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Tom Warmerdam –Demon Frameworks

Tom Warmerdam has been making exceptionally beautiful lugged steel frames in his workshop in Southampton since 2009. His hand-cut lugs are unlike anything else out there, and have won him many admirers and awards.

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Do you remember your first bike?

Yes, I think I do. It was a hand me down from my older brother. It was red, had training wheels and a big squishy saddle, those are the only details that I can remember about it. But I can certainly remember riding it around the garden. My favourite thing to do was bumping it up the curb to get airborne, I doubt that both the wheels ever left the ground but it felt great.

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How did you get into building bikes?

Gosh, I’m not sure how quickly I can answer that one but I’ll do my best... Bikes have been a pretty big part of my life ever since I learnt to ride that little red bike with the big squishy saddle. After dropping out of university I needed to find what truly made me happy, that was two things, bikes and making things. So I decided to join the two together. Making that happen was not that straight forward as there was not the plethora of courses that are available today. In fact the only place I could find in the UK doing any kind of course was Dave Yates, I gave him a call but he had a one year waiting list and I didn’t have that long to wait. So I approached a number of established framebuilders and asked if I could be an apprentice but the answers were always the same, I was a bit too old or they simply
didn’t have the time or enough work to take me on. I could have waited for a position to open up but I was keen to move forward. So I had to do it my own way. I approached a company in Southampton that trained apprentices working for other local engineering companies. I told them what I wanted to do, they told me that they could not teach me how to build frames but that they could teach me all the basics I might need in order to figure it out myself. That's what I did. After spending over six months there I found a small workshop and started practising. In this time I found the internet an invaluable resource but that could only show me so much. In order to learn you need to do and do again. Two years later I did my first bike show and opened the order book. I’m very pleased that I did it this way, it was not the easiest or the quickest way but I was free to make my own mistakes, learn from them and then over time develop and perfect my own process..

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How would you define your style as a framebuilder?

The first words that come to mind are ‘art deco’ and industrial. I have started to think that this is almost involuntary as everything I design and make ends up looking that way. Having said that, this is what my style is now, I’m quite sure that this will continue to slowly change and develop over time. I should say that I no longer consider myself a custom framebuilder. The bikes that I make are ‘made to measure’ but I dictate the aesthetics. People come to me because they like my style, I then make them the bike that they want in that style.

If someone came to me with a sketch of what they wanted I would politely send them elsewhere.
 

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Who or what has inspired you along the way?

When I first came up with the idea of building frames I planned to make TIG welded mountain bike frames. People like Richard Sachs and Darrell McCulloch inspired me to start making traditional lugged steel road bikes. I found there was a much higher level of artistry and tradition in it and that really appealed to me. That set the tone for everything that was to come after. Most of my inspiration comes from outside of the bike industry, in fact I try very hard to keep it that way as I believe this is what has keep my work unique. I am often inspired by architecture, industrial design, and motorcycles but I should say that with all these influences, it is the old rather than the new that inspires me.

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Where is your favourite place to ride?

Well, I must confess that I have not been riding nearly as much as I’d like to over the last three years. But one of my favourite places is in the New Forest. No one particular place comes to mind as the whole of the New Forest is beautiful but the best way to ride around the forest is on the gravel tracks away from the traffic. There is a long list of places where I like to ride but I’ll need to wait until my children are a bit older so that they can join me.

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And finally, if you weren’t building bikes for a living what would you be doing?

I’d like to think that I’d be building custom cars and motorcycles but I’d probably end up stacking shelves at the supermarket. I do have other interests and hobbies that could be turned into a business but I fear that I would no longer enjoy them in the same way. I think for me it would be really important to keep designing and making, exactly what that is does not need to matter that much as long as I’m enjoying the journey.

 

 

 

 

Demon Frameworks

Maker - Tom Warmerdam

Where - Southampton

Designer - Tom Warmerdam

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Demon Frameworks was established a few years ago with a vision to produce the finest custom steel frames right here in England. We use proven construction methods and the most advanced steel tubing from Reynolds to create beautiful frames that will last you a lifetime.All Demon frames are custom built, not just made to measure. This means that each frame is made for the individual customer and is totally unique reflecting a person’s individual style and taste.

 

 

 

 

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Email - tom@demonframeworks.com

Phone - +44 (0) 7714751563

 

 

 

 

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