Frame Building Course FAQ
You offer many different frame building courses. Which one do you recommend?
I highly recommend you start with the 4 day lugged fixie-rennrad-trekkingrad course, plus one day for a fork if you wish. Building a lugged frame is easier and goes faster than building a fillet brazed lugless frame. Brazing with lugs is easier for beginners than fillet brazing. If you enjoy building a lugged frame, then a good second step is a fillet brazed frame.
What are lugs?
Lugs are the (sometimes fancy) pieces that join the tubes together (especially on older stell road frames. Here are some pics of a lugged frame one of my frame building students built. One of the cool things about building a lugged frame is that there are many more ways to customize a lugged frame as compared to a fillet brazed frame. There are a lot of different kinds of lugs! Here is a pic of a lugless joint from a track frame I built. There aren’t too many possibilities here for customization (though I do love fillet brazer frames!).
Why are there two prices listed for your frame building courses?
If you take the course alone, the course costs more, this is the 1:1 rate. I suggest you try to find a friend to take the course with you, in which case you pay the lower 2:1 rate. It is more fun to take the course with a friend. If you can’t find someone to join you, I will try to fill the second spot myself, but there is no guarantee.
I am a complete beginner, can I really learn how to weld my own frame?
Well, yes, you can, but we will be brazing it as opposed to welding. This means we use a torch instead of an electric welder. Brazing lugs is relatively easy. Fillet brazing takes a lot of practice to get good at. There isn’t enough time in 5 days to get good at fillet brazing. The good news is that it doesn’t matter too much if you aren’t good at it… your joints will be plenty strong enough, they just won’t look particularly pretty. This is one reason why I recommend the lugged course as a good first step.
How much is the material cost?
Material cost for a nice lugged frame starts at around 250 Euro, with a good tubeset from Columbus (Cromor). This includes MWST and the silver you need to braze your frame. It can be more depending on which tubes and parts you actually choose for your frame. Dropouts for example can cost 10 Euro or 100 Euro. But for the parts I recommend for the lugged 4 day course, 250 is a good estimate. The material cost for a lugless frame with the same Columbus tubeset is around 150 Euro.
Material cost for a fork is usually around 100 Euro, including MWST. As with the frame it can be more depending on your choice of parts, but you can build a nice fork with nice dropouts and crown for 100 Euro.
Is paint or powder coat included in the estimate for material cost?
No, this is not included. I can have your frame powder coated or painted for you, for a frame and fork in a single color, including sand blasting and facing/chasing of the frame by me is around 225 Euro. I recommend powder coating if the frame should be a single color (most of the frames on my website are powder coasted). If you’d like the lugs in a different color than the tubes, paint is the only option. Custom paint work starts at 450 Euro.
I am from out of town and need a place to sleep. Can you recommend something?
There are a few hotels in Potsdam-Babelsberg, they tend to be about the same in price and quality. If you are looking for something inexpensive try one of the first two links:
Can I finish a lugged frame in four days?
Some people can build a lugged frame in two days, some people take four full days. Three or four is the average. If you have some previous experience with metal work chances are you will be at least average. It also depends on the frame. A fixie with no cable guides is faster to build than a trekking bike with canti and rack bosses. If you are coming from out of town I suggest you plan on an extra day in case you do not finish in time.
What if I don’t finish my frame in the time I booked the course for?
It is possible you might not finish the the time allowed for your course. If so there are basically three options. You can take your unfinished frame home with you for no extra cost. The other two options are to book extra days, or I can finish your frame for you, both of which would increase your costs. If you are coming from out of town, consider planning an extra day in case you don’t finish in time and it is important that you finish yourself.
When do you offer frame building course?
My schedule is flexible. There are no fixed dates. If you want to book a course just tell me when and I will let you know if your preferred dates are available.
How far in advance should I reserve my course?
I can’t say. If your dates are still free and you want to do the course, I highly recommend you book right now.
How do I reserve the course?
To reserve the course you need to pay half of the course fees, then I can block the dates for you. The second half of the course fees are due two weeks before the start of your course, and the material costs must be paid before you take your frame home.
How many people will be taking the course with me?
I have a small workshop and there is a maximum of two students at a time. If you prefer to work alone, please let me know. Otherwise I will try to find someone to join you for your course, but this is not always possible. If you want to be sure to get the lower rate, I encourage you to ask your friends if they might be interested in joining you for your course. It is a great idea because you’ll have someone to hang out with in the evenings after we are done for the day.