Shovel Research Build Log(s)

Hi! Sal here. Starting this thread as a place to document what I’m working on as I begin my framebuilding journey. I wrote a bit about my background in the introductions thread, but long story short, I took a brazing class fall 2021 and watch a lot of YouTube (shout out Paul Brodie) – constantly learning. I do infrequent aluminum TIG at work, have done maybe 1 hour of steel TIG total in my life, and maybe 50 hours of fillet brazing. Looking forward to a lot more of all of three.

I’ve built one frame and one fork. Currently in the mitering stage of build #2, which is a frame and fork for the PBE framebuilding scholarship. Jumping into the deep end here!


Started this build with a seat tube sleeve, as I’m not using an externally butted tube. Cut some slots on the mill and will finish shaping it by hand. Also made some head tube rings on the lathe. My day-to-day is mostly CNC and it’s fun to incorporate some manual machining into framebuilding. I have some other weird stuff planned, including a headset and brake cable hanger.


Very cool, Sal! You had me at custom machined head tube rings! Looking forward to seeing how this build comes together! I’m sure it’ll be beautifully done.


Front triangle is ready to tack now. I am doing this frame Paul Brodie style, taking some inspiration from his romax build series. Using a mix of Columbus Life and Tange Prestige. Suntour dropouts.

I ovalized the DT where it will be brazed to the HT since they are both 31.7mm.

I like the 2 flute EM for bottle boss holes. Super clean holes with allmost no burr. The tubes are 0.4/0.45mm.

ST will be trimmed above this sleeve later.

Also made a “fancy alignment gauge”

Excited to start brazing. I need to go swap my acetylene tank after tacking though, so it might wait until next weekend.


Some more progress. Aiming to have this done or close to it by end of next week.



This is a cool fixture. Does it hold tubes in the center with V blocks? Is it a DIY fixture?

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Henry James. Yes it holds the three main tubes at centerline.


Frameset and stem are off to powdercoat! Now just the details left to work on. Got the build figured out, but trying to find time to make both the headset and head badge this week. Here’s some more process pics:

Stem drawn, cut & tack’d

Finished stem

Manually machined and CNC engraved top cap

Stamped BB. Second frame, second fork.

I make these barrel adjusters too. Sacrificed two that didn’t pass QC.

Interesting cable routing… should have gotten another diver’s head for the adjuster side here, but Paragon provided the little cylindrical things for this build, so asymmetrical it is.


Almost a bike!

All done and getting blasted tomorrow. Frame is under 4 lbs, fork is 875g with uncut steerer. Didn’t have a goal in mind but I like light bikes. This is a mix of Columbus Life (DT, ST), Zona (CS), Tange Prestige (TT, SS).


Looks so sweet! Love the details!


Awesome job on the mitering with the lathe! My good buddy jeff Lyon miters all his main tube with a dingus that allows holding tubing blocks on the compound.
How thick is the stem extension tube? That slot makes me a little nervous.
Hahn Rossman

it’s quite thick as I planned to machine it in this way and didn’t want much flex in the stem. it doesn’t make me nervous at all - and no one else has to ride it! certainly an experiment though - I’m not an engineer. it’s nice to make things that aren’t products for a change.


the slot does look very Cool and Fast so I think you nailed it


It’s always great to test products ourselves! And thicker is rarely the problem.

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Finished build for posterity. It’s getting converted to mechanical shifting soon.


Very nice build.
I like the rear brake cable setup. Brings me back to the old days when I did a lot of experimenting with cable hangers and straddle cables on my BMX to get the most power out of it.


Does that rear brake setup require 2X the cable pull at the lever? What is the lever feel of the setup?

Great build

Not quite. Lever feel is ok, but still iterating on it. Long pull lever would cancel out the extra force I believe but I haven’t tried it