I posted this over on the MTBR framebuilder's forum (of which I am the moderator, for some reason). Thought people might like to see where it all began.
I built this as a birthday present for my wife, and it took more than 2 months to complete. I had NO idea what I was doing, but had access to a frame fixture and a TIG machine and free time on my hands.
My goals were:
-Safety. I built and broke a ton of practice joints before putting the bike together. The welds certainly don't look nice (in fact, they look like they were done by a 6 year old) but they have held up to a lot of abuse over the years.
-Durability. It's made from .049" straightgauge 4130 cromoly, and the frame alone weighs over 7 pounds!
-Relaxed townie style handling.
I had no interest in trying to make it light, or trick, or spending much money, because I figured it would basically suck, since it was my first attempt.
And while it didn't suck as bad as I had thought it would, it has some hilarious flaws.
-Alignment is (visibly) terrible. The bike, however, seems to ride in a straight line quite nicely.
-As I mentioned earlier, the welds look awful.
-Stays are very crudely bent and not symmetrical, chainring and tire *barely* clear.
-Brake bosses aren't aligned with the wheel, the frame, or each other (that's what you get when you eyeball the boss location)
-I didn't know how to braze, nor did I have a torch or any supplies, so the rear brake line is ziptied to the frame. Several cable stops met an untimely end when I tried to TIG them on.
-I doubt the dropouts made from 1/4" plate and stay "mitering" (ie smash flat with a vise, cut at an angle to match dropout) will be imitated anytime soon.