The Seduction of Making a Custom Bicycle from Scratch

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FROM STEEL: The Making of a Soulcraft from michael evans on Vimeo.

In my day job, my customers are artisans. They're people, mostly men, who build custom furniture and cabinetry and other things out of hardwoods with their two hands and then sell them for far less money than they should because we live in an age in which consumers are so disconnected from the knowledge of how things are made to care much about the craft and sweat that goes unseen. I'm just as guilty here, but how many times have you thought, "40 bucks for that? There can't be any more than 10 bucks in the materials"? As if that's the end of the story.

But is it? Ask a custom maker of any thingamajig and the materials are merely the introduction to the real story. Scratch that, ask anyone who's involved in manufacturing at all. Precisely. It's the cost of labor, or craftsmanship if you prefer, that's forced the makers of our mass-produced outdoor gear or the clothes on our children's backs to look at impoverished countries for lower cost labor. Indeed, the cost of materials won't be going anywhere except up.

However, I'm not here to exaggerate the value of custom hand craftsmanship. Sure, there's something romantic about it, but making things by hand is elemental and fun, if not enlightening, to watch unfold. The video here shows the owner of Soulcraft, Sean Walling, making one of his custom crafted bicycle frames from scratch. Because the story is told without dialog or narration, the video captivates and nearly hypnotizes. As he checks angles and makes cross cuts not to a certain dimension but to a perfect fit, you get an intimate look at how a bike is made by a man who's personally invested in the process. And not just how it's made but how much skill that goes into every angle, bend, weld, drilled hole. The drama builds only by the wonder of why he's doing what he's doing, and the mystery of what is he going to do next.


refuse truck hire
0 / 0
# refuse truck hire 2012-06-07 03:50
Consider having your bike parts chromed or painted.
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