Thursday, May 14, 2009

Misinformation highway

Remember those " Question authority" bumper stickers that were everywhere about 15-20 years ago ? I don't see them any more-maybe it's a given that folks question authority every day without the need to advertise . Back in the day I thought to myself : " Maybe some of the authorities need to be questioned , but some of the questioneers need to seek something significant, not just assume that somebody who might know more than you needs to be dismissed ignorantly". -Hey, it's just what I felt at the time because most of my friends who had those bumper stickers were dumbasses posing as rebels. This brings me to the subject of internet forums, particularly the ones involving discussions about framebuilding. I used to be on one of these forums, checking for nuggets of information and to post something now and then that might help one of the new folks avoid the numerous mistakes that I made . I guess its some character flaw within me that makes me want to help folks......people I'll probably never meet-some who might very well become competitors.The way I see it, whoever can do the job best deserves the buisness....I know it dosen't always work that way but its how I feel. After about a year and a half of being part of the maelstrom of the forum I had to cut the cord . My sin was posting factual methods learned and proven in my shop humdereds of times , stuff that I know would be helpful. I posted these bits in response to questions from new folks on the forum. What I got for my troubles was usually some guy , probably an out of work engineer who had read a bit and had gotten a lot of heresay advice and was now an 'expert' telling me that what I was posting was incorrect, according to what he had read or heard. I call this person an " Ignorant shithead posing as a person with a brain". It's the same guy who says :" I'm hooking up a pipe to the ass of one of my cows so I can use the methane to run my torch, therefore avoiding using the questionable established and proven oxy-acetylene setup". Maybe it's the guy who told me that tig-welded on cable stops cause frame failures ......I asked him for photos and/or any documentation of this and he said that he had none but that he heard it from a friend who had built a frame. Nice . Then there was the guy who told me I was not a good buisnessman because I had only sold two lugged frames that year and that he had built 400. I personally had never seen one of his frames , not at any of the shows , not in a magazine, not at a race. The guy was lying. He was a good builder, too....he didn't need to bullshit but he did-after all, its the internet and the framebuilder's forum so anything goes, right ? Actually, not right. The truth is, very little goes and the rest is absolute garbage. There are ways to build frames that work-they are well documented and effective, proven in shops all around the world as well as on the world stage of racing. Still, thats not enough for some complete moron in a garage somewhere who thinks that they might someday try to build a frame say : " Hey, I heard that I can use beef tallow for flux ". Yeah, and milk is cow's pee. So I left the forum after mr. 400 lugged frames in one year flamed me with a steaming load of bullshit. I have seen a few really talented and established builders get questioned mercilessly about the soundness of thier methods and it put me over the edge. I still want to and do teach folks, after all-30 years of trying to figure out this crap caveman style has given me some enlightenment on the subject , at least I would like to think so. One guy said to me : " Why are you still building with that aluminum crap?" I said to him , Hey......I'm booked up for 4-5 months with many orders do you have ? ......silence.


  1. its kind of a shame that you left the forum because one person gave you grief over your methods.

    i assure you that there were/are lots and lots of people that would love the tasty nuggets you and your fellow pros drop once in a while. i know i did!

    the forum you speak of is hurting for builders with more than 10 frames experience, feel free to stop by once in a while and learn us newbs a thing or 2!

  2. I think people are more willing to respect authority once they realize they do not know everything, allow their egos to recognize this, and perhaps become desperate enough to seek out an "authority" to find some fundamental direction. Apply this to framebuilding and other matters of (greater) import.