There are discussions all day and every day about what it takes to build a frame, how to know when it’s right, and the maker ready for the market. These often evolve into Varsity Team level debates with regard to how much training one should have before cashing a check. When does the transition from being able to build a frame to becoming a framebuilder happen?
I was a terribly slow learner. Even though I had a couple plus hundred frames under my belt before my name was on one, I ambled along for years. By 1976, I was making out 110 units a season on average for the longest time. Despite the prodigious numbers, I never felt like it was clicking from end to end. I had the knowledge. My reflexes were good. I didn’t lack for tools. But there was always the intangible.
My internals couldn’t live with the deception. By 1990, I came out. Others reference how wonderful their work is, yet when I looked at mine all I’d see was what was missing. I speak from experience when I say the material tells you what it wants to be. Your job is to tame it. Over time, that became the focus. My obsession. So when the reporter asks about the pleasure derived from doing the same thing “over and over” I’m left wondering why I can’t make the same frame twice in a row.
How long would I have to stand at the bench before I’d feel confident, so arrogantly confident, that the miscues, whether they even mattered at all, no longer haunted me? A very long time.