[CR]The Mysteries of Framebuilding


From: Norris Lockley <norris.lockley@talktalk.net>
To: classicrendezvous@bikelist.org
Date: Sat, 02 Jun 2007 01:02:24 +0100
Subject: [CR]The Mysteries of Framebuilding

In introducing this thread of debate to the List Nick Zatezalo posed the question , "How does profit hinder an artisan from producing quality work? "

Well of all the framebuilders I have known most were artisans/craft smen and most of them produced quality work. Of the artisan builders I have n't met, the Parisian builder, Bernard Carre stands out as one whom the pro fit motive did not prevent from producing quality frames. His frames were seldom elegant or artistic but they must have had other more essential qualities if riders such as Anquetil, Geminiani, Anglade, Janssens and oth ers of that calibre chose to use them.

This morning I had the pleasure of talking with Bill Hurlow for the best part of two hours. Bill told me that he had never ever been a waged-employ ee of any framebuilding company, but had always worked as a "piece-worker" ie he only got paid for what he produced. Apparently in his first year in t he industry, when he started out at Fred Grubb's, he had to spoke up wheels - the minimum requirement of him being four pairs each hour.

Bill reckoned that this introduction to fast working practices was to se t the standard by which he worked for the rest of his life.. He w as desribed as the fastest framebuilder of his time, his services being sou ght after on three counts (1) he was a piece-worker, (2) he was a very fast builder, turning around orders in double quick time and (3) his work was o f a very high quality.

Bill stated this morning that he earned perhaps as much as 50% more than other builders. Clearly Bill's pursuit of profit did not hinder him, an ar tisan, from producing quality work.

As for the "mysteries of framebuilding"...I think that that's really a l ot of smoke and mirrors.

Norris Lockley , Settle UK

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