No. I grew up in Simsbury, Connecticut, a suburb of Hartford, and then spent my twenties in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Whats the riding like there (where you live now)?
There is amazing road riding right out the door and over a little hill. Rural roads, both paved and unpaved, that go for hundreds of miles in any direction through some beautiful landscapes. Portland is also a great city to get around on a bicycle. My wife and I do most of our shopping and getting around by bicycle. There is some great mountain biking in the state, but none within riding distance. That is one of the only things I don’t like about Portland. Everywhere else that I’ve ever lived I’ve been able to hop on my mountain bike and hit the trails without driving. There’s a fantastic park here with about 70 miles of single track that is off-limits to bicycles. It’s really a shame. Letting cyclists in to just a fraction of that trail system would bring in a army of trail work volunteers and supporters to a charity funded park advocacy organization. It’s unfortunate that the powers that be are unwilling to share such a valuable resource.
How long have you been building?
Almost 8 years.
How did you get your start?
I was a bored bike mechanic with a torch and some basic brazing skills. I’ve always been someone who makes things. One day I realized that I could probably build a bicycle. After doing a little research and getting together some more tools I just started doing it. Honestly, I didn’t practice much. I jumped right in and built a bunch of bikes for myself and friends. After a couple of years I was getting pretty good. My girlfriend (now wife) had this crazy idea to move from Salt Lake to Portland. I reluctantly came along and decided to start my business rather than try to find a job. I had no idea what Portland would be like. It turned out to be the best move I’d ever made. We fell in love with Portland, business took off and we are happily settled here.
Do you have an assistant? If so, who is he?
I’ve had a couple of guys helping me over the past year, but I’m currently back to a one man show. Sometimes I think I’d like some help, but it’s hard to find someone that will stick around and work a few hours a week.
Have you held other positions in the industry?
Just the bike shop. I’d been in retail (ski and bike shops) since I was 16. I was always a hands on guy. I tuned skis and fit boots in the ski shops and turned wrenches in the bike shops. Also did lots of time on the sales floor. This experience has made me really good at matching people with the right equipment and solving their problems.
Do you ever work in a material other than steel?
Who makes the tubing and lugs you like to use?
I mostly fillet braze, which is a lugless construction method using bronze to join the steel tubes together. I’m a mountain biker out of the 80′s and have always been fond of the early mountain bikes which were mostly fillet-brazed, so I was drawn to that technique when I started and have stuck with it. I build a handful of lugged bikes but it’s not my main thing.
Tell us about the jig you use.
My frame fixture is and Anvil Journeyman. It sets up really quickly and does the job well. It’s the second fixture I’ve had. The first one I had was awful. I probably spent 8 hours setting it up for each bike that I built. The Journeyman takes less than 5 minutes.
What sort of cutting and shaping of lugs do you like to perform? Does it vary from bike to bike or are there stylistic elements people can find running through all your bikes?
I add a lug-like sleeve to the top of the seat tube on all my frames. In the traditional parlance it would be called a bi-laminate. It is a very distinct feature found on all my bikes. There is a long point on the front of the sleeve under the top tube with a pear cutout (my logo). I like that there is something on my bike to identify it even without paint. Of course, I also have subtleties that are characteristic of my style like the way I finish my fillets and stay/dropout junctions, just like any builder.