Day 2 started with a plan, more pictures, sore feet, a huge blister and a tube box still full of tubes yet to be worked on…

Dave Yates Frame Building Course Day 2 Start
Dave Yates Frame Building Course Day 2 Start

I honestly didn’t know if I would complete this build but Dave was confident! His workshop is just on the edge of Coningsby which has a very active RAF base, including Battle of Britain planes and all kinds of Jets that Dave seems to know inside out including flight times, flight paths and routines. Trying to have a conversation at 10am is hard with a Spitfire and Typhoon flying overhead! But standing outside of the workshop with cup in hand and looking up at the sky watching these guys fly these planes is breathtaking.

The down tube and head tube mitre was first on my to do list. No software, no printed mitre templates, no machines, no power tools, just a scribe, hacksaw and selection of hand files.

Dave Yates Frame Building Course Day 2 Cutting Downtube Head tube mitre
Dave Yates Frame Building Course Day 2 Cutting Downtube Head tube mitre

The BB shell also came with a webbed bridge which we cut out as will would create our own chain stay bridge. The top tube was also cut to the correct length.

While Dave adapted the seat tube lug and Max, one of Dave’s dogs lay in his bed nestled between my bench and one of Dave’s machines, I had a snoop around. I think if you dug deep enough you would find a machine or tool or gauge or measuring device for any engineering purpose!

Dave Yates Frame Building Course Day Dave Doing Some Grinding
Dave Yates Frame Building Course Day Dave Doing Some Grinding

It was now time to get some tubes into the jig ready for brazing. Setting up the front triangle is about getting the seat lug at the correct height, the seat tube at the correct angle, the top tube horizontal, the bottom head tube lug at the correct height. Chain stays are also test fitted, bent, aligned and trimmed to fit the geometry we had decided on.

Dave Yates Frame Building Course Day 2 Getting things in the Jig
Dave Yates Frame Building Course Day 2 Getting things in the Jig

The magic of Dave’s jig is it’s maneuverability. It can be moved, flipped and rotated into any orientation to make sure that the torch and rod can get access to the joint and get brass flowing in the right direction. I actually felt drained after all the brazing operations, the seat tube especially takes some doing. The amount of concentration is immense. The huge lump of steel that makes up the lug together with the steel jig fixture holding the tube to the jig just seems to absorb all the heat from the torch!

Dave Yates Frame Building Course Day 2 Brazing Main Triangle
Dave Yates Frame Building Course Day 2 Brazing Main Triangle

The final job of the day was to cut and finish the ends of the seat stays. Again, this is an area of a frame that can be customised in many different ways, or just finished in a plain end. I decided to finish mine with an over sized end cap which is reminiscent of how many SBDU frames are finished.

Dave Yates Frame Building Course Day 2 Creating Seat Stay Ends
Dave Yates Frame Building Course Day 2 Creating Seat Stay Ends

So would you believe that at the end of day 2, I almost have a complete bike frame, or in Dave’s words, “a set of tubes that resemble a bicycle”!

Day 3 was going to be ‘fork’ day. I was really happy with the progress we were making although I still didn’t believe we would have a complete frame and forks by the end of the course at lunch time on day 5. It was time to retire to the bar, drink a pint (or two) and try my best to remember what Dave had taught me.

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About the Author Neil McGowran

Blogger of all things to do with the Specialist Bicycle Development Unit (SBDU) and TI-Raleigh Ilkeston.

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