you use.
    I feel extremely lucky to be on the receiving end of a 'set table'. The fabrication and design work is great but some of the most interesting information I get is more in line with that last part. As many of you have said, framebuilding is not just building a frame. One of my favorite threads so far has been the 'Brand Guidelines' started by Mr. Henry FortyFour. Thanks, guys.
     

  6. #26
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    Default Re: Framebuilder or production line worker

    Quote Originally Posted by Rody View Post
    Whit,

    as my quote was pulled out for comment, please allow me to expand on my thought, it may help clarify my perspective...

    Frame builders who fabricate for a living are fighting an uphill battle in respect to how our work is perceived by the whole of society. As builders, we perceive the bicycle as a multi-form tool that satisfies many client needs; function, recreation/performance, aesthetics, and personal/emotional expectations. It is, however, a vehicle for transportation and must be crafted with all the care and precision that is required for the safety of it's operator. The assumption of this risk is placed squarely upon the shoulders of the fabricator, requiring experience and maturity from those that choose this career.

    Those who are embedded in the cycling profession, whether wrenching in a shop, selling inventory, or crafting product, recognize and value the form. However, society as a whole still sees the bicycle as a toy. When I commented that I believe the profession of fabricating bicycles is undervalued, I am looking through those eyes.

    Folks accept that highly skilled trades executed by professionals demand a certain level of monetary compensation. Plumbers, Electricians, auto mechanics, etc, have hourly shop/job rates that reflect the value of the work they do. Demographically these rates vary, but in my region it is not uncommon to see an hourly cost of $80-$150 per hour for these skilled trades. It is necessary work provided by a skilled tradesman.

    Conversely, many frame builders have a difficult time requesting the fair monetary compensation that their level of skill deserves. It is not until they have solidified their place in the market, suffered through many storms that build experience, and learn to operate a business efficiently that many exhibit the confidence to set a living wage without feeling the necessity to justify it. Sustainability/Longevity is the measure of success.

    It saddens me to see so many promising builders start up, only to leave a few short years later because of a lack of small business tools and market awareness. This cyclic renewal of participants is present in every trade, however, it certainly feels like we have a greater turnover, perhaps because the community is smaller.
    Many entering this profession do so because they feel passionately about it, but have not invested the appropriate care and time in creating a sustainable business model and cultivating a market for their work. In order to keep the flame alive, many will scrape by in an attempt to keep following their passion...thus the starving artist. These practitioners ultimately fail, often leaving behind economic upheaval in the customer base, tarnishing the niche as a whole.

    The trades mentioned earlier mandate education, experience, and certification before allowing one to venture out and begin a business, stacking the deck in favor of the new entrepreneur. I often feel that we create an ill defined path to success...we have limited educational opportunities, mentoring is done impersonally through 1's and 0's, and very little information queried and shared centers around small business tools vs. what torch/cutter/etc do you use.

    Is it the responsibility of established fabricators to develop those who wish to learn? Morally, I believe an effort should be made. Many have accepted this moral responsibility and have contributed, "setting the table" for others to achieve the beginning steps to success. It is the responsibility of those accepting such information to wait until they are well prepared to hang out a shingle and become a "professional". If not, our niche as a whole will never achieve the level of professional value it deserves.
    Well put, Rody.

    I've learned a lot from this forum and I'm very appreciative of the knowledge and experience shared. But honestly I don't usually participate here because I feel like there is a background disrespect of new builders coming into the trade. Not by everyone of course but in general the "Internet-trained" and "Starving Artist" names are used in a derogatory manner towards the newbies that didn't come up through the ranks like some of the pros. My response was to that basic sentiment that I thought was reflected in your statement (I see that it wasn't though).

    The analogy to the skilled professional trades that get a stated hourly wage once they've completed their education & apprenticeship is a good one. It has crossed my mind many times when searching for apprenticeships and 'advanced' framebuilding classes why none exist? I wonder why there's not more out to help the newcomers climb up the ladder. I do believe it is partially for what Richard has said time and time again - it says something about the market that you are fighting for a share in (it is small). However, i know that for each frame I have made for a friend I get at least two friends of friends also wanting a custom steel frame - people who have never even considered a custom frame previously. So from my miniscule experience the market expands builder-by-builder. Kind of like the microbrewery craze that started with (IMO) Sierra Nevada. Now it seems like every city has at least one of their own microbreweries and more keep popping up. Nothing against the macro-breweries and big bike companies but when you offer a unique custom product people seem to dig it.

