FAQS

Henry James Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

For many, the bicycle framebuilding experience is a new adventure.  There are many things to consider when building a bicycle, including the proper parts and materials to use for your project.  We get many questions about the products we sell, as well as advice on building the frame.  Here is a list of some of our most frequently asked questions.  We invite you to contact us with any other questions that we do not cover here.

BUILDING MATERIALS

How much and which type of silver brazing wire do I need to build a lugged bicycle frame?

We sell Harris 56% Silver for lugs and braze-ons.  Henry James lugs have close fits, so 2 ounces is enough for a frame plus a little practice.
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What is the difference between 56% Silver brazing wire and the 50N?

50N has 50% silver plus 2% nickel.  The nickel allows 50N to fill gaps up to .008”(.2mm).  56% silver is limited to filling gaps up to .005”(.13mm).
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How many fillet brazed bicycle frames can I build with one pound of brass brazing rod?

Three to four frames.  It depends on how much filing you have to do to make the fillets look good.
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Do the brazing materials contain Cadmium?

Ours do not.  Inhaled cadmium fumes can be deadly.
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Why are there 3 different diameters of brass brazing rod?

1/16th diameter wire is most popular because it works will for building fillets.  We sell the 3/32” wire to skilled brazers who can move fast and still control the puddle.  The 1/8” wire is used by experienced brazers for filling larger gaps.
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Why should I buy my brazing rod from Henry James, couldn’t I just pick some up from my local store?

Henry James proudly offers brazing rod that is produced in the USA by The Gasflux Company. As leaders in brazing materials, they produce the highest quality brazing rod.  This means the brass flows more evenly and with less spark (a sign of fewer impurities in the rod) than what is typically found in most welding supply stores.  Builders swear by the quality of our brass brazing rod and the matching Type B paste flux.
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Which brazing wire and rod do you recommend when building with stainless steel?

56% silver brazing wire works best with close fits in stainless steel.  50N requires a looser fit, but wets stainless better.  For brazing rod, the Nickel Silver works best.
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Why would one use Nickel Silver brazing rod?

Nickel Silver(which contains no silver, it just starts out with a silver color), can be used for fillet brazing stainless steel frames, if you have enough experience.  Nickel-Silver is only slightly stronger than the Gasflux C0-4 brass rod.  Note:  the nickel content can cause an allergic reaction from contact with the filings.
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INVESTMENT CAST PRODUCTS

Henry James offers fork crowns with a ledge and without(plain bore).  Which one should I buy?

We recommend that beginning builders use the plain bore version, as it is easier to see what is happening and to feed brazing material from both top and bottom, if needed.  Professional builders like the ledge version because the narrow ledge protects the end of the carbon steel steerer from corrosion if our stainless crown is used.  Pros also like to save time, and the underside of the ledge is radiused, so there is no cleanup needed.
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How many degrees can I safely bend the Henry James lugs?

One degree is doable, 2 degree is harder, and 3 degree is for experienced pros.  If your bending technique leaves gaps greater than .005”(.13mm) that you cannot “blacksmith” closed, 56% silver may crack.  Switching to 50N will let you fill up to .008”(.2mm).  Beyond that, C0-4 brass rod is the safe choice.
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Do you sell the vertical dropouts without eyelets?

No, mainly for the philosophical reason of Henry James.  The custom racing frame of today will become the commuting/touring bike of tomorrow.  Then the eyelets will be valuable.  If you choose to go without eyelets, all of the eyelets are located so the builder can remove them without a trace.
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What makes a Henry James lug a higher quality than other lugs?

Henry James has spent 36 years refining our lugs technically and esthetically.  Our lugs all have tapered walls for a classic custom built look.  Most builders find that our lugs arrive out of the box with a much better fit than others.  This makes the life of the builder that much easier, as less time is spent trying to achieve the perfect fit.  Henry James is also the only lug maker that offers a wide range of angles and diameters, and we are adding more!  All Henry James lugs are cast in the United States.  We feel that this gives us an advantage by using a more precise casting method and much greater quality control.
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What are the advantages/disadvantages of lugged construction?

