Gary Woodhouse from Curtis is looking to offer frame building courses, and at the end of it you will walk away with your own super sweet Curtis frame like the one below that made it into our 2012 Dirt 100.
How it will work is that it will be a five day course and you get to choose which Curtis frame you want to make. You’ll even be able to tweak the geometry if that’s what you want to do. Gary will teach you how to cut and shape all the tubes, and everything is done by hand, there are no fancy machines to do the work at Curtis. It’s great to learn how to do it the good old fashioned way though because then you can go home and do it in your shed with not much more than a few files and a hacksaw. Gary will then make sure everything is up to standard, before then getting you to tack your frame together. Once that’s done the frame will then be handed over to Brian Curtis himself, the master of brazing, for the final fillet brazing work.
If you’re wondering why you don’t get to do that bit it’s for a couple of reasons. Firstly you’ll be able to run the Curtis logo’s on your frame and so they obviously don’t want frames that are not up their usual standards bearing the Curtis name. This is actually the standard process for each and every Curtis frame. Gary prepares all the tubes and tacks the frame together, and then Brian finishes them all off. Gary is himself great at brazing, but when there’s really nobody who compares to Brian it doesn’t make sense for Gary to finish them. That brings us on to another reason. Gary doesn’t reckon that it’s really possible to get someone up to a decent standard in such a short period of time, especially when they have all the other stuff to learn. That said, he can and will teach you the basics (you’ll need them to tack the frame together) and then you can go away and practice later, which really is the only way to improve your brazing skills once you’ve got the basics sorted.
I reckon it’s probably a good way of doing things as if you are looking to build your own frame then often the hardest things to learn about are all the little tricks and the like that you need to fit all the tubing together. You can learn how to braze or weld tubing together almost anywhere, but finding somewhere to learn all the bike specific stuff isn’t so easy. Also, doing it this way means that you dont just end up learning loads, you also end up with a frame that is every bit as good as any other Curtis. Actually, it’ll be even better because you put it all together.
Gary is yet to work out the exact pricing for one of these courses, and it will vary a little depending on which frame you decide to build, but if you’re interested then get in touch with him on 07976 652 469.