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Thread: Huckleberry Cycles

  1. #1
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    Default Huckleberry Cycles

    Hi folks, my name is Jake Rosenfeld, I'm 41, and tentatively flirting with the name Huckleberry Cycles for no other reason than that it is hard to say "huckleberry" without smiling. I got in line for Smoked Out because I'm a sometimes contributor to the FNL section and a regular part of the peanut gallery in the rest of this awesome place.

    After reading along with the other builders that have gone before me here, I am a little less worried about telling my whole story in the preamble. I think a lot of what and who we are has come out in the question and answer portion, and it has been a pleasure to be able to look in the window.

    I left home and school at age 16, and thanks to a friend taking me to his parents feed mill, I was working full time within the week. After a year there, it was the typical work stream of a young man - various contractors, the shipyards, and I worked as a logger for more than a year. By the time I was twenty I had settled on framing, by twenty three I had gone into business for myself, and by twenty five I had builders flying my crew and I to Hawaii for a month at a time to frame vacation homes. By twenty nine I had paid off my first piece of equipment; an Pettibone 4wd-RT extenda-boom fork lift, by thirty five I had paid off my crane. The last ten years have been spent focusing on building large, technical houses on difficult lots. Here is a house as an example that I did a few years ago, some of you may recognize it as the vampires house in the movie "Twilight" http://www.neurosoftware.ro/programm...e-in-portland/

    Through all of this I have always maintained a shop and have constantly strove to increase my skillset in as many areas as possible. By nature I'm drawn to build and repair as much of my own stuff as I can. Around 1999 or so I obtained my structural welding certification, turning a lifelong hobby into a paying part of my business. Many of the odd houses that I am called to frame incorporate structural steel, and being able to provide this service streamlines the job for the people who hire me. More and more I find myself being asked to do small, one of a kind metal or mixed media type work. I don't turn much of this type of work down, as I realize that my body won't allow me to frame forever and quite frankly I'm getting a little bored with it. Most of all, I love a good project; finding all the parts, figuring the tooling, detailing the process, and learning a new technique all play into what makes my world go round.

    Bikes totally fill this bill. I started trying to build frames about 5 years ago, but really gained momentum 2 years ago when the economy inadvertently allowed me more time off from regular work and I was able to focus more time on technique and tooling. I have been riding and racing my own frames in road, mountain and cyclocross pretty regularly for the last three years. I find the best way to get better at framebuilding is to ride my mistakes. Nothing makes me want to build a better bike then knowing everyone is looking at the same mistakes as I am.

    Without a formal training program, I have to consider myself self taught (and still learning). I totally credit the internet and all the builders that have taken the time to detail their work and make it available to the public via forums and links to Flickr sets with making that path possible. It's true that a picture is worth a thousand words, but I think that estimate may be on the low side in some cases. I would like to thank Richard Sachs for hosting a killer page full of photo streams on his site - there are some people there that can tell a story with a camera. I know that in the age of the "internet builder" that this path is often looked down on, but I think in a lot of cases it's an unfair labeling as there are plenty of folks with skillsets that transfer to framebuilding quite well. True there are folks getting into it that have no business getting near the tool drawer in the kitchen, let alone a torch, but for the most part a picture, if you know what you are looking at, is a valid teacher. I feel my progression from a know-nothing to my current status as a newbie has been absolutely textbook. I bought all the fancy tubesets and attempted the hardest techniques first, in the exact fashion that countless dreamers are told not to do. I moved thru this period pretty quickly, settling down into a routine of working within my skill level, trying to develop at least one new skill per frame, getting my build process nailed down, and creating at least one new tool or aid that could help with the next frame. Some frames never made it past the front triangle stage, some only made it a few rides, but all of them, when it was decided that their usefulness was over, have been subjected to destructive testing. I've cut up, smashed, and tried to rip apart welded joints. I've carefully made cuts in main tubes to watch for unwanted tensioning and successfully made adjustments to my process to eliminate this effect. To date I have no failures, (edit; one cracked seatstay at the dropout from not employing a disc brace). I'm sure the longer my bikes are on the road that some will come, but I'm always mining the internet for construction tips or forensic conversations on why a dropout failed or a lug cracked and I am quick to change it up if I find I am doing something questionable.