    Some builders don't want to share what they've learned because they don't want more competition for the limited market share and likely despise that these forums exist at all. So with UBI and the other various one-man shops offering up framebuilding classes as one way to start building bikes for a living, what are newbies to do other than continue their learning by trial and error and by poking around on the social networking sites for clues? There are no other options that I'm aware of. Ok, I've heard of one 'apprenticeship' that was in the northeast in the last 5 years but that was for someone already experienced. So it's a pickle. I don't expect any one-man shops to offer apprenticeships for the next generation of builders out of the kindness of their hearts, but without further professional training or any type of accreditation the new builder is left to decide when they *feel* ready. I'd like to think that they know what they're doing when they hang out the shingle, but how does the customer know?

    I remember seeing Matt Wilkinson's study of framebuilders and how many frames one had built before opening up shop. It surprised me that some started selling frames after building only one or two. They must be very talented because my first 5 frames really sucked. I was told that I should make 25 frames (at least) before even considering hanging out the shingle. I'm almost there and will hold out longer because I'd rather be damn sure I have a worthy and safe product before selling a frame to someone I don't know. (Yes, I have insurance so my friends and I are protected.)

    Likely to the chagrin of many, I think it'd be great to have some sort of certification, accreditation, hell..a TEST that I can pass or fail before deciding to hang out the shingle. It'd be great for UBI (or someone else) to have an Advanced Framebuilding course where those who have built 5 or 10 frames can go to fine-tune their process and learn some things they may have forgotten or never learned in the first place. It'd be great to have a UBI certification 'class' where builders that want to sell bikes go to and build a frame from start to finish under the watchful eyes of a professional. Your tolerances and joining method are evaluated to some set of criteria (i.e., safe tube selection for the rider, tight-enough miters, enough weld penetration, etc) and upon finishing the certification 'class' the frame is evaluated and you either pass or fail. I'm sure this has been talked about ad nauseam over the years but with the seeming spike in the number of builders going out on their own I'm surprised some kind of accreditation hasn't yet taken hold so the seasoned professionals don't feel like the newbies are potentially downgrading and diluting their profession.
    Whit Johnson
    meriwethercycles.com

  7. #27
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    Default Re: Framebuilder or production line worker

    Quote Originally Posted by Meriwether View Post
    I don't expect any one-man shops to offer apprenticeships for the next generation of builders out of the kindness of their hearts, but without further professional training or any type of accreditation the new builder is left to decide when they *feel* ready.
    You can't expect to have an apprenticeship at or through a framebuilder atmo. The pace, the routine, the production numbers are already low because the framebuilder is where he is after declaring independence from a larger arena, production or otherwise. A mentor, maybe. Learning at the heels of a framebuilder, no. The time between seeing processes repeated to the point that you'd "get it" is too wide. This is a fact of life. As with anything else, there will be an exception to this, but the rule is the way to learn (as opposed to being shown) is through repetition routine. It's not that we don't want you to have what we have, or won't share it. It's that we already have full plates that are the result of working a process long enough that it now pays. To interrupt that would mean we'd make less money or fewer units.

    I think people really need to go to the well and decide why they want to build frames professionally. If it's to earn a living, then the path to that end is to make a sacrifice in time and money, and make a place for yourself on a production line learning each task. That won't happen at a school. Or in a framebuilder's shop. It will only happen in a place where lots of frames are made.

    My observation in hindsight is that present framebuilders give back overwhelmingly more to the niche than ever occurred in the pre-Internet eras. The amount of information out there is immeasurable, the pic pages too many to count, and the places (like this) where interaction occurs never existed in the old days. But what we don't have are the many production shops where someone can plunk down for 3-4 years and begin a foundation. That's life, pal. If the excellent quality of the average manufactured bicycle hadn't evolved to where it is now (and has been for at least 2 decades), the need for what we do may not have diminished, knocking so many from the ranks. That, too, is life.

    These are all points to consider when you wonder what path to take into this trade.

