Book Reviews

A Guide to Brazing and Soldering

A Guide to Brazing and Soldering by Keith Hale, self published and available from CuP Alloys:
Last Weekend I visited the annual Midlands Model Engineering Exhibition in Warwickshire. Whilst having no ambition to build complex working models you have to admire them. My interest is in the fact that a lot of the engineering advice and guidance, and books I have used come through these hobbies and the number of tool suppliers that supply them. I managed to buy even more tools whilst I was there but the highlight was a lecture by Keith Hale who was introducing his new book. The subject “Everything You wanted to know about Silver Soldering but were afraid to ask.” The talk was excellent and having purchased the book at the show at a discount price, I can now confirm the book, which expands on his talk, is excellent too and I can thoroughly recommend it to frame builders. Whilst concentrating on Silver Soldering, which is in any case of great interest to me, it also covers the use of brass and other metals. For me it answers many questions, explained some things and gave me ideas as to how I can significantly improve my practice. The information is presented in a non-technical way and very logical order.
CuP Alloys, originally founded by Keith, supplies mainly silver solder and will do so in small quantities. They have solders equivalent to Sif products, my previous choice, and at competitive prices but they do not sell any lower melting point bronze rods to compare with Sif 101, or any Silver Solders that have the properties of Cycle Design Fillet Pro. Still I would definitely visit their website and buy this book which retails at £17-50.

Stephen Hilton 23/10/17

Book Reviews


The Paterek Manual for Bicycle Framebuilders Third Edition 2004.
This used to be available direct from the author but his website appears to have gone some time ago.
Acknowledged as the most comprehensive modern guide to traditional framebuilding. Covers all aspects of lugged and fillet brazing frames and includes tandems. Does not teach you how to braze and assumes this you should learn this elsewhere. His method is probably not the one most framebuilders now use as he builds on a table with full size drawings otherwise using fixtures for sub assemblies. However all the information is still relevant to jig builders. I purchased this before I built my first frame at home and found it invaluable, enabling me to tackle aspects I was unsure of with confidence. It was nearly as good as having your own tutor at home. Well worth the money.

NB. Although there is no source of new paper copies of the manual it can be purchased as a Kindle download from Amazon in two volumes costing less than £30. (I paid over £60 for my hard copy from the USA). You can also get an “App” from Amazon enabling you to download and read the content on your PC or Apple devices.

PLEASE NOTE: I have absolutely no connection with Amazon


Zinn & the Art of Road Bike maintenance Third Edition.
Leonard Zinn
A standard maintenance text,now in its fourth edition. Comprehensive and readable. No photo’s and excellent line drawings. Guidance on basic bike fitting and wheelbuilding. Covers stuff such as v brakes etc for cross bikes as well as the usual road biased equipment. Also does other books in the series for Mountain Bikes and Triathlon Bikes.
Very good value for money.


Lugged Bicycle Frame Construction, A Manual for the First Time Builder.
Expanded Second Edition.
Marc-Andre R. Chimonas
I read this book before building my first frame at home and rapidly decided I needed to buy the Paterek Manual, a book acknowledged by the author. Another American book written by someone who taught himself framebuilding. Though not bereft of useful information it does give guidance only on the use of silver solder and a torch powered by canisters of MAPP gas rather than the use of oxygen.
It tends to be rather prescriptive of how to build, building a bike entirely determined by the angles of the lugs. It also tends to be repetitive and is stuffed full of acronyms. I have some sympathy for the author’s assertions that framebuilding courses are expensive and in the USA may be prohibitively far away, but that hardly applies in the UK. A fourth edition is now available which apparently covers oxy -fuel methods.
The third edition is still available from Amazon for nearly £100! You may be able to track down my edition in a charity shop in Chorley much more cheaply.



Creative Bicycle design and Framebuilding.
Ed Foster , La Suprema Handcrafted Steel, Tucson, Arizona

This is a self published book printed by Amazon from another Framebuilder from the USA. I admit to being rather disappointed with my learning experience from reading it, but it is easy to read and gives a lot of sensible, if rather philosophical, advice on the ethics of frame building. It takes a common sense approach and includes black and white photographs of some of the methods and stages of the building process. The author is reassuring in his assertion that no one method of manufacture should be taken as gospel but his preferred methods seem to follow a lot of the teaching from the Paterek manual and often in less detail. He openly states he has made a lot of fixtures from the Paterek plans and uses similar methods including building with reference to full size drawings. Whilst a frame jig is used in some of the process there is little reference to using full jigs, rather concentrating in a more piecemeal approach in fixtures and using a truing table. He also makes extensive use of a milling machine and other machine tools reflecting his own commercial practice. For someone just starting out it will be a reassuring read but it is a long way off being an instructive frame building manual or text book  and does not really update the Paterek manual for the UK frame builder.



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