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Thread: Framebuilder or production line worker

  1. #121
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    Default Re: Framebuilder or production line worker

    Understood. I think it can be a fine line though sometimes.

  2. #122
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    Default Re: Framebuilder or production line worker

    Quote Originally Posted by e-RICHIE View Post
    My advice to anyone in the trade now is to innovate, to introduce parts, to nag the ever-loving hell out of the 1-2 suppliers we still have, and encourage each maker to add something to the menu for those in our wake. To parrot myself elsewhere, "Produce shit or die." And by this I mean raw materials. Failure to adhere to this, and we're all dependent upon others.
    That's something I've been worried about for a while.
    Paul Gibson

    Ellis Briggs Cycles
    Shipley, West Yorkshire
    UK
    www.ellisbriggscycles.co.uk

  3. #123
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    Default Re: Framebuilder or production line worker

    Quote Originally Posted by ellisbriggs View Post
    That's something I've been worried about for a while.
    There's a bumper sticker in our parts that reads, No Farms, No Food.

    It crosses barriers.

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    Default Re: Framebuilder or production line worker

    Quote Originally Posted by e-RICHIE View Post
    There's a bumper sticker in our parts that reads, No Farms, No Food.

    It crosses barriers.
    Agreed. Well perhaps it's time I did just that. There are certainly some possibilities I can think of.

  5. #125
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    Default Re: Framebuilder or production line worker

    Quote Originally Posted by ellisbriggs View Post
    Agreed. Well perhaps it's time I did just that. There are certainly some possibilities I can think of.
    If you need or would like help or resources, please ask via email.

  6. #126
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    Default Re: Framebuilder or production line worker

    Quote Originally Posted by e-RICHIE View Post
    If you need or would like help or resources, please ask via email.
    Thanks. I may take you up on that.
    Paul Gibson

    Ellis Briggs Cycles
    Shipley, West Yorkshire
    UK
    www.ellisbriggscycles.co.uk

  7. #127
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    Default Re: Framebuilder or production line worker

    Great this thread has been revived, lots of good thoughts expressed.
    The older I get the faster I was Brian Clare

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    Default Re: Framebuilder or production line worker

    Quote Originally Posted by ellisbriggs View Post
    I think Garro was just referring to ordering frame from a Taiwanese contract builder and wasn't disparaging Asian framebuilders.
    Correct.
    Not a comparison of quality but rather a change.
    I have a personal love affair with Japanese bicycles........


    - Garro.
    Last edited by steve garro; 03-07-2024 at 11:49 AM.
    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

  9. #129
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    Default Re: Framebuilder or production line worker

    me too

    as well as tools: chisels, saws, planes

    woodwork

    intensive farming

    literature and art
    Jay Dwight

  10. #130
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    Default Re: Framebuilder or production line worker

    Quote Originally Posted by ides1056 View Post
    me too

    as well as tools: chisels, saws, planes

    woodwork

    intensive farming

    literature and art
    Just got done trimming a whole orchard of trees almost all using Silky pull saws !

    - 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

  11. #131
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    Default Re: Framebuilder or production line worker

    Quote Originally Posted by steve garro View Post
    Factoid:

    If you go back to page one of this thread everyone who chimes in except Richard and myself have quit building frames...


    - Garro.
    Eh hem... not everyone ;)
    Rody Walter
    Groovy Cycleworks...Custom frames with a dash of Funk!
    Website - www.groovycycleworks.com
    Blog - www.groovycycleworks.blogspot.com
    Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/pages/Groov...s/227115749408

  12. #132
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    Default Re: Framebuilder or production line worker

    Going back to page one, the truth that this work is HARD, still holds true... the skills can be learned and improved upon daily, but the work of running a profitable business that is not only sustainable, but provides for the future, challenges many.

    Growing business acumen, understanding accounting practices, building relationships with customers, clearly defining expectations and meeting those, and operating/living below your means are often not mastered and are the crux many fail to surpass to find success.

