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  #106  
Old 10-18-2017, 05:51 PM
Dazza Dazza is offline
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rub rub rub

Rub rub rub ......................................rub rub rub...................................... ache ........................beer, aghhhhh.

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  #107  
Old 10-19-2017, 06:27 AM
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  #108  
Old 10-19-2017, 06:02 PM
Dazza Dazza is offline
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I have to sit down and pursue the muse by attempting to work

This crown has been Dazza'ed





I am pleased with the out come of the curves




It is not about me, it is about the bikes I can make for ya

"Most people wait for the muse to turn up. That’s terribly unreliable. I have to sit down and pursue the muse by attempting to work."

Nick Cave

[VIDEO]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1GWsdqCYvgw[/VIDEO]
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  #109  
Old 11-22-2017, 06:01 PM
Dazza Dazza is offline
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Intro Why do I design and produce frame castings and parts for steel frame constructi

Why do I design and produce frame castings and parts for steel frame construction?

There is a fair quantity of frame fittings and lugs on the market for a frame builder to choose from, much of it is from the 80’s and early 90’s era when steel frame production was ubiquitous. It is a pile of toil and expense to design and produce new casting designs, so why do it?
During my normal daily work at the bench making frames I found those 80’s and 90’s frame parts and some more recent designs lacking in many ways, they:
• do not exist for particular frame geometry, thus restricting design considerations.
• do not allow the builder to modify them for aesthetic or design considerations.
• didn’t exist for larger tube sizes which are better suited for use in frames for the larger and or heavier rider.
• are missing important design features that belong in 21 st Century lugged steel frame construction.
• are time costly and difficult to use correctly or to modify for design considerations.

Right from the start and to this day I do not design and produce new parts to exploit a perceived demand in the frame builder’s market, but firstly only to fill a need I have in the Llewellyn workshop production. However the initial design, tooling and production costs for new frame fittings are considerable and my own in-house production volume would never recoup these costs. To recoup the considerable expenditure I sell these Llewellyn parts directly to other builders or via my agents in the USA and Europe.
I will start with an out-line of the investment casting process and then follow a chronological order discussion of the Llewellyn parts I have created and give a short rational of the “whys” of their creation and some of their features:

• “Llewellyn Stem lug set” – First stem lug set for 1” and 1 1/8” forks and 31.8 handlebars.
• “Crescendo” lug set – World’s first road frame specific sloping top tube lug set for XL (DOS) tubes.
• 30.60mm seat posts that fit directly into 0.50mm wall 31.7 seat tubes
• “Little fella” Gear boss – Stainless Steel investment cast threaded M5 DT gear cable boss, for 31.7 and 35mm down tubes.
• Manorina –A road frame specific sloping top tube lug set for OS tubes
• Track Dropouts – Track dropouts with enough material for placing on larger stays
• Dropouts – Investment cast dropouts with and without twin M5 threaded eyelets
• Limpets – Stainless gear and brake cable bosses
• Custodian – Level top tube lugset for OS tubes
• Cadenzia – Level top tube lugset for XL tubes in partnership with Dario Pegoretti.
• Rack bosses
• Nipper M5 seat tube binder boss. For lugless frame construction.
• XLH-4 Socket stay seat lug Cadenzia – Level top tube lugset for XL (DOS) size tubes.
• XLS-04 “Crescendo” Socket stay seat lug – sloping top tube lugset for XL (DOS) size tubes.
• Project underway, new process for casting, custom designs and a new frame set with lugs and fittings for mega tube size. Why, because I get asked for this.
• Projects in the wind, decent fork crowns that ease the builders toil and work well and look sweet
• Project in the wind, decent BB shell that ease the builders toil and work well and look sweet with correct angles.
• Socket seat lug for Custodian and Manorina lugs sets (OS tube size)

Please feel free to ask if you have any questions. If you want some of these goodies, you know where to find me 😉
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  #110  
Old 11-22-2017, 06:06 PM
Dazza Dazza is offline
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Part One The Llewellyn Casting design story.

