First Day on Doug Fattic’s Frame Building Course, Niles, Michigan

Well, after getting off the Amtrak (and a young chap sitting next to me buying me a beer on the train) in Niles, Michigan, I unfolded the Brompton and trundled down 5th St. towards Doug Fattic’s place on 3rd.  I had quite a few bags attached to my back, so I got a few funny looks in town.  I remember passing the gun shop.  Some friends of Doug’s took me out to dinner, before I hunkered down for the night at the house next to Doug’s which was his parents’ place.

I spent my first day of the week-long transportation bike course today – my fellow student Bill from Tennessee and myself chose our tubing and parts, worked out the size of our frames and had a good old play with Doug’s jig.

Doug’s apprentice, Herbie Helm, helped me with my silver brazing technique. Herbie has been making some very nice bikes – google him..

Bill and I were shown the ropes with the Oxy-Acetylene set-up, and then we had a go at silver brazing a steel sleeve into some old tubing – this was to simulate a lug for practice purposes.  I’ll get some pics up tomorrow.

Doug told us about his trips to England in 1973 and 1974 to learn frame building. He went to Ellis Briggs in Shipley, and his frame jig was inspired by that used by F W Evans in the 1970’s.  Doug explained how he was one of about 10 young men from the US who went to England to learn frame building in the early 1970’s, as the skills simply didn’t exist in the USA at that time.  Here are some pictures from my first day in Doug’s workshop (more will follow):

Doug Fattic's workshop, behind his house.

Bill & I sort our tubes into sets.

Herbie Helm, Doug's assistant, shows a frame design in progress in the fixture.

Inside the Workshop

Doug paints a good frame too.

A Look sizing bike in the workshop

I’ll make sure I write in more detail tomorrow. Good night.

One Comment on “First Day on Doug Fattic’s Frame Building Course, Niles, Michigan”

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