    I look back over all the folks that I spent time mentoring, either in person or remotely, and so many have moved on to other pursuits. They didn't lack passion...they lacked the patience and perseverance to practice the aforementioned traits. These are the key to move from production line worker to "framebuilder"... a holistic understanding coupled with ever improving desire for higher quality.

    This year marks 30 for me and I still feel that I can DO BETTER.

    cheers,

    Rody
    Rody Walter
    Groovy Cycleworks...Custom frames with a dash of Funk!
    Website - www.groovycycleworks.com
    Blog - www.groovycycleworks.blogspot.com
    Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/pages/Groov...s/227115749408

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    Default Re: Framebuilder or production line worker

    Quote Originally Posted by Rody View Post
    Eh hem... not everyone ;)
    Thought you were in the handlebar biz ?
    ;)

    - 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

  14. #134
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    Default Re: Framebuilder or production line worker

    Quote Originally Posted by Rody View Post

    ...they lacked the patience and perseverance to practice the aforementioned traits.
    cheers,

    Rody
    That's it in a nutshell.
    Or, let's face it = they got better offers.
    Or died.
    A lot of guys just up & die, go figure........


    - Garro.
    Last edited by steve garro; 03-11-2024 at 11:55 AM.
    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

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    Default Re: Framebuilder or production line worker

    The bike industry in general has attracted those who don't quite fit in with big corporate world work. Frame building is even more filtering it seems. That some who are so passionate about cycling that they feel compelled to try to contribute but lack the business sense, personal discipline, enough capital/$ to take the time to learn this stuff and/or support from their close ones to "make it" (which is a poor phrase as all that means is that one is able to continue:)) is no surprise to me.

    On the first day of the Eisentraut class I took he gave some US frame building history. He spent more than a few minutes on the "personalities" that ended up as builders but went onto divorces, bankruptcy and suicide. I would add substance abuse to the list too, from some I have worked next to. Andy
    Andy Stewart
    10%

  16. #136
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    Default Re: Framebuilder or production line worker

    Quote Originally Posted by steve garro View Post
    Thought you were in the handlebar biz ?
    ;)

    - Garro.
    Both a blessing and a curse... to think that I spend a week each month on bars, since '06, is sobering. It is nice that I have a product that I can fit in between full bicycle builds, allowing more folks to have a piece from the shop, providing a consistent revenue (USPS has to be happy too). It's more of a head down, process the work flow. Lacks the creative spark of custom builds.

    r
    Rody Walter
    Groovy Cycleworks...Custom frames with a dash of Funk!
    Website - www.groovycycleworks.com
    Blog - www.groovycycleworks.blogspot.com
    Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/pages/Groov...s/227115749408

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    Default Re: Framebuilder or production line worker

    We need newbies to buy parts so they are still available. Doesn't matter if they build with them or not. I was contemplating the bigger question, and it comes up often over the years. There are so few people deriving a significant part of their income from framebuilding, that it's natural for them to worry about what newcomers are doing. I feel like the new builders that engage in forums are being urged to practice, a lot, and I see a lot of practice joints and, to a lesser extent, frames.

    As an engineer, I have had the same feelings with regards to new engineers. It's better in that domain, probably, because new engineers don't have as much freedom to screw up.

    It's not hard to find stories online about people that didn't have a good experience with builders. In my memory, the split between that happening with experienced people and new people is fairly even. No clearance for tires is a common one as we all went to wider tires over the last few years. But I have seen any number of problems, like cranks not clearing, no delivery, and the list goes on. And every time that happens, someone reads about it and decides to get a Trek. It's a tough business. Sales, scheduling, parts, and lastly, building are all a lot for in a business that barely pays minimal wage for most people. But people keep signing up to do it. Which is good, because they buy parts.

  18. #138
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    Default Re: Framebuilder or production line worker

    Quote Originally Posted by EricKeller View Post
    As an engineer, I have had the same feelings with regards to new engineers. It's better in that domain, probably, because new engineers don't have as much freedom to screw up.

