recently, there's been a string of posts on the framebuilder listserve
regarding the herding of folks near and wide into a guild of some
sort. here are some replies of mine (in the bold type):
>Perhaps there is a need to unite everyone to embolden the sense of

community, and less of a place where standards are set and worked
>towards. More a place where standards and work ethics that are passed
>along from one builder to another aspiring builder.
if we are borrowing from history and tradition, the worker is
trained for the job by observing and carrying out routine tasks,
to the point that the operation is drilled into him and the repetition
brings an articulated hand-eye coordination which will serve the
worker forever more. once this is accomplished and the worker has
a skill set, he is more valuable. at that time, if a builder needs to
expand and take on an assistant, he can train the worker in "his
ways". and so it goes.
However, i can see the need to create a larger community that
>recognizes all the builders in the states and can be a place for

teaching/learning, support and sharing of ideas/process.
who are all these unrecognized builders? where are they? are these
guys toiling now and suffering in silence. a good part of this thread
thing for me is about wondering who exactly are the cats that this
guild thing is "for"?
As an example-It is kind of odd that someone would take the time
>to include a ranking system on a website.
who did this? neil, and the website? i have no issues with using
a system to connate a post-ers place in all this. if someone posts
there routinely, the broad base of readers can search archives
get a feel for this cat's m.o..
otoh, mebbe all post-ers should drop kick the screen names and
should be mandatory to have a weblink as part of the signature,
thus allowing the reader to research the validity of an infrequent
post-ers thoughts.
and a day or so later i continued with:
as far as the "ranking", which it hardly is,
mebbe the
best moniker would either be none at all, or new
member, contributing
member, paypal-ing contributing member,
or some such bullshit. atmo,
anyone that reads a text posted by
a bonifide builder with "newbie"
attached to the icon, and
believes the guy really is "new", needs to
get out more and
spend time reading history. if doug doesn't post there
it'd say "newbie" on his first ??? posts, that's a loss for all the

real fng's that need learnin'.
as far as any guild and/or ranking system of builders that
somehow is
tied to a way to command this or that price, i
can't see how that would
work. not all builders build only
for commerce. bb makes money on
paint jobs. fattic cashes
in on classes. i sell mostly complete bicycles
and that profit
offsets losses inherent in "hand-work". some builders are

also retailers. the list goes on.
so, what now? i would love to see a post or eight from folks
that truly
feel that they are
being held back because the industry
has no place for
them, and what that guild thingy would do for
them so as they could get
a piece of the rock.
I am not opposed to an organized group that has a specific and
>clear purpose, one that plays no favorites and does not involve
>any politics nor commercial ties in specific.
brian et al -
this listserve should have a mutiny! as it now exists, it offers
everything that one could want: non-commercialism. routine
disemmination of information through posts and hyperlinks,
a most equal participation from all by din't of no moderation,
no limits on daily posts, no penalties for off topic threads,
full access to all framebuilders and newbies alike. etcetera!
i see it as the ideal arena in which the er, craft, can be both
discussed and natured. while it is a virtual community and,
as such, cannot be brought to a bank to support a small
business loan, nor can the "list" get you a discount on insurance,
the folks here can certainly steer you in the right direction. as
i posted before, i like it here and i like it at neil's across the hall.
if we all continue to reply to posts, ask questions, supply links to
suppliers and pic pages and the like, al gore's internet can do well
by the framebuilding community both established and upcoming.

ps i am anti rating, anti quotas, anti prizes at nahbs, anti
except selling ourselves short. i say this often
and i know it's boring,
but framebuilders live outside the
system, in the margins. if we really
cared "that much", we'd
find a way to assimilate into the industry
at large. nothing
wrong witdat! but think about this: if nahbs were
to be used
as a baseline to even define a framebuilder, how many
bicycle companies would be "allowed" to exhibit due
to the
fact they are factories, or job shops, or contract houses?