    As far as how I came to framebuilding I wouldn't say that I came on what seems to be a traditional path. I've never worked as a bike mechanic or even in the industry, (although I do all my own wrenching). I've had my nose buried so deeply in my first career and my family that I never even really started riding seriously until my early thirties. I will say that at this point, I am looking to add it to my list of things that I do to make a living. Not full time at this point, but It's always been fun to watch how things can develop. Insurance is in the works and the first couple of bikes are lined up. I don't really consider framebuilding a huge departure from what I am already doing for work. I've been self employed for 18 years now so I have a decent handle on the whole time management, deadline, tax thing, which seems to (understandably) hamstring some folks just starting out.

    Anyway, I want to say thank you to the V-salon team for the tremendous opportunity to put my story not just out there, but grouped in with such an incredible group of individuals in a setting that only increases in value with each addition. Love you guys!
    Last edited by bellman; 09-18-2010 at 12:28 AM. Reason: link was locked up from overuse by vampire hunters
     

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Huckleberry Cycles

    Hey Jake:

    Let me be the first to welcome you and thank you for being Smoked Out. Don't worry about the "no formal training thing." If you have, and continue to maintain the passion, you'll do just fine. I was supposed to have a five year apprenticeship but was fired in a couple of months. Just as well, I think. Keep up the experimenting and tinkering. You will stay on the steep part of the learning curve, where you want to stay as long as possible. Keep it up ... and go with Huckleberry!
    Tom Kellogg
    Rides bikes, makes 'em too.
    Spectrum-Cycles.com
    Butted Ti Road, Reynolds UL, Di2, QuarQ, Conour lite, SP Zero
    Steel Cross, X-7, Crank Bros, Concour Lite, Nemesis, Grifo
    Steel Piste, D-A Piste, PD-7400, Concour lite, Zipp 404
    http://kapelmuurindependent.be


    Shortest TFC Member (5'6 3/4") & shrinking

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    Default Re: Huckleberry Cycles

    Hi Jake,

    Nice read and interesting path. You wrote that you made road, MTB and CC frames. which type is your favorite and why?

    BTW there seems to be an issue with the link as it's asking for a password.
    Cheers
    Kevin

    PolyTube Cycles

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    Default Re: Huckleberry Cycles

    Hey, cool story. My grandfather was a run-away-from-home-turned lumberjack, so some of what you write has a comfortable ring for me. I admire a guy who can walk me through 25 yrs of his professional life in < 6 lines!

    Also, do you have pictures stashed somewhere?
     

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    Default Re: Huckleberry Cycles

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Kellogg View Post
    Hey Jake:

    Let me be the first to welcome you and thank you for being Smoked Out. Don't worry about the "no formal training thing." If you have, and continue to maintain the passion, you'll do just fine. I was supposed to have a five year apprenticeship but was fired in a couple of months. Just as well, I think. Keep up the experimenting and tinkering. You will stay on the steep part of the learning curve, where you want to stay as long as possible. Keep it up ... and go with Huckleberry!
    Thank you Tom, I've been both looking forward to today and dreading it as well, I appreciate the welcome. I think one of the undersung benefits of being a newbie and not having a queue (I had to look up the spelling for that) is being able to to experiment on different things as ones style develops. I'm enjoying the process.
    Huckleberry it is!

    Jake
     

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    Default Re: Huckleberry Cycles

    Quote Originally Posted by datas_brother View Post
    Hi Jake,

    Nice read and interesting path. You wrote that you made road, MTB and CC frames. which type is your favorite and why?