    Oh and PS Sierra Nevada was started by a boy who stood 2 vices over from me at Witcomb Lightweight Cycles in London. He skipped the framebuilding agony once he returned to SoCal, and ultimately opened SN in the 1990s. Great story.

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    Default Re: Framebuilder or production line worker

    Quote Originally Posted by e-RICHIE View Post
    Oh and PS Sierra Nevada was started by a boy who stood 2 vices over from me at Witcomb Lightweight Cycles in London. He skipped the framebuilding agony once he returned to SoCal, and ultimately opened SN in the 1990s. Great story.
    Sierra Nevada was founded in 1979 and has been brewing since 1980.
     

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    Default Re: Framebuilder or production line worker

    If you ever find yourself in Chico, CA I recommend a visit to the brewery/restaurant. The food is excellent.
     

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    Default Re: Framebuilder or production line worker

    I'm sure this has been talked about ad nauseam over the years but with the seeming spike in the number of builders going out on their own I'm surprised some kind of accreditation hasn't yet taken hold so the seasoned professionals don't feel like the newbies are potentially downgrading and diluting their profession
    The UK Framebuilder's Guild was talking about setting up some kind of accreditation - the response of the seasoned professionals who got involved was mostly along the lines of "Who do these new guys think they are, to want to assess my framebuilding?"

    Problem is that the seasoned pros have never got a proper qualification themselves, and now at a more mature time of life don't see the need for one. They also are often too busy to go through all the hassle, building a special frame to send off for testing and all that.

    Besides, there is one fundamental test of a framebuilder's work - are they still in business?

    My objection was partly this, but mostly that the whole idea of a standardised test for a custom product doesn't make sense. I could easily build a standard diamond frame that would pass the strength and fatigue tests, but what would that tell you about the strength, safety and quality of the tandem tricycle I'm in the middle of building?

  11. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Kelly View Post
    Sierra Nevada was founded in 1979 and has been brewing since 1980.
    I have the dates wrong, but not the person atmo.
    Thanks for the correction.

  12. #32
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    Default Re: Framebuilder or production line worker

    Quote Originally Posted by e-RICHIE View Post
    You can't expect to have an apprenticeship at or through a framebuilder atmo. The pace, the routine, the production numbers are already low because the framebuilder is where he is after declaring independence from a larger arena, production or otherwise. A mentor, maybe. Learning at the heels of a framebuilder, no. The time between seeing processes repeated to the point that you'd "get it" is too wide. This is a fact of life. As with anything else, there will be an exception to this, but the rule is the way to learn (as opposed to being shown) is through repetition routine. It's not that we don't want you to have what we have, or won't share it. It's that we already have full plates that are the result of working a process long enough that it now pays. To interrupt that would mean we'd make less money or fewer units.




    BINGO.
    The closest I come to anyone working here is I have a couple pro mechs who I get to assemble frames - if I still wanted to tell people what to do all the time I'd still have a bike shop.
    95% of the time I'd rather be alone.

    People need to take this into consideration as well - allot of cats in this biz work alone because that's exactly how they want it.

    Plus, there is nothing in my shop I can't do better and faster except maybe sand off mill scale, bust out vent holes or de-burr tubes - and heck, that's not enough of that to justify a hanger-on-er.

    Also, and I bet not everyone is with me on this, I would recommend a decade as a bike mechanic, a business course, and some metal classes, and some form of art, be it formal or informal.

    Gotta go get more coffee......
    - Garro.
    Steve Garro, Coconino Cycles.
    Frames & Bicycles built to measure and Custom wheels
    Hecho en Flagstaff, Arizona desde 2003
    www.coconinocycles.com
    www.coconinocycles.blogspot.com

  13. #33
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    Default Re: Framebuilder or production line worker

    Quote Originally Posted by e-RICHIE View Post
    You can't expect to have an apprenticeship at or through a framebuilder atmo. The pace, the routine, the production numbers are already low because the framebuilder is where he is after declaring independence from a larger arena, production or otherwise. A mentor, maybe. Learning at the heels of a framebuilder, no. The time between seeing processes repeated to the point that you'd "get it" is too wide. This is a fact of life. As with anything else, there will be an exception to this, but the rule is the way to learn (as opposed to being shown) is through repetition routine. It's not that we don't want you to have what we have, or won't share it. It's that we already have full plates that are the result of working a process long enough that it now pays. To interrupt that would mean we'd make less money or fewer units.
    This I completely understand and agree that repetition is what's needed for someone to truly 'get it' and become confident in what they're doing. I could see an apprentice getting in the way with questions and 'teach me how to do this' stuff when you're just trying to build a bike for a waiting customer.
    I think the classes like UBI, MetalGuru, and others are trying to capitalize on the interest in the trade and maybe fill a void of high production shops that no longer exist (maybe ZenFab and Co-motion are maybe two small ones in the US?). Although classes are just a start the individual has to create their own end, frame after frame after frame...
    Whether you can market and sell what you make is an entirely different story.

