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Home Made Tools


As a new framebuilder, commercially available tools are very very expensive.  So, you make your own!  Here are a few photos to show how it is done:


Here are a set of blocks to hold the tubing.  Easily cut with a drill press. 


Brass jaws to hold something without scratching it.  Cut from a sheet of brass and hammer to the shape of your vise jaws. 




Here is a small angle iron used to find the centerline of tubing.  Lay the tubing in the groove, and scribe a line down the middle. 


Here is the tube, now scribe the line!


Here is a lug holder.  Take a scrap bike that is made from heavy tubing, cut it up, and use the tubing to hold a lug while you are working on it. 


Here is a braze-on clamp.  Just take an industrial spring-loaded clamp, braze onto the end a piece of half-tubing, and braze on another wire.  The half-round tubing holds the bike tube well, and the wire presses your braze-on in place as you braze it. 


Here is the braze on thingy mentioned above, this time holding a cable stop on my chainstay.  be careful not to braze the cable stop to the braze on clamp itself. 



Here is a head-cup press made from a one-inch (i think) diameter looong bolt, and some machined disks.  The disks can be large washers if you do not have access to a lathe.  However, it is better to have disks, especially if they are made from something soft like brass or aluminum, so that they do not rush your frame. 


Headset tools: upper tool is to hammer the lower bearing race of a headset onto a fork crown.  It is made from soft pipe.  The lower tool is a stick of aluminum, used (with a hammer) to tap off either head cups or lower bearing races. 


Here is a fork blade bender.  The wooden curved part is made from a pattern available from Henry James.  You stick your fork blade over the mandrel, anchor the dropout end where the vertical metal piece is (on the left), and then bend the blade with either a large pipe inserted over the fat end of the blade, or a piece of metal inserted into the fat end of the pipe. 



Closeup of the end where you anchor the dropout part of the forkblade.


here is a partially bent fork blade in the mandrel.  for a bending bar, try to use something that fits on the inside of the blade, as it will distort the fork blade less. 



Dropout alignment tools.  ONly possible if you have access to a lathe.  the gaps shown are where you screw them around the dropout faces.  I have made different spacers that can be inserted to give proper spacing for road, mtn, and track. 



Machinist scraper.   Take a triangular file, grind the teeth off so that it is flat, sharpen the edges, and then use this tool to scrape brass away from the lug edge.  Makes lug edges stand out very nicely. 


Here is a table to check alignment.  Made from an old marble tabletop, a dial indicator, and a machined pin that holds the BB in place. 


Unfortunately, the table is not thick enough for me to adjust the frame without cracking the table, so it is used for checking only. 



Thanks to David Bohm, Josh Putnam, Damon Rinard, Fred Parr, and others whose ideas and information have gone into this page.

If you would like to get in touch with me, please e-mail me at:

Created September 20, 1998. Last updated January 11, 2003.

visitors since October 2000

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