    BTW there seems to be an issue with the link as it's asking for a password.
    Ooh, good question Kevin,

    Whereas I like all three, I would say that right now my favorite is MTB, I think that as far as product testing is concerned that they give me the most feedback the quckest. I consider myself a fairly hard rider and the type of XC riding I have been doing really brings out whats strong and whats not in my frames. I also enjoy being able to explore the artistic side of things on the mountain bike, I think there is more room for expression on this type of bike than say a race specific road frame. Thats not to say that you could'nt do something different but I just don't think it translates as well.
    Hmm, thats weird on the link, it was working a couple weeks ago, I'll hunt around to see if I can find an alternative.

    Thanks, Jake
     

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Huckleberry Cycles

    Cool story...welcome to SO!

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Huckleberry Cycles

    Quote Originally Posted by JoB View Post
    Hey, cool story. My grandfather was a run-away-from-home-turned lumberjack, so some of what you write has a comfortable ring for me. I admire a guy who can walk me through 25 yrs of his professional life in < 6 lines!

    Also, do you have pictures stashed somewhere?
    JoB,
    Glad you like the story, I'll bet your grandad has some doosies! Sorry on the pictures, One of the things I need to get better at is documenting my work. 20 some years of construction and I have less than an envelope of pictures, not to mention nothing digital. I am a relatively new computer user so being able to organize and retrieve things are really not second nature to me yet.
    I'm working on it :-)

    thanks,
    Jake
     

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    Default Re: Huckleberry Cycles

    Hi Jake, it's nice to hear some details as to what brought you here. I think you're 100% on, and I hope you maintain the confidence to bring your skillset as far as possible. I find it interesting to read all the various paths builders have taken; you aren't arriving with an empty plate. You mentioned previously you've had eye trouble. I hope this isn't too serious, can you elaborate? And how has this affected your work and building?
    Craig
     

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    Default Re: Huckleberry Cycles

    Hi, my name is Eric and I'm an internet builder.
    Since you didn't apprentice with anyone you must draw all your knowledge from an assortment of other builders who's work you follow. Who are these builders? Who's work speaks to you and in what ways?

    As for Huckleberry, I have to second Tom's approval. Whenever I hear that word, I think of Val Kilmer's portrayal of Doc Holiday in Tombstone.



    Btw, I love the cross bike with the loop at the top of the seatstays you posted in FNL.
    Eric Doswell, aka Edoz
    Summoner of Crickets
    http://edozbicycles.wordpress.com/
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    In Before the Lock

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    Default Re: Huckleberry Cycles

    Quote Originally Posted by CyclesNoir View Post
    Cool story...welcome to SO!
    Thanks man, happy to be here finally!
     

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Craig Ryan View Post
    Hi Jake, it's nice to hear some details as to what brought you here. I think you're 100% on, and I hope you maintain the confidence to bring your skillset as far as possible. I find it interesting to read all the various paths builders have taken; you aren't arriving with an empty plate. You mentioned previously you've had eye trouble. I hope this isn't too serious, can you elaborate? And how has this affected your work and building?
    Craig
    Hey Craig, thanks for the affirmation. Reading about and viewing the results of your painting journey has really got me a little more interested in that end of the eff building process, love your style.
    As for my eyes, yeah, I'm in a little trouble there. I have a heredetary condition called ' granular corneal dystrophy' I'm right in the prime age zone for the heavy onset of it.
    I've always been nearsighted and a glasses wearer since age four or so. 8 years ago I had a PRK done, worked great, they told me at the time that they had removed what astigmatism I had and that it would be about 10 years before it would return. Last year I had real troubles on and off the bike with my vision so I went for a check up. The first doctor told me he could understand why I was having trouble but didn't know what it was called. I went back to the university hospital and within minutes every intern in the place was lined up to take a look.
    I was almost completely night blind and in low light at work I would have horrible trouble seeing detail. If something, like a human face, was backlit I could see no features unless I was within about 2 feet. On the trail it would seem like my eyes were focusing about 50' apart depending on which side the light was coming from. when I would enter the woods from a clearing I would be blind for hundreds of feet and the same when nearing the edge of the woods coming into the light. The disease deposits 'Opacitys' into the corneal layer that look alot like snow flakes, when the light hits them it bounces all around, you can see but you have to look for a clear spot. It is sort of like looking thru the bottom of a fancy candy bowl or one of those beveled glass front doors ( i call them prescription doors)
    They were able to fix most of it by doing another PRK, setting it back by about ten years, I was informed that I have enough cornea left to do it again, after that a cornea transplant is another option. The way medicine and technology advance these days, it's possible by that time they will have an APP for it on the eye-phone.....
    As far as it affecting my work and building, everything improved massively after the surgery. One of the things I had to get used to was the muscle memory of how close my welding hood is to my work, when you flip your mask down and strike and arc, your whole body places itself in a certain spot automaticly , now this is too close , I have to remember to pull back a few inches or my eyes start to diverge and everything goes to hell.
    It will be trouble again eventually but for right now it's AOK.
    thanks,
    jake
     

