On Mitering

Mitering by hand is a great stress reliever.  I love getting aggressive with files and listening to the lovely sound of grinding metal while shaping my tubes.  Slowly I'm getting better at it too - it used to take me a long time and a lot of corrective work to get one tube mitered.  Now that I've gotten a feel for it, things are speeding up a little.  

Spot on!  Mitering the downtube to the headtube.
Getting the hang of this certainly hasn't been easy, and sometimes I forget that I need to switch files and end up having to do a lot of fixing.  There's a lot of back and fork to check the tubes that are joining together as well - and often it's a matter of one or two files to get it perfect.  It's most definitely an art form!

Despite all of that, I would really love to get a milling machine at some point in the future.  Mitering by hand is a much slower process than cutting the tubes in a milling machine would be, but it still requires a fundamental understanding of the design of the frame.  With the limited amount of time that I have to spend in my shop, I'd like to take all possible measures that I can to speed up my process without sacrificing quality.  And, it's not like the tubes come off of the milling table 100% perfect - they still require a bit of filing and refining.  

It's a pretty cool feeling when your tubes come together all because of your hard work and attention to detail, so for the time being I don't mind continuing to miter by hand.  Maybe someday I'll find a milling machine that needs a home, but in the meantime I'll be filing away!

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