Part One.
The Llewellyn Casting design story.
I stated working at age 16 Hoffy Cycles October 1979 for the owner Eric Hendren, I went there because I wanted to be a frame builder of custom bicycles. (the “why” is another story) At that age my 16 yo rose tinted glasses were very bright. Eric was using mostly pressed lugs and BB shells from his stock of Tange parts he had stashed in large tins in any corner that was convenient on the floor. This stash was a result of a trip to Japan he won via the bicycle trade. Around this time investment cast BB shells and lugs were starting to make their presence, mostly Cinelli if I recall. I was infatuated with all things concerning frame building and hand-made steel frames was ubiquitous in the quality cycle world. It was long before the corporations would arrive, we had no idea of what was to come, we lived for the time, rode bikes, trained and went racing and spent our scarce wages on bikes, travel, hotels and racing.
The picture is of me holding a Tange BB shell, that if you look closely you can see it is Blued for marking out and I had cut a playing card in the DT socket and most likely it had a H on the bottom of the shell. I would take the lugs home in my back pockets and would drill and file in a corner of bedroom. Why in my bedroom, because mother was very ill and it was the only safe space to do this and I was not allowed to set up a table with my little vice in the garage. I would get $15.00 for a set (enough to buy a training tyre) and Eric would use them on the Hoffy frames when the customer requested this detail. In the pic below Eric is actually repairing a striped thread in the BB shell of a 3 speed roadster. We fixed normal stuff and got it out the door and back on the road. Can you imagine shops doing that now? Unless they can throw it away and order the new part on line and then bolt it on with a “torque wrench” and so claim they are clever bicycle technicians while you wave your CC card over their machine, they are effing stumped ! You can also see some Reynolds tubing boxes on the shelf. On the other side of corridor beside the shop was the hairdressers and a couple of very nice young lasses worked there. It was absolute torture/frustration for me as they walked past the big sliding doors next the work benches to the lunch bar.



Workshop Hoffy Cycles Sandgate Brisbane circa 1984. Darrell McCulloch and owner Eric Hendren.
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  #111  
Old 11-22-2017, 06:18 PM
Dazza Dazza is offline
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Part Two The Llewellyn Casting design story.

Part Two The Llewellyn Casting design story.
In Queensland it seemed we lived in isolation from the world of frame building. It was out there somewhere but what was out there seemed bigger, brighter and more glamorous than Brisbane according to the bike magazines. If you went to the summer track carnivals you would see 75% of the bikes being ridden were from Hoffy, if you went to the winter road races you would see 50% of the riders astride a Hoffy, all made by Eric in Sandgate. We saw some frames from interstate and the occasional imported Italian frame set but it was Hoffy frames everywhere. Keep in mind the race scene was all there was, very little cycling was done as a recreational past time back then. The adverts for investment cast frame lugs and parts were appearing in the pages of cycling magazines and I would over scrutinise any picture of frame making or a workshop that appeared on the pages. One particular book that I absorbed at the time and was a huge motivation was “The Custom Bicycle”. Wow, I thought. ......... Meanwhile Eric kept whistling to the tunes on 4BH radio and I longed to listen to the test cricket on the radio while Suzy and Tania kept walking past on the corridor beside the bike shop to the sandwich bar. Sigh!








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  #112  
Old 11-22-2017, 06:21 PM
Dazza Dazza is offline
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Part Three The Llewellyn Casting design story.

Part Three
I lived with an urge, perhaps an unstable lust for frame making. It was only the magazines and a book or two I honestly recall where I was standing when I thought “one day I want to design and make frame casting and have own bike shop with the frame building out the back.” I really did have that thought go through my head. I was standing at the work bench with aching legs from the 2 hours of training before work commenced at 8.00am, doing some mundane task such as rebuilding a Shimano B type coaster hub in some kid’s bike for the 4,000 th time, pondering, day dreaming and needing to sate my desire to do more frame work. My enthusiasm for the frame building, to take it further was far greater than the situation would or could allow. Eric has to make the shop pay it’s way and it was toil, toil and persevere at the toil and I was there to do the tasks, chores and earn my wages. Meanwhile I was trying to stay sane with the family home situation by shutting out everything but for training, racing, work, reading and anything frame making related. It was around this time I bought my first lathe, a little Emco Unimat that I kept on a table in my bedroom. I was starting to realise “a lathe is a beautiful thing” .
The day did come , 20 years after the thought went through my cranium but there was a few more steps to take on my time line.


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  #113  
Old 11-22-2017, 06:25 PM
Dazza Dazza is offline
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Part Four The Llewellyn Casting design story.