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    Quote Originally Posted by edoz View Post
    Hi, my name is Eric and I'm an internet builder.
    Since you didn't apprentice with anyone you must draw all your knowledge from an assortment of other builders who's work you follow. Who are these builders? Who's work speaks to you and in what ways?

    As for Huckleberry, I have to second Tom's approval. Whenever I hear that word, I think of Val Kilmer's portrayal of Doc Holiday in Tombstone.



    Btw, I love the cross bike with the loop at the top of the seatstays you posted in FNL.
    Hey Eric,
    Thats funny! It was one of the things I thought of as well, I actually had to go look up the meaning of the phrase and ironicly in a long winded and twisted way, it ends up meaning "man for the job' which was good enough for me because when ol' doc holiday said it, I have to admit I wasn't sure what he meant.

    As for the knowledge end of the question, I draw that from everyone that has ever posted anything anywhere that I've read, Good bad or ugly the info goes into the chipper. It all helps.
    Even Voldemort over at the old FF spinning one of his 'that's nothing, listen to this' stories had gobs to offer. One of the benefits of construction is that you are exposed to a lot of different trades and over the years you learn to cut right to the quick of who knows what when they speak up, I've got a good filter, this is a great place.
    Speaking to the influence question, It would be easy to spot the Coconino/ Vulture-esque style to the curved tubes on the Mtb's I've been doing but I try not to practice straight up plagery , instead I find myself being drawn to the bikes that just look right in my mind and focusing on what it is about them that caught my eye. Most recently the bikes that most cacth my eye are the ones getting posted here by Baum, In my opinion his placement of the seatstays behind the TT could not be more spot on. Overall there is no one posting here that isn't putting the tubes exactly where they think they ought to be, I love the process and I love seeing the results and the styles that have developed.
    I'm getting hungry and maybe a little loopy, I hope I answerd your questions Eric, Btw, I love the polished details you're putting into your frames, just beautiful.,
    Thanks,
    jake
     

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    Quote Originally Posted by datas_brother View Post
    Hi Jake,

    Nice read and interesting path. You wrote that you made road, MTB and CC frames. which type is your favorite and why?

    BTW there seems to be an issue with the link as it's asking for a password.
    Heres an update Kevin, not as flashy as the place I was trying to send you but some good shots anyway. Its' an impressive house;
    Beautiful Houses: Hoke House in Portland | Programming Blog

    cheers,
    Jake
     

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    Default Re: Huckleberry Cycles

    I sympathize with the eye problems. Mine see two size images, so like if you were playing basketball, there would be two baskets. It's one of the reasons I was picked last for teams in PE. It is corrected with glasses, but I can't focus with the glasses on when I braze, so I take them off. Yeah, that means when I'm brazing, I see flames, and somewhere there is a seatstay, or lug. Not as bad as your problems, hope you can get them fixed.

    dave
     

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    Hey Jake, cool story. I never thought I'd see "feed mill" and "logging" in any single background. We have a great deal in common, except I never managed to get a first career going.

