Rack Building Basics — Vice grips and spokes

I find the combo of vice grips (or other clamps) and spokes to be really useful for holding small brazeons in place. Today I installed mid-fork eyelets onto a fork, small guides for headlight cable routing, and a headlight mount.

Another favorite tool is the flat stainless stock that is used to secure Blackburn-style racks to bikes. This stuff is really handy for making temporary fixtures.

I used a fender stay here instead of an old spoke, but a spoke really is superior. Brass won’t stick to it and it bends more easily. These guides are cut for 1/4″ tubing, but you can also pull the rollers out of used chain.

Watch out for the vice grips, they can distort tubing pretty easily. Used with care they are very handy for temporary clamps.


  1. Fred says:

    What/Whose fork are you brazing onto?

  2. AlexWetmore says:

    It’’s a Kogswell-made fork that I bought through Jeff Lyon. It’’s been raked to 64mm and will be used on my Bridgestone RB-T to make it a low-trail commuter.

  3. bill connell says:

    It seems like a pair of vise grips would be too much of a heat sink for a job like that, but maybe that’’s only the case with the low-power MAPP setup i”ve been playing with. Does it slow things down much with your oxy/propane torch, or is it hot enough to get done before the heatsink effect kicks in?

  4. AlexWetmore says:

    In every example but the first one the vise grips are far from the metal being heated. They don”t even get warm.

    In the first example the tubing was thin. My rack tubing has 0.028″ (0.7mm) or 0.035″ (0.9mm) wall thickness, so it heats up very quickly. The vice grip got warm, but it didn”t even get hot enough to discolor.

    I wouldn”t use it for direct clamping if objects being brazed had a much higher mass.