    Thanks to all who share your process and knowledge through the internet. The newbies stand on your shoulders and we're very appreciative. It's a huge legacy of information that will be here long after we're gone.

    PS- Funny small world Sierra Nevada story! Seems like there's a direct relationship between beer and bikes.
    Whit Johnson
    meriwethercycles.com

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    Default Re: Framebuilder or production line worker

    Quote Originally Posted by bencooper View Post
    The UK Framebuilder's Guild was talking about setting up some kind of accreditation - the response of the seasoned professionals who got involved was mostly along the lines of "Who do these new guys think they are, to want to assess my framebuilding?"

    Problem is that the seasoned pros have never got a proper qualification themselves, and now at a more mature time of life don't see the need for one. They also are often too busy to go through all the hassle, building a special frame to send off for testing and all that.

    Besides, there is one fundamental test of a framebuilder's work - are they still in business?

    My objection was partly this, but mostly that the whole idea of a standardised test for a custom product doesn't make sense. I could easily build a standard diamond frame that would pass the strength and fatigue tests, but what would that tell you about the strength, safety and quality of the tandem tricycle I'm in the middle of building?
    These are good points. I don't think a certification program will ever happen but if it did, it'd be up to the seasoned professionals to develop the criteria for judging whether a framebuilder passes the test, as well as the end product. If you've been in business for 5 years or so (arbitrary #) you get the cert automatically perhaps?
    I may be wrong but I think if you can build a standard or regular frame you can expand your process and abilities with the joining method to other types of frames. May take twice as long and some new fixtures and tooling though!
    Whit Johnson
    meriwethercycles.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by Meriwether View Post
    This I completely understand and agree that repetition is what's needed for someone to truly 'get it' and become confident in what they're doing. I could see an apprentice getting in the way with questions and 'teach me how to do this' stuff when you're just trying to build a bike for a waiting customer.
    I think the classes like UBI, MetalGuru, and others are trying to capitalize on the interest in the trade and maybe fill a void of high production shops that no longer exist (maybe ZenFab and Co-motion are maybe two small ones in the US?). Although classes are just a start the individual has to create their own end, frame after frame after frame...
    Whether you can market and sell what you make is an entirely different story.

    Thanks to all who share your process and knowledge through the internet. The newbies stand on your shoulders and we're very appreciative. It's a huge legacy of information that will be here long after we're gone.

    PS- Funny small world Sierra Nevada story! Seems like there's a direct relationship between beer and bikes.
    Funnier still, for me. I was reacquainted with my pal when he called up to order a frame. I think it was late 90s, but could have been more recently. He said, hi it's his name goes here, and do I remember him. Of course I did. His story about the brewery was a good one, and he has done very well.

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    Default Re: Framebuilder or production line worker

    I may be wrong but I think if you can build a standard or regular frame you can expand your process and abilities with the joining method to other types of frames. May take twice as long and some new fixtures and tooling though!
    The joining side of it you can test easily - get everyone to fillet a T-piece, then try to break it. And/or hacksaw it in half. The problem comes when you try to test other things, like the builder's ability to choose materials to suit the job, build a frame straight*, or successfully meet the customer's requirements.

    You're right about expanding, though - oddly, I've done it the other way around. I started building odd things, it's only relatively recently that customers have asked me to build normal frames too. Having a proper jig and a big body of knowledge to draw from seems odd to me!

    *Because what's straight? A certain deflection measured from the BB shell? Who decides what deflection and measured from where? We probably all measure our frames differently. And how straight does a frame really need to be anyway?