    As I was mining a photo sequence the other night...I heard myself narrating it. Like the tv show. As Dave Ramsey says, "If you can't explain how it works to someone else, then you don't understand how it works." He says this wrt investing. But I think it applies to everything.

    Great success to you and hope the optical challenge doesn't become too much of a problem.

    Huckleberry--yeah, but just because I didn't think of it first!

    oh and, come down to austin and i'll show you the internet builder handshake.
    Last edited by WadePatton; 09-19-2010 at 12:40 AM.






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    Default Re: Huckleberry Cycles

    Quote Originally Posted by innc View Post
    I sympathize with the eye problems. Mine see two size images, so like if you were playing basketball, there would be two baskets. It's one of the reasons I was picked last for teams in PE. It is corrected with glasses, but I can't focus with the glasses on when I braze, so I take them off. Yeah, that means when I'm brazing, I see flames, and somewhere there is a seatstay, or lug. Not as bad as your problems, hope you can get them fixed.

    dave
    Geez man, sounds to me like I have no trouble at all comparatively. My problem would throw a little double vision in from time to time and It was totally unbearable to me.

    What is it about the glasses that keep you from focusing during brazing? are you wearing dark goggles over the glasses? could you try a magnifier in the goggles?
    let me know,
    Jake
     

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by WadePatton View Post
    Hey Jake, cool story. I never thought I'd see "feed mill" and "logging" in any single background. We have a great deal in common, except I never managed to get a first career going.

    As I was mining a photo sequence the other night...I heard myself narrating it. Like the tv show. As Dave Ramsey says, "If you can't explain how it works to someone else, then you don't understand how it works." He says this wrt investing. But I think it applies to everything.

    Great success to you and hope the optical challenge doesn't become too much of a problem.

    Huckleberry--yeah, but just because I didn't think of it first!

    oh and, come down to austin and i'll show you the internet builder handshake.
    Hey Wade, thanks for the welcome, I will try to make it to Austin for the handshaking lesson. Oh and Post More Pics! remember, without guys like you and me there is no spectrum here.
    best,
    Jake
     

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Huckleberry Cycles

    Quote Originally Posted by bellman View Post
    Hey Wade, thanks for the welcome, I will try to make it to Austin for the handshaking lesson. Oh and Post More Pics! remember, without guys like you and me there is no spectrum here.
    best,
    Jake
    Speaking up "spectrum", meeting Tom last year was one of my (many) NAHBS Richmond highlights. Photos are coming, but it's of crappy crap like wiring and insulation and moving all my stuff around. (but such is the life of a startup internet redneck builder) Framework is on hold until the meter spins (or i back feed it with a generator). But it shouldn't take long. Meeting with John, the local electric coop engineer, next week.






  20. #20
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    Default Re: Huckleberry Cycles

    Quote Originally Posted by bellman View Post
    Hey Eric,
    Thats funny! It was one of the things I thought of as well, I actually had to go look up the meaning of the phrase and ironicly in a long winded and twisted way, it ends up meaning "man for the job' which was good enough for me because when ol' doc holiday said it, I have to admit I wasn't sure what he meant.

    Thanks,
    jake
    ha- what's funny is that before I got my leg broken last month, I was finalizing a couple t shirt designs with my sticker guy. Basically, it was my new logo on the back and a curved tt mtb on the front with, you guessed it, the words "I'm your huckleberry" under it. My grandfather used to say it and Tombstone cemented the cool factor for me. So does that mean great minds think alike or it's all been done before? ;)

    Speaking of things that have been done before, what builder(s) do you look to the most for direction/inspiration for your continuing ed at Internet Tech?

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