Why paint?

Back in the day, it was expected that if you were a framebuilder, you were also a painter. Not really the case today. I would be interested to see a show of hands, but my guess is that maybe 90% of small custom builders outsource their paint today. It's a matter of time, resources, skill, space, etc. and I'm in this camp entirely, but it has always kind of bugged me. I've developed some good painter relationships and some bad ones, but ultimately, I still have to cross my fingers whenever I send a frame off. There's something I don't like about getting a bike 90% of the way there and then having to explain the last 10% to someone else. I'm pretty particular. There are some amazing painters out there that will put forth the effort to see your vision through, and builders know who they are, so they are busy folks and the line is long.

I had the opportunity to get my hands dirty and paint some bikes, so jumped at the opportunity to learn what I could. Here are some photos of the process (the rest can be seen on my flickr page ):

I'm nearly finished, and am happy with the results so far. I should have some photos of the finished product in the next day or two.



Originally uploaded by mapcycles
I'm in Michigan for 10 days learning to paint - wet paint. Doug Fattic (who I built my first frame with) invited me to glean what I can and paint a bike in exchange for some grunt work on my part, helping him with some of the frames he's painting at the moment. I couldn't pass up the opportunity, especially since I feel doing ones own paint is the final frontier for a framebuilder in terms of seeing your vision through to the final product. Not many builders out there can paint as well, and I'm not going to be painting my own bikes for a while, but even just getting a better understanding of the challenges a painter faces will help me refine the work that I do as a framebuilder. That's important to me. I'm excited to be here. Check back over the next week as I post photos and tidbits from my time here.