Top 10 favorite framebuilding tools

It’s hard to pick just 10, there are so many. No, they’re not all file types and sizes. These are just the first that come to mind.

  1. Wilton Tradesman vise (5″ jaws) and some copper soft jaws. I bought it new to last me a lifetime and then some. Good luck finding a good used one. It can be done, but i looked for a year and found only junk.
  2. 6″ steel rule – metric on one side, ‘merican on the other. In my pocket at all times.
  3. 8″ half-round file (Fine) for smoothing out the miters that are inevitably rougher than I want straight off the mill.
  4. Hacksaw. Duh. 32tpi blades.
  5. Digital angle finder (so so many uses).
  6. Anvil Main tube mitering fixture. Seriously gucci but worth it. The newer version can fixture almost any size, taper, and orientation of tube including chainstays and seatsays for slotting.
  7. Diamond horizontal mill.  Three speeds is enough – it copes, it slots, it’s old and grey, it will live forever.  It may be small, but it’s light!
  8. Paragon tube blocks. So many uses from drawing tube centerlines, to mitering in the vise, to phase keeping, to flat plate ‘fixturing’, to…
  9. My brown iron workbench/table. It weighs more than my mill and is the centerpiece of the shop. So much is attached to it or resting on top…I just wish it were twice as big. But then I’d wish I could move it.
  10. Bringheli C-channel alignment plate. It’s not just for checking frame alignment. I use this more than I ever thought I would. This thing has taught me more than I ever thought it would which was a surprising side benefit.
  11. Anvil Journeyman 3.1.  It just IS. More than needed, such a privilege to own and take for granted. I hope to deserve it some day. That one is worth making the list go to 11.

 

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