My badass grandpa brought me along on a 3-week bicycle frame building class taught by the legendary Doug Fattic. He's been teaching people to build lugged steel frames in the English tradition since well before I was born. The class is a relentless exercise in best practices. There is no compromise in quality worth a shortcut.

I'm 6'7", so I had never owned a bike that was truly made for someone my size.

I did all the work, closely supervised by Doug and his protégé Herbie, except where noted. They are exceptionally patient and skilled teachers, committed to the success of each project. Doug generously provides resources which ensure I could build another frame without handholding.

Design goals

We designed, cut, and filed our lugs to shape before the class. The faces of the edges should be perpendicular to the walls for a classic look.

We used a highly adjustable test fit bike to get the touchpoints in place relative to each other: handlebars, seat, and pedals.

We transferred these measurements to BikeCAD—which Doug doesn't really need, and uses to check for pedal strike—and his custom-cut steel alignment jigs, which we used constantly.

Like I said, my grandpa is badass.

Every time heat is applied to the frame, the whole assembly is clamped down and bent by hand until it is as perfectly flat as the solid steel table. Each joint involves two tacks into place and a final braze all the way around, so we got very good at alignment.


This is a gorgeous Campagnolo H-Tool. It's two identical pieces—when the cups are aligned as shown, the chainstays are aligned.

I cut these too short, and Doug bailed me out with a fix that was beyond my skill.

Herbie did this fillet braze, which was beyond my skill and extra difficult because of the need to avoid melting the silver braze below.