Part Four
Six years at Hoffy Cycles and I had become severely bored. There was a limit to how many coaster hub rebuilds I could suffer. I made my first two complete frames the year before and now I was restless. I chatted to Eric, I asked if I could do more frame building work, I wanted to do more and develop the frame building side, to make it brighter, newer, promote it, inspired by the Italians and I had that youthful enthusiasm that is yet to be dulled by the passing of many laps around the sun. Eric said , “yes, we will have to something……………..” Six months later no movement, then I jumped at the opportunity to work for another chap who built frames in Brisbane. I was 23 and I had to make the change. Any change would be good, but most importantly I was now making frames all day, which then allowed me to start progressing, on someone else’s time. Even my racing improved. I got my 6” lathe and a mill/drill, both of which I still use today. However a year later that frame making gig went bad, the owner and his partner had issues. Left me in the lurch, but two weeks later I got a job at the “Lifecycle” bike shop on the Normanby five ways. Working there was like working in the middle of a traffic island, no frame making but it was a good job and I had few good mates working there, so it was fun and got me involved with retail. It was some time in 1987 that the thought went into my cranium that it was time. Time to start making some frames under my own steam if I am ever going to make frames again. The first thing I bought in 1988 was my 200kg surface/inspection table. $2,000 was a lot gold coin for me back then. It left me broke and totally impossible to have a social life. But for me I wanted to have precision in the build process, so the most important thing is a good alignment inspection table. It should be the #1 tool in a frame maker’s workshop! I still had to wait till I could start making frames, so it was work full time, work in the evenings making jigs, learning the basics of lathe work (only ran the tool into the chuck once) spend every dollar on more tools and still no real social life. Early 1989 I was close to making my first frame as a registered business. No idea what to call the frames. I wanted something related to me, but not “McCulloch”or “Darrello” or one of the numerous other stupid suggestions put to me. “Llewellyn” my middle name, there that will do and I struggled to remember how to spell it. I liked having something that was not main stream but connected to me. So “Llewellyn Custom Bicycles” was registered as a sole proprietor and frame number 001 was made.
I made frames at night when not training or racing, worked on frames on weekends and worked full time during the week at the bike shop. I did start to have a social life, but a few wrong turns along the way, crash and burn etc. A few crash and burns is good for you eh!
I raced, got married. Stopped racing, worked part time in the shop and the other 3-4 days made frames. I had orders flowing. Made a lot of track frames, and 99% were racing bikes. Then I was a bachelor again, so I went to France with some mates and started racing before I was too old and to completely get it out of my system. Age 29-30. That was a great experience, I am very grateful I got to do a couple of seasons racing village races in France. Back to making frames in the summer and working at the bike shop. Came home from France after the 1994 season broke, with glandular fever but did I not know I had it then, got a fulltime job as the road cycling mechanic at the Australian Institute of Sport and with the national team. Lived in Canberra and in Europe. Worked the Worlds and the Atlanta Olympics. Washed Aussie team bikes in 23 countries. Came home, worked in bike shops and made frames and did 6-8 months stints till the Sydney Olympics and the worlds in 2000, now that was a big year. After the big year of 2000 it was time to stay home and ponder what is next.




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  #114  
Old 11-22-2017, 06:27 PM
Dazza Dazza is offline
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Parts to come The Llewellyn Casting design story.

More next week, got to go and listen to the Ashes contest on the radio.
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  #115  
Old 11-22-2017, 06:37 PM
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Great writing, thanks.

Wow, Michael Sheen could be your brother-from-another-mother, but without the bicycle-building genius skills.


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  #116  
Old 11-23-2017, 09:08 AM
timto timto is offline
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Thanks for all that you do! I have really enjoyed using your custodian lugs and drop outs - I've used your drop outs on several frames. Look forward to the new stuff you have to introduce! For forks - I notice you like to use straight blade forks - there seems to be two options currently - ~40mm inside width , and another that's a whopping 60mm inside width which is too wide for a road bike, where as the ~40 is pushing it for a fat tire road bike which is becoming popular... something right in between would be great!!

Also missing is something straight, 50 width, and INTERNAL crown for those fillet builders like me out there that like a fully smooth look....

Thanks for sharing your story, enthusiasm and making amazing products and being an inspirational crafts person.
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  #117  
Old 11-23-2017, 03:55 PM
bob heinatz bob heinatz is offline
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Thanks for sharing your story. Your bike building skills are incredible.
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  #118  
Old 11-28-2017, 09:39 PM
Dazza Dazza is offline
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Part 5 The Llewellyn frame casting story

