More information about Wester Ross Cycles, as written by John Connell, October 1996.
My wife and I started to build frames in a workshop in Aultbea, Ross-shire in 1975. At first, scale drawings where made of each frame from information supplied by the customer. We moved to Whitby in 1981. I continued to draw the frames but in July 1982 I met someone who wrote a computer programme that did the calculations thus saving considerable time. All that was required now was to send the dimensional sketch to the customer.
The equipment we bought was as follows, Bridgeport milling machine and a Myford ML7 lathe, a Broom Wade compressor feeding a Vacublast shot blaster and a Barlow Whitney spray booth. The frames were stove enamelled in a Bink Bullows stoving oven.
The jig I designed and built while working for the Institute for Industrial Research and standards in Dublin was fully adjustable. The tubes were rough-cut and put in the Bridgeport machine to finish to the angles and dimensions required.
The lugs and bottom brackets needed much preparation work and the angles adjusting according to customer requirements.
When everything fitted correctly on the jig the frame was dismantled. The jig was tilted to the vertical, it could be rotated through 360 degrees making it easier to get a good position for silver soldering each joint.
The frame was next shot-blasted and then returned to the jig for the seat stays. All the various braze-ons were added. The front forks were built on another adjustable fixture. Fork blades arrived straight and had to be bent on a former to the offset required. The frame was finally shot blasted and painted. Each customer gave a colour, which the painter matched. Frames had an undercoat and 2 or 3 finishing coats and were then stove enamelled. Transfers were added, the frame was given a clear finishing varnish. Sometimes we were asked to build complete cycles which included building the wheels.
My wife and I started in the highlands. She painted the frames and I did the paperwork. Fergus Forsyth later joined us; he learned the frame building. When we moved to Whitby, Fergus stayed with us and Simon Hodgkinson and Mark Sythes joined us. Simon helped on frame building and Mark learnt the painting from my wife.
Fergus and I were tested and passed the Reynolds 753 test and built a number of 753 frames.
We built 477 frames and 1 tandem. Each frame was given it’s number from 001, FGF, if Fergus built the frame, or JSC, if I built it.