Third Time’s The Charm

You could’t tell it from my increasingly-infrequent posts, but I am building another bike frame. My third. They say that the “third time’s the charm” – which implies that your first two tries left something to be desired. Maybe. And, yes, I do seem to have gotten the hang of the basics of the frame building thing this time around. This bike is going to be “nicer” and the first two noble efforts. Better tubing, better geometry. Fewer screw ups.

So while I still ain’t Irio Tommasini, Tom Kellogg or Darren Crisp, if you want to throw a leg over a genuine Taylor frameset you’r gonna have to see me.

Rather than do a repeat of the “Eight Tubes” series that I did while building Number 2, I’m just gonna mark my progress by posting some pictures from time to time.

Number 3: The Details

Tubing: Columbus SL
Lugs: Cinelli (copies by Long Shin)
Measurements: Top Tube 55cm (c-c)
Seat Tube 55cm (c-c)
Head tube 140mm
Chainstays 41 cm
Angles: Head tube 74 deg.
Seat tube 74 deg.




Proof that this is a low buck operation is the “jig” that I used to braze the main triangle of the frame. The “jig” consists of some leftover 1in square tubing that I had from the Fork-A-Lizer. The beauty of 1 inch square tubing is that (1) it is cheap, and (2) it is usually fairly true, with no twists. Because is it square, I figured that I could use it to align the head tube and the seat tube in place while I brazed the frame.




Put the fork on the frame, and it starts to look like something.


Ahh…Chainstays. The tricky part about chainstays is getting it all lined up – making sure that the stays are parallel to each other and the dropouts aligned so that, when you are all done, the wheel sits plumb on the bike. For the first two frames I just clamped the chainstays in the vise, lined up the chainstays by eye, squared up the drop outs, took a deep breath, and then had at it. Both frames turned out fine…perfect actually….but that was just dumb luck. So I built al little jig that does a much better job of aligning the chainstay tubes. I assembled things, and then checked the alignment for twist, etc., before I fired up the torch. The result: ‘effing perfect. And repeatable.





FInally, I’ve been collecting parts for the final build. Like its sisters, Number 3 is going to be another “old school” bike, which appeals to me. What I have so far..

A cool “drillium” Sugino Super Mity crankset


New-in-Box Shimano 600 front and rear derailleurs


I should be done in early spring….stay tuned.


5 Responses to “Third Time’s The Charm”

  1. 1 Nick
    March 23, 2014 at 10:44 pm

    Nothing like a hand made “Taylor Bike” Looking forward to following your progress.
    Greg, you once mentioned rustproofing a steel frame and and better alternative to using the frame saver that JP Weigle makes. Would you mind refreshing my recollection?

    • March 24, 2014 at 12:39 am

      Boiled linseed oil will do the trick. JP Weigle is good, but I can get a tin of linseed oil from the hardware store for $5 and do a bunch of bikes.

      How’s it going? Still volunteering at the co-op?


      • 3 Anonymous
        March 24, 2014 at 1:05 am

        Yea still showing up at VeloCity mostly on Thursday nights recently. It’s been slow but should pick up now that it’s springtime. Nice looking Shimano 600 gruppo.


  2. 4 Roger Curtis
    March 25, 2014 at 3:44 pm

    Could there be a full-time, frame-builder in the future? 🙂

    • March 26, 2014 at 9:18 pm


      How the hell are you? Could I do this full time? No, I work too slowly to make any money at it. Plus, I would need to move out of my garage, invest in better welding equipment and jigs, incorporate as a business, and get insurance. Especially insurance. Heck, the way that the liability laws work down here in the Lower 48, I won’t even build a frame for a friend (one or two have asked). I’m afraid of what would happen if they did something stupid while riding one of my frames and got hurt. I trust my friends; I just don’t trust my friends’ insurance carriers. You know, the ones who would be paying the medical bills. Those bastards would come after my ass in a heart beat. And, of course, the irony here is that I am an attorney…

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