Integral Shank Tube Mitre Cutters available now.

mitre cutter info

As some of you will have seen at Bespoked Andy Newlands‘ LAN71 tube mitre cutters have evolved  and are now made with an integral turned shank for ultimate concentricity. These cutters are made from PM-M4 particle metal which is even tougher than the PM T-15 material that Andy has used until recently.

I continue to distribute the LAN71 mitre cutters, and  would be pleased to hear from you with your cutter requirements.

A Visit to Reynolds Technology.

Andy Newlands and I went to visit the Reynolds factory in Birmingham. Andy will be distributing their tubing in the US.

Here are some (not great) pictures that I took with my phone. My favourite machine was the reeler. It plasticly deforms the tube between two offset metal reels so that the internal butting mandrel can be pulled out.

The weirdest thing was, the whole factory smelled like Reynolds tubing!


Reeling Machine


Drawing tubes


Fork blade benders


Keith Noronha shows us some tapered tubes.


Swaging machine.


Racks of assorted swaging mandrels.


Feeding the machine..


Lots of tubing dies. Tubes are drawn through these to set the outside diameter. They have to be routinely checked and replaced if worn.



Always good to see a fly press.


A stack of tube mandrels.

Joe’s frame comes in for a repair

My friend Joe called me to tell me that the messenger frame I made for him a few years ago had been vandalised. He had locked the bike to a lamp post in London’s trendy Shoreditch, and someone had smashed the top tube against the post putting a massive dent in it. I ordered a new top tube from Reynolds and cut through the old tube so that I could pull it out of the frame. Sorry for the smartphone photography!












My First Fillet Pro silver brazed stainless frame

After soaking in water it didn't look too bad.  Maybe the fillet should be bigger though.

After soaking in water it didn’t look too bad. Maybe the fillet should be bigger though.

My First Fillet Pro silver brazed stainless frame

Very different to brass brazing! I used a tiny flame.

Getting ready for Bespoked..


The calm before the storm!

Not long now until Bespoked 2014 at the Lea Valley Velopark from 11 to 13 April. Make sure you get yer tickets!


My New Surface Table.

So, as part of my quest to tool up in a proper manner, I decided to liberate a 4ft x 3ft cast iron surface plate from Glasgow University.

With the help of two Tirfor winches, a pallet truck and an engine hoist, my good wife and I brought the plate across the bridge to the island, down the steps and onto its base in the workshop.

50 years old but in fine fettle due in no small part to being kept with a protective wooden cover, I had one more task to do before it was ready for use.

I had to drill a hole through the plate to mount my bottom bracket post.  Like some noisy hardened steel harpoon though the skin of a great silent whale, I broke through the 40mm hide of this grey leviathan and ran paper under thumb to smooth the burr.  The fine hardened stainless steel post was made in the new world by Mr Alex Meade.  The post is designed to be used with Park facing tool threaded inserts.


I measured and drew out the shape of the casting ribs on the underside of the plate so that I could choose the optimum position for the post.

I used a thick piece of hardwood clamped to the table as a drilling guide.  I pre-drilled the wood on the pillar drill.


I used a spring washer, a flat washer and a nylon lock nut on the stud underneath the table.


Made in 1964, grade B (toolroom grade). More than adequate for bicycle frames.


Ready to go. Most bike frames will fit without overhanging the surface at all. The post can be removed in 30 seconds and the wooden top replaced to use as a general work surface.

I’m really looking forward to checking and aligning frames on this table.

Now I can almost braze properly…

So after about a year in production brazing at the Brompton factory I’d say may brazing quality was starting to ramp up considerably.  I’m still nowhere near the quality of the top dogs in the factory but I’m confident that I’ll be doing clearcoat quality fairly consistently before too long.

I did some practice brazes the other week in the workshop with flux paste.  As I’ve previously built my own frames with lugged BB shells, this is my first ever fillet brazed bottom bracket shell:


Didn’t go too badly, but I’ll be doing more practice.

The brazing that I do in my day job at Brompton has been really useful.

Last month a bunch of us from the factory took part in the British Heart Foundation London to Brighton ride with 29,000 other cyclists.  And yes, I did get over Ditchling Beacon on my 2-speed Brompton without stopping.  Just.


Also, my friend John, a lifetime engineer and machinist has offered to work with me as I start up as a frame builder, giving me use of the facilities at his factory to make jigs, etc.  What a guy.  Watch this space..