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Fixtures & Tools

Anvil Bikeworks

Paul Skilbeck

Tuesday 21 March 2017

Don Ferris: The artisan's artisan

Among industry insiders Don Ferris, founder and owner of Anvil Bikeworks, is accorded something close to hero status. Most customers riding custom bikes have never heard of him.

Don Ferris: The artisan's artisan
Photo: Anvil Bikeworks. Scroll down for video.

Anvil Bikeworks is a world-renowned company if you're a custom frame builder, but if you're a frame builder's customer it's quite possible you've never heard the company's name. Yet this is one of the most revered and influential artisan workshops in the industry. Located at the western fringe of Denver in Colorado, where the Rocky Mountains start to rise up out of the high plateau, Anvil Bikeworks sits in the heart of one of the world's most vibrant custom bicycle manufacturing communities. Run by Don Ferris, this three-person, three-dog workshop turns raw materials into high-precision tools and fixtures with the same passion for design and function as the frame builders that buy them.

These pieces look so good and work so well you have to admire the quality, both mental and manual, that's gone into them. Little-known fact: Don Ferris is one of the architects of the judging criteria used for the NAHBS awards. His knowledge of frame building is that good, and he uses it - along with his artisanal vocation - to produce better and better tools for frame builders. This video provides an insight not only to what Ferris does, but also some of the many manufacturing challenges in producing a good bicycle frame, which he has to predict and solve in his processes.

Ferris's aim is to make frame building more financially feasible for small companies by reducing the amount of time it takes to make an excellent frame.

 Video URL for handheld devices: https://youtu.be/cj46TXQZQEs