>"i'm just interested in knowing where the line is -IS THERE A LINE - that
>divides what framebuilders do from what, say, Cannondale or Colnago does.
>are they and their ilk our peers?!"

i'm not interested in being divisive; quite the contrary! from my
perspective: since time immemorial (!?) framebuilders built
their forks too, DESPITE the term "framebuilder". the same can't
be said for your other examples. yes - guys like Herse, and Harlan
Meyer (Hi-E), and Pino also did parts for their frames. firms like
Mercian did in-house enameling. but these are/were extreme
examples. obviously, now more people do more things. and some
do fewer. the way i see it, the fork-as-accessory market parallels
the mtb industry; when the sales for factory mtb's plummeted in
the early 90s, those same firms "diversified" into the road scene
just to stay alive, and brought their Asian forks (not meant as a
judgment...) with them. the marketing spin that these guys created,
along with say - litespeed and its ilk - single-handedly made cf forks
the market that it now enjoys. folks that never rode a bicycle 10
years ago were "convinced" that the forks were high-tech, etcetera.
i think all these manufacturing "advances" are an aid to the industry;
more folks have a wider choice of available parts at lower and lower
prices. the issue that was muddled, for me at least, was at which point
did builders - a term loosely used and certainly more loosely defined -
begin to co-opt the wares and ways that were typically reserved, for
lack of a better term, factory bicycles.
framebuilders, though i won't define he term, "used to" offer services
that were a cut above what was for sale at the local strip mall. historically,
forks were not a sub-heading to all this; they, along with the frame, were
"the" product that was "worth" waiting and paying extra for.