The Brazen Bike Hack: Putting the Saw into Hack

First, many thanks to Beth for the inspiration for a name for the new project. As she pointed out, the name works on a number of levels, with “hack” being the thing to rule them all. And that’s an appropriate place to start…
Photo of bicycle without wheels

If you’ve never completely disassembled a bicycle just for the fun of it, you should. It’s great therapy, particularly if you don’t have to worry about putting it back together. My victim in this case is the steel frame of an old touring bike, shown at right. Feel free to click on the image for a bigger and uncropped view.

I confess that I have never torn down a bike to its bare frame. I’ve never had a reason to do that, and though I’ve done many different types of repairs, I’ve never removed a bottom bracket (the mechanism that allows the pedals to move in circles, for those who are new to terminology) or a headset (the mechanism that allows the handlebar to turn, while keeping things stiff enough to maintain control). And, in fact, I don’t have the tools to do these tasks properly.

Fortunately, that was not a concern, as this frame was destined to never again see duty as a vehicle.
Photo of bare bicycle frame

Thus, in less than an hour I had the bike stripped to its essential frameness, as shown at right. The perceptive viewer will note that the bottom bracket is still installed, because I hadn’t yet figured out how to remove it, but shortly after this photo was taken, I employed a claw hammer and a center punch and made short work of it.

As much fun as this process was, it was just the prelim to the main attraction: the real-life hacking was about to begin. I mounted the bare frame on my trusty and oft-misused repair stand, grabbed a hack saw and got after it. I immediately encountered an interesting phenomenon. After you’ve sawed through a bike frame, if you’re not very careful, your saw blade will drop past the tube you just sliced, the two cut ends of the tube will snap back together, and you’ll be standing there with a hack saw trapped within the triangle of a bicycle frame. If you have the Photo of hacksawed bicycle framenormal human quota of hands, it’s not an easy task to free the saw. Silly as I felt after doing this not once, but twice, I nevertheless felt obligated to acknowledge that it was simply the bicycle’s way of exacting a small bit of revenge for what I was doing to it. And what I did to it is shown at right.

The result of this process was the creation of several short lengths of bicycle tubing which will ultimately become guinea pigs in my experiments designed to help me master (or at least not injure myself in the process attempting) the black art of brazing.

Up next: Brazing Persona

By the way, anybody need any twenty year old bike parts? 😉

Categorized as Shopware...


  1. Oh yay! You liked it. 🙂 That was the pinnacle of my cleverness in the last…oh…two weeks? (Been slow around here.)
    I was worried you were going to say you sliced into your leg. Glad it was “just” getting the saw trapped.

  2. Eric,
    1) It is good to see you are consistant – Apple computer, Apple bike (Fuji).
    2) It is also good you are not cutting and repairing the seat post — Brazing Saddles…

  3. Beth, you done good, and I thought the hack suggestion was particularly apropos, coming from a code wrangler. 😉
    Brazing Saddles
    Oh, man…I may have to create a new project just so I can use that!

  4. Brazing Saddles – too funny! (Though why I’m picturing it done in Japanese escapes me…)
    did I say “obscure and subtle”? Sorry. I meant “lame and irrelevant.”
    Careful now, some of us rely on “obscure and subtle” never being translated correctly. Mysterious is just so much better than weird.

  5. …which will ultimately become guinea pigs in my experiments designed to help me master…
    Makes me think of you being the mad scientist and the bike frame as your Frankenstein. Okay, I’m weird…

  6. And, Beth, there are days when “lame and irrelevant” represents an accomplishment of note.
    Rachel, I hope I’ll have better control of my monster…but I’m not counting on it. 😉

  7. Speaking of getting the saw caught in the frame after cutting through…couldn’t you just remove the hack saw blade from it’s frame? Of course, I am no expert, but I seem to remember that those blades come off pretty easy.

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