TIG welding is cheapest, thus most production frames are now lugless.  Many cyclists are unaware of lugs(the steel reinforcing sleeves where tubes come together on a frame).   The advantages that you find in lugged construction is the reinforcement of the frame joints, allowing the builder to fine tune a frame for lightness and liveliness, while not creating fatigue life problems.  Lugs offer a practical way to individualize the style and creativity of a builder.  It’s hard to match the beauty of a lugged bicycle frame.
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How do I figure out the correct size of Henry James plug-in style dropout to use?

Most tapered stays and fork blades are designed to have approximately the same wall all along the tube.  Subtract wall thicknesses from the tip diameter to get the MINIMUM plug diameter.  More details can be found on our Tech Info Page ***create link here.
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TRUE TEMPER TUBING

Are True Temper tubes seamless?

Yes and No.  The tubing starts out in bulk rolls of steel and is then precisely formed, welded, and heat treated into a seamless tube.  True Temper Sports has decades of experience in working with high quality steel tubing and is carefully able to change the molecular structure of a steel tube, so that there is no sign of a seam in the finished product.   True Temper has built a reputation as the leader in steel tubing for bicycles, golf club shafts and for automotive and aerospace applications.  All True Temper tubing is proudly made in the USA.
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I’m building my first frame.  Can you tell me which True Temper tubing would be best for me to use?

VERUS is the way to go.  It is higher strength than straight gauge 4130 tubing, but still easy to saw, file and braze/weld.  VERUS usually has thicker walls, so is less likely to buckle if you bend it.  VERUS is also one of the most affordable options for the beginning frame builder.
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Can I substitute tubes in your recommended frame kits?

We encourage this.  With an inventory of over 100 tubes to choose from, builders can fine tune these kits.  The kits are really intended as a starting point for builders.  To find out more about our recommended kits, please see our True Temper Frame Kits.
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What does the paint on the end of some of the tubing indicate?

Many tubes do not have symmetrical buts.  The paint lets you know which end is which.
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FRAMEBUILDING EQUIPMENT

What are a few advantages of the Henry James jigs over the others?

1) The flexibility to build with any technique or material. 
2) Henry James jigs combine light weight with stiffness to produce straighter frames, thanks to the engineered efficiency of our Compact Plate design.
3) Henry James has a lifetime of figuring out how things work and how to make things better.  This is applied to our jig design efforts.  As a result, builders often comment that they really appreciate how easy it is to build most anything they want with our jigs.
4) The small footprint and light weight design of our jigs make this the ideal piece of framebuilding equipment for even the smallest workshop.
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I TIG weld most of my frames.  Which Henry James frame jig is best for me?

Our ACCESS 65 Jig is our answer to most other tacking jigs.  You can stand behind the ACCESS 65 jig and still see all the joints, and most of each tube.  This makes for a great tacking jig for TIG welding.  As a builder grows, and markets change, Henry James wants to make sure that our jig concepts won’t hold back any builder’s evolution and career.  The ACCESS 65 hast the flexibility to build TIG welded, brass fillet brazed, and lugged frames.  Our Compact Plate concept and thoughtful development approach make it happen.
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Can you build tandem frames on the Henry James jig?

We have an affordable attachment for the UNIVERSAL Jig.  A simple 2-step approach lets you tack or braze the Captain’s section; then move it ahead; and tack/braze the Stoker’s section and rear triangle.
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GENERAL

Does Henry James Bicycles ship internationally?

Yes, we have many customers around the world.  We are happy to ship tubing, investment cast parts, brazing materials and framebuilding equipment to wherever you call home.  Due to the compact size and light weight of our framebuilding jigs, many international customers love the cost savings from lower shipping charges.
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I have an older copy of the Paterek Framebuilding Manual.  What new information is in the latest edition?

Tim Paterek evolved from framebuilder to framebuilding teacher to degreed school teacher.  The Third Edition that we publish for him reflects his growing interest in how students learn.  The presentation has changed more than the content.
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Does Henry James Bicycles display at any trade shows or have a showroom where I can see the product?

Each year, you can find Henry James Bicycles and True Temper Sports at the North American Handmade Bicycle Show (NAHBS).  We bring a variety of products and framebuilding equipment for you to see and ask questions. If you find yourself in Northern Oregon, please contact us to pay us a visit at our Portland, Oregon location.  We love it when framebuilders stop by.
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