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    Default Re: Framebuilder or production line worker

    - Notice how many fixtures Don is stacking up to ship out?
    - We entered into the age of the "gentleman builder" some time ago. Lots of people building frames who are not in business, and don't really want to be in business.
    - For any licensed trade (electrical, plumbing, etc.) I can find a guy who's willing to do it without the license.
    - There are two types of single builders, the guys who've been in the trade as lifers and could move to a place like Winnamucca and actually sell frames, and the guys who in order to sell price themselves in a manner to feed off the bottom. There's not much middle ground. If a guy coming out of UBI built a couple of dozen frames and charged an appropriate price like 2-3k he'd watch his empty email daily.
    - There are some guys I follow closely that are building incredible stuff, and I have no idea how they can survive. Many, many hours into each frame.
    - There are quite a few multiple (1-4) person shops.
    - Just read the story how Craig Calfee got his break with Lemond today. He'd been building like 3 years and got frames in the tour.
    - Rookie and newbie are derogatory words in our modern culture.
    - There's a perception that our current career guys all came out of shops, or little frame factories of some sort. I don't really buy that, some did, but many didn't.
     

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    Default Re: Framebuilder or production line worker

    A couple of thoughts -

    It's not UBI's domain to train or accredit folks for the niche, nor is it Doug's or Dave's or Koichi's. And it's not the obligation of the niche's either. If there's a market for a product, and industry wants to capitalize on it, jobs will be available where folks can learn what goes where. For the longest time, the market has spoken, and manufactured goods (mostly imported) are what fills the need. Most of it is better fabbed, and at least as well designed, as what a rank and file framebuilder makes.

    Comparing what framebuilders do with what's done at craft breweries or coffee roasters, or other similar-y trades is misplaced. A framebuilder typically has an order, and fills it. Normally, he himself does the work. No brewer makes a bottle or even a keg in a way that would be analogous to what we do. Same with roasters. The love might be there, but the scale of operation is more likely comparable to a production bicycle than to what we do.

    Anyway, you can tell I'm a bit bored. No races this weekend atmo!
    Last edited by e-RICHIE; 12-15-2013 at 05:56 PM.

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    Default Re: Framebuilder or production line worker

    Anecdotal semi on-topic musings:

    We have a local holiday fair this time of year. Lots of locally made craft vendors- sweaters, pottery, woodworkers, etc. Walking around that hall and seeing the volume of spec work (and associated material cost and time/ labor investment) was pretty astonishing when viewed from how I work. I have no idea if this is a mainline gig for most/ any/ all of the vendors, but it was pretty interesting.

    To touch on Steve's comment- I don't think you need to have been a shop guy to build a bicycle, but I can't imagine wanting to be a "Custom Bicycle Builder" (designer, customer service, sales, fab, etc) without having done it. Building a Bicycle is not welding a frame. While we might bemoan the lack of apprenticeship opportunities, it seems there is a pretty good supply of gigs selling and working on bikes that will introduce you to a wide range of Custom Bicycle Builder mandatory skills.

    Again, just some musings.

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    Default Re: Framebuilder or production line worker

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Estlund View Post
    Anecdotal semi on-topic musings:

    We have a local holiday fair this time of year. Lots of locally made craft vendors- sweaters, pottery, woodworkers, etc. Walking around that hall and seeing the volume of spec work (and associated material cost and time/ labor investment) was pretty astonishing when viewed from how I work. I have no idea if this is a mainline gig for most/ any/ all of the vendors, but it was pretty interesting.

    To touch on Steve's comment- I don't think you need to have been a shop guy to build a bicycle, but I can't imagine wanting to be a "Custom Bicycle Builder" (designer, customer service, sales, fab, etc) without having done it. Building a Bicycle is not welding a frame. While we might bemoan the lack of apprenticeship opportunities, it seems there is a pretty good supply of gigs selling and working on bikes that will introduce you to a wide range of Custom Bicycle Builder mandatory skills.

    Again, just some musings.
    The difference here, according to my opinion, is that unlike a sweater or ceramic cup, a bicycle is used on the open road. As much as I hate coming back to the same song, a bit more respect and diligence should be paid to the vehicle part of what we do, rather than to find more ways to group it with the arts and crafts world and the wares it offers. No attitude intended, but an observation. I don't have an answer regarding accreditation or testing, but I certainly have POVs about how low the barrier of entry into the trade appears to be.

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