Part 5 The Llewellyn frame casting story

While I was galloping about Europe, washing bikes in a different country every week (23 in total) the world of the independent bicycle frame maker was changing and it was never going to be the same. From about 1995 we could say that the Corporations were arriving, Giant, Cannondale etc. The bike industry was becoming commoditised like it had never seen or experienced before. The Corporation’s product was being mass produced in places where labour was cheap. The executives were realising their asperations through the efforts of others. At the Australian Institute of Sport the road team had Giant as a sponsor. Back then these bikes worked well in the harsh environment of a national cycling team. In early 1996 we had the team pictures being taken and the Giant representatives were there, explaining to me and others with extreme enthusiasm and gusto about the new frame size system they were introducing soon. Three frame sizes and with various seat posts and stems so we can fit a bike to anybody. GOOD GRIEF went through my mind! “What could possibly be wrong with that ? ” They thought it was the answer that had never been discovered……………… Any how the steady arriving stream of containers loaded with high end bikes to down under had begun. The bike shop retailers loved it, a phone call, a box arrives, give the tyres some wind, “CA CHING” went the cash register and even that sound was soon to be gone as the consumer racked up their debt on the “fantastic plastic”. The banks are also happy, but they would never admit it, they had their catheters in the punters wallet for a steady income stream of their interest-blood $.
The $ flowed, cycling as we knew it was changing and it was no longer the underground sport that we “Special dedicated cyclists” understood. It was now for the masses and that is good but also a bit sad as something was lost and gone forever. The masses are riding expensive and inexpensive bikes on laps around the river and getting some knick time at the coffee shop after watching the TDF on SBS the evening before. New brands that were popping up when numerous entrepreneurs went to the Taipa show with cash to make the orders and have the containers shipped with their decals. It was feeding the bike industry like never before.
At first it seemed good to me, then to me it seemed shallow and it was about selling an image, it all became a bit kitsch to my mind. People actually thought you need to buy a set of Red coloured special climbing wheels to be able do a lap over Mt Mee on a Sunday with three types of special scientific formulated packaged food bar in your back pockets along with the C02 inflators. Something we did in the early morning before work on our training hack bikes with a banana or a piece of fruit cake in the back pocket with the Zefel pump strapped under the top tube and we rode hard with grace on the pedals. The bike magazines and the internet are telling them this is how you must ride or your health and your cycling enjoyment will be compromised. SIGH!” How to be a better climber in five lessons and …………………” Sigh!
Anyhow, I wanted to stay home in 2001, I had some weeks off over the summer, went back to the bike shop to earn a $. I lasted till lunch time on the third day, my brain evaporated. I could not do it, nothing wrong with the good people there at the shop, they were terrific, it was just that my time in the bike shops was over. It was time to go home and ponder about working for the first time in my life as a full time independent frame maker.
But things had changed, very big and different changes.
The pic is of me working on Deane Rogers bike under the feeble light of a sky light in what looks like a bomb site at the back of the Hotel in Columbia before the 1995 World Championship time trial. Big Mig won. The other pic is walking out into the stadium with the Aussie team at the Sydney 5 ring gig 2000, what a buzz that was.




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  #119  
Old 11-28-2017, 09:50 PM
Dazza Dazza is offline
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Part 6 The Llewellyn frame casting story.

Part 6 The Llewellyn frame casting story.
2001, I want to make steel frames. Every one tells me I am mad, steel is over. It is aluminium now. Aluminium is a terrible material for a bike frame for many reasons but…………………… I start the process, TIG welding courses and pondering the tool up process. I look at a PC for the first time. How does one work this thing ?
But I like steel, it is strong, beautiful and a wonderful material to work with. It can be used delicately, you can do so much with it and still have a very reliable structure, with brazing via brass or silver and even TIG is one is so inclined. (I am not so inclined) Still every one said I was nuts and I got many condescending remarks out there in the land of bicycles. The irony is that some of them now covet and even own some of my work. I made a vow to myself, ok, if it does not work out for Llewellyn Custom Bicycles within two years I will stage exit right and go off and be a farm labourer or drive a fork lift or drive suburban tin sets or whatever…………………...
Internet, digital cameras, typing, websites, forums , marketing, CAD programs, that was the evening hours after 10-12 hours standing at the bench, while the Australian Broad Casting gave me Radio National or the test cricket. There is a lot more to deal with in the frame making caper compared to the 1980’s and this means a lot more time is consumed that is not bench time making stuff that results in writting the invoice. It was then that my neck discs started to make themselves felt and my arches in my feet started that slide to errrr yukkkk. My grand-father said it was better to wear out rather than rust out but I did not expect to wear out so early. He lived to age 95.
There was no choice but to go down the path of fillet brazing funky shaped tubes from Dedacciai and Columbus. I had done a bit of fillet brazing in the 90s but it was 95% lugged frames back then. Sloping top tubes was the norm now and I did the occasional lugged frame. I got a fair bit of inspiration from Casarti frames in Italy for my lugless work. A couple of times I cast my eyes over their products during visits to the Milan Bike show. I was driven to persevere at the long hours of toil, mostly 7 days a week by the fear of failure. Every dollar was precious (that has not changed) If I failed it was because there was no more I could give. Most important that all of this was possible because I do not have any children. As long as I could eat and pay the mortgage I was OK. I tell this to many budding newbies. Then I had a bike test published in Ride Magazine in 2001 and that caused the phone to not stop ringing. YAY! Phew! By early 2002 I was confident I was still staying on the frame making stage and I could pay the mortgage if I lived cheap. I still did some moonlighting trips with the cycling teams here and there, a couple of Commonwealth Games and trips to New Zealand, France, Italy. That all helped the income stream and was an interesting break from the work bench toil.
The era of the Carbon infestation is getting closer. Tick tick tick tick…………………..
It is 2003, 20 years after that “moment that I can actually recall where I was standing when I thought “one day I want to design and make frame castings and have my own bike shop with the frame building out the back”
It was time to have a go at designing and producing my own invest cast frame parts, but how do I do this ?








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  #120  
Old 11-29-2017, 12:10 AM
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Good read. Thank you.
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