that is a rhetorical question, but my point is that organizing
a bunch
of loners and "craftsmen" and folks that wanna live
without a model
year or a price point to dictate what they
do - well, that would be a
tough herd. and lastly since i watch
the horological world when time
permits, their high end
organization (see ) took decades
to form and
they only have 20 or so cats in it. i love the snootiness
of it
all yo, so if bicycles and watches ever have something in
mebbe we can herd the boutique guys !! i won't
wait up.
smiley face goes here ----> ________ .
and a day or so later i continued with:
i often wrestle with this "what is a framebuilder" thing
and i certainly wrestle with a guild thing. wrt the latter,
it's because i am curious about being in an organization
that fosters different points of view than i have, and whose
very raison d'etre lives in the grey area. there - i said it.
framebuilding certainly is a creative endeavor and it will
be impossible to set a standard for a guildworthy frame.
but i do not feel it is as difficult to set a standard for a
guildworthy framebuilder. atmo, while it is not possible
to discern when a builder finally "gets it", i do not think
one gets it after 10 or 20 tries. actually, my personal number
would be near the several hundred tries, but i am not running
for gatekeeper, only opining here. i also think that time spent
has value, and - i like the numbers thing - i am uncomfortable
with a guy that hasn't been at it for a good many years. there
is no question at all that a person can be trained and spoon
information that allows him to build a very nice frame
in a short(er)
period of time, but true framebuilding is also
about problem solving
and not only about crafting a nice lug
when you make a frame for someone else, that frame
ends up on the
open road, in traffic, and used at speeds that
approach the takeoff
and landing speeds of a small airplane.
and, to be fair, it ought to
last for a while too. i would love
to "endow" some term or some
membership opportunity to
every freaking zealous member of this
list and on neil's forum,
and call them all "framebuilders", but at the
core of my own
personal demons about this is that - in essence -
this is really
not a craft, it's a profession, just like yours is, and
just like
real estate is, and just like teaching is. for most professions,

a certain amount of training, and working through routines,
spending a certain amount of time at it, are are prerequisites.
while there are no real training grounds for building, there
the bicycle industry. (oh no, he's starting with that
crap again.).
i have a difficult time getting past the fact that
folks want to "practice
the craft" and or "keep the flame burning"
and try to get it with a
drive thru, cliffs notes approach.
okay - that's what was on my mind. i typed it, and i will post it.
i remain vigilant in my efforts to spend time online and
share what i
know and the resources i've tapped though the
years. i'll add whatever
support i can to a guild thing. but what
i need to know is how others
define the term "framebuilder".
my definition encompasses a certain
degree of work
accomplished, a certain amount of years spent, and
also the ability to exhibit a reasonable amount of conviction
stand behind your work as well as to stick around long enough
to see
it become an heirloom.
> when someone says that you have to build 100's of frames to
>"get it", then will you at the same time admit that your first couple
>100 sucked as well?
"sucked" is a relative term. but i recall not having a clue after
100, despite
the fact that they were all sold and i had a steady
clientele. i never truly
i had a real grasp on the complete
package until sometime in
the 90s, about
20 years in. i continue
to "doubt", though i do believe
that my bar is higher
now than
it was then. so - if i ever do think i have
it nailed, i would likely
be that motivated to forge ahead. getting to
that place is
why some of us
play the game.
...Like Richie said, "sucked" is a relative term. How long it takes to
>"get a clue" despends on a number ot things; most important would
>be what you were exposed to (framebuildingwise) before you begin
>to build frames of your own.
i want to avoid contentiousness at all costs, but since i was
the post-er
that used "had a clue" in a sentence earlier and
it is peppered here in
your reply, is this reply for steve and
the list, or is it for me? if you really
had a clue from the start,
my hat is off to you.
i mean that. i, on the other
hand, always
recall what eva zeisel, at age 98, said in an npr interview
2005. she was chatting with jennifer ludden about how her
as a ceramicist ought to have somehow honed her skills.
her reply to
this was:
"If you try to do something perfect, I think this is the last time
do anything. If you feel it, this is you have now reached
there can't be anything beyond it."

when i re-read the text of that interview, i am reminded
a clue" is more often than not something that
at the very end.
everything until that time is just
you and i clearly live different
lives and have
different reference
points. despite what i wrote earlier
about feeling comfortable
with all this by the 90s, which
was 20 years
into the gig, i still
live in wonderment of all
the possibilities that exist
when i try
to make a pile of
metal become a bicycle frame. sometimes i
get pretty darn
close, but i never really get it. i never thought
of the
time spent as - to use your word - "floundering", but
guess that's what i do and mebbe that's why i get paid the

big bucks! (the big bucks part
of that comment is levity).
now, if you have made it this far, please note that related
posts are pasted separately, mebbe 4-6 entries below this
one. get a cup of coffee and go wild!!