    .
    Right?
    I know an engineer who made their own roof a who's who of ice dams and a resulting front door skating rink
    - 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

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    Default Re: Framebuilder or production line worker

    [QUOTE=sam;560997]

    "When I see newbies with only a handful of frames getting websites and calling themselves a frame builder, or buying a mill or an anvil journeyman for there first frame, building tools that are meant to overcome their lack of skills instead of developing those skills, or tools that are not thought out well due to their lack of understanding of the process, etc. It makes me think what drives us to become a frame builder in the first place, and why do we make the decisions we do along the path, is it a lack of understanding, do we not believe our peers when they say learn "this" first."

    Never commented here. I hope I don't step on anyone's toes. Been a member for a while. Love staring at all your work in Friday Night Lights.

    Anyway, I'm not a frame builder, don't call myself one, but am a shop owner. I do build frames though, I understand why they need to cost what they cost now, and I'm still going to build as much as possible but it is all mostly as a function of informing repair and modification of existing frames, as a bike shop service offered here. And also to satisfy my desire for such work of course.

    I think "retiring" from the retail set bike shop to build frames for a living would be totally dumb, but incorporating it into my business has amounted to meaningful added revenue, a creative outlet, and it's own set of rewarding challenges. Same with resprays and doing my own paint which have come to have a unique identifiable look. If you bundle services right, you can do a lot of this and make a decent profit too...if you're intentional. Anyway, I do think it's a good point though. If you're not professionally building frames for a living, what gives you the right to call yourself a builder? I don't think you have that right really.

    But I also genuinely think that the future of this craft lies in its proliferation throughout service small departments and other diversified settings. A lot, maybe most, builders out there ARE independent and do not operate out of an approachable commercial space, so folks are not aware that repair or mods are possible. Even if they are, they've gotta find you through word of mouth and then you have to have desire and time in your frame queue to do the job. A noticeable number of "newbies" are taking my approach I described above, rather than going fully into to naming themselves frame builders after two or three. I think the U.S. has like the most independent frame builders per capita in the world or something, so y'all are kinda to blame for being so inspiring and stoking the flames. The proliferation of the craft will come with some dilution in design learning, perhaps some slower skill growth, but these newbies are young...they'll get better while also thin out as people realize it's not profitable or there's no demand, and said proliferation of frame work will also come with a cultural change and more accessibility, which ultimately means more bikes stay in regular service and bike shops are able to diversify even more. This is just me respectfully trying to offer a bright side to the equation. :)

  20. #140
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    Default Re: Framebuilder or production line worker

    Quote Originally Posted by robbiewood54 View Post

    But I also genuinely think that the future of this craft lies in its proliferation throughout service small departments and other diversified settings. A lot, maybe most, builders out there ARE independent and do not operate out of an approachable commercial space, so folks are not aware that repair or mods are possible. Even if they are, they've gotta find you through word of mouth and then you have to have desire and time in your frame queue to do the job. A noticeable number of "newbies" are taking my approach I described above, rather than going fully into to naming themselves frame builders after two or three. I think the U.S. has like the most independent frame builders per capita in the world or something, so y'all are kinda to blame for being so inspiring and stoking the flames. The proliferation of the craft will come with some dilution in design learning, perhaps some slower skill growth, but these newbies are young...they'll get better while also thin out as people realize it's not profitable or there's no demand, and said proliferation of frame work will also come with a cultural change and more accessibility, which ultimately means more bikes stay in regular service and bike shops are able to diversify even more. This is just me respectfully trying to offer a bright side to the equation. :)
    That's a lot to unpack and I'll agree with you in principle. We're not in Kansas anymore. The trade once served those who wanted and or expected a higher level of quality (and service) than could be provided by the mass market suppliers. It's all 180 degrees from that now. No matter how few or many frames someone makes, whether they're a sidebar to some other career or an additional revenue stream for the bicycle shop they work in, as long as the entity is run professionally, I'm good. And by that I mean the maker is fully insured and doesn't take money (or even just a six-pack) for a frame that isn't covered. At this point in time, I hope the terms insured and covered don't need to be explained.

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