What's going on: Start to finish
In my compact framebuilding shop (235 square-feet), I build bicycles from the highest quality materials designed to the client's body measurements and the bike's intended use.
All Frances framesets are assembled primarilly with American-made tubing and components. I am working through my supply of True Temper and using the new Vari-Wall butted tubes from Ohio. Frame fittings and components come from Henry James Bicycles and Paragon Machine Works and many small parts are made here in the shop.
Modern steel is light and has all the weight, flex and strength characteristics desirable in bicycle performance.
Once I know who I am building for (body measurements, needs, desires- a lot of stuff!), Diamond frames are laid out in Bike Cad, a computer drafting program by Brent Curry. Many variables are customized per the riders needs.
The Nichols hand-miller, made in Waltham, Massachusets, 1943.
Most all main tube mitering is done with the Nichols. A great stout and compact machine.
In addition to holding tube blocks for cutting main tubes, the fixture holds assemblies for cutting stems, chainstays, seatstays, brake posts, and more.
The Supermax, made in Taiwan, 1984
A bridgeport-style vertical milling machine, the Supermax is a vertatile friend.
It drills holes, cuts bridges, shapes aluminium, and is capable of accurately making all kinds of handy shop tools.
Most of my mitering fixtures , bending mandrels and jig assemblies were created with this machine.
In addition to string and some other basic alignment tools, I rely on a frame alignments table built by NECA (New England Cycling Academy), and a Nortac main frame jig which is constantly rearranged and upgraded to suit the needs of my varied designs. I purchased the NECA from of the illustrious basement of American Cyclery in San Francisco, and the Nortac came from none other than Paul Sadoff of Rock Lobster. I also use various tools from J Stein, a mysterious one-off fork jig, and recently acquired an Anvil Journeyman Frame Fixture.
I make great efforts not to purchase any shipping materials. Bikes are shipped in used boxes from Local Bike Shops (usually The Spokesman- Thanks!) Cargo Bikes that ship in wooded crates are made here from recycled lumber which we compulsively scavenge. I buy trailer boxes (Tharco 36”x16”x7” ) and packing tape from Coast Paper supply, conveniently located next to the welding shop, just off the levee. More shipping photos coming soon.