With only a handful of manufacturers supplying the frame building industry with lugs, there’s little to tell one unpainted lugged steel frame from another — apart from the quality of finishing.
Tom Warmerdam of Southampton’s Demon Frameworks sought to break away from that conformity by creating two of his own lug designs: ‘The Manhattan’ and ‘Hermes’. This is an XCr frame built using the Hermes design.
Inspired by Hetchins frames, which were recognisable even without obvious branding, Tom refers to his efforts as “21st century lug work”, combining a “careful blend of brutalism and elegance.”
They certainly are some of the most individual and characteristic frames to be seen and, as you can imagine, require significantly more time to complete than a standard lugged frame. This one was produced for Ivan, a customer in Singapore.
Tom was kind enough to share the background to the process with us:
“Ivan’s frame is made with oversize Columbus XCr tubing and a Columbus Max fork. The name Hermes refers to the design of the lugs, their shape inspired by the winged sandals worn by Hermes, the messenger of the gods in Greek mythology.
I make the lugs from scratch for each frame, which is quite a lengthy business. I start by machining sections of tubing to perfectly fit the frame tubing. Then I mitre the tubes and braze them together to make a small front triangle.
I then cut it up into lug blanks. I cut the shape into the lug entirely by hand, with no machining. The design of the lugs makes it very important to cut them as accurately as possible, as small variations in the width of the slots and diameters of the holes are glaringly obvious (to me anyway).
For this reason I start by inspecting everything with a very critical eye, and then I measure with a vernier calliper. I continue to fettle until I am satisfied that the lugs meet the tolerances that I set for myself. Once the lugs are made, I build the frame in the normal manner.
The dropouts are another unique Demon feature. They are designed to compliment the head badge and give the frame visual balance. I make them on my trusty old CNC mill that lives in the corner of my workshop.
Demon is not about fancy paint schemes, Demon is about the metalwork. All the details are cut into the metal so the paint simply needs to highlight that. However, the amount of detail means that highlighting the metalwork is a very involved process.
Ivan chose the colours for his frame to match his favourite Rapha jersey. I’m not normally into bright colours like this, but they certainly work well together and really make the frame pop.”
While it’s not strictly de rigueur to only feature a frame set on Cycle EXIF, it’s the best way to fully appreciate Tom’s work. And to be truly spellbound by this Demon, check out the photos of the finished, unpainted frame on Tom’s Facebook page.
Thanks to J Stock Photography for the images.