FROM STEEL: The Making of a Soulcraft

Jan 23, 2011
by Tyler Maine  
Watch filmmaker Michael John Evans as he follows Sean Walling (owner of Soulcraft bikes) through the artful process of bringing a bike to life in his Petaluma, California shop.

Enjoy watching,

Filmmaker Michael John Evans sets out to visually portray “the zone” which one enters when their craft is honed.

Sean Walling, owner of Soulcraft, builds top notch custom steel bicycle frames. This short film documents Sean’s fabrication methods: a well choreographed dance of experience and muscle memory producing a seemingly effortless ode to process.

From Steel: invites the viewer into Sean’s machine shop for an up close and personal look at the work that results in yet another awesome Soulcraft.

Musical score provided by the internationally praised duo, Mattson 2. Courtesy of Galaxia Records.

Directed by: Michael John Evans: michaeljohnevans.com

Starring: Sean Walling: soulcraftbikes.com

Music by: The Mattson 2: mattson2.com

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201 Comments

  • 26 0
 Hand built bikes are pieces of art that need to be shared. I have a frame that was built in Jasper by a one man show "Whiley Tube Works", some 11+ years ago now and have owned a Chromag Gypsy (moved on to a new owner recently) and they are treasures due to knowing the people that cut the tubes and welded them into life. Thanks to everyone out there doing what you love for those of us that love to ride!
  • 9 0
 Its nice to know that some frames are still hand made. We relie way too much on Taiwan and China for our products, people should try to support the compagnies that keep the industrie alive with hand made craftsmanship. These people are artists!
  • 4 0
 Both statements are 100% true! I loved watching that video.
  • 13 0
 As a mountainbike mechanic, This is a perfect exemple of my dream goal! Tired of repairing, changing chains and brake pads...
This is what it is all about : creation, conception, art, skills and an amazing love for bikes!
Hope on day i will be able to change my life and built my own bikes from scratch!
Thanks for this video, hope it will inspire more people to do this craft and to save this beautifull profession.
  • 2 0
 I completely agree; thats my dream job right there...hopefully one day it'll happen.
  • 3 0
 There are still bike companies who are doing it by hand look at devinci in canada
  • 2 2
 AGREED (with all of you). when I get a job, thats wat i wanna do, exept w/ beeest fullys. (dont get me wrong, HTs are cool too, but ya gotta love the squish, especially when theres no flow to be found)
  • 14 0
 great video

anyone watching this?

don't fall into the 'racist stereotype' about Taiwan or China....

quality is quality wherever it is manufactured, and all frames are 'hand made' (human hands involved in all the tube cutting, prep, welding and post-weld processes)

whether its a guy in the USA, Canada or the UK making small numbers of cromoly steel frames for exclusive customers, or a family-owned factory in Taiwan making 1000 aluminium-alloy frames for a bigger "brand" there is alot of expertise and love in all bicycle frame fabrication

quality is quality, wherever its made....ride your bicycles and enjoy the work of these frame builders, whoever they are and wherever they come from!
  • 1 0
 hampsteadbandit - thank you, you are spot on. I wish people would read and understand what you wrote because that is the way it is. I have a great amount of respect for the independent builders but I also have the greatest amount of respect for the Giant, Specialized etc. frame builder.
  • 12 0
 Thats so sick i love the smoke that comes off it. and the bike looks sick
  • 11 0
 blew my mind actually tup
  • 42 1
 Hardtails are sexy!
  • 13 1
 Quality.
  • 12 0
 brilliant, im speechless
  • 5 21
flag j-maul (Jan 23, 2011 at 2:33) (Below Threshold)
 Weird I only posted this yesterday in the forum and now its on the front page. Coincidence or what
  • 22 0
 Sick workshop, nice tools. Not to mention that awesome as fuck frame. Sooooo clean. This has really shown me how a lot of things are done when it comes to hand building a frame, and how much work it is. That must be an awesome job, two of my favourite things, bikes and engineering!
  • 4 0
 very nice video it's great to see all the parts come together to one master piece
  • 14 1
 It'd be cool to see the making of a hydroformed Scott frame....Wink
  • 8 0
 Who would thought that simple HT frame need such inasane amount of work. Awesome
  • 1 0
 I have the same mask XD
  • 16 0
 Thats definetly a lost art.
  • 1 0
 so sick.
  • 3 1
 that guys living the dream, ive always wanted to make my own steel frame but i dont have the time for it
  • 2 3
 hmm steel, prob not the lightest frame, but its is sick
  • 2 2
 I wish the frames weren't 1700, otherwise I'd probably get one, especially since i only live 20 minutes away from where he makes them
  • 21 0
 I have to say this one one of the BEST videos I've watched on Pinkbike in along time! I loved the journey it took us on, showing the process of a great art form, from beginning to end, and not to mention BEAUTIFULLY executed, Pinkbike has really strayed away from showing videos that actually took time and effort to create. This was a PERFECT short film.
  • 8 0
 i think soulcraft needs to make dirt/street/park frame. i would buy it in a heart beat
  • 3 0
 i wish i lived 20 minutes away from him! and @ ziegele- i agree! howabout a 4x frame also!
  • 1 0
 that would be prime aswell
  • 1 0
 that was sick! such a clean looking bike aswell!
  • 2 0
 to " the man" building the frame crazy amount if skill you have being a machinist and welder all my props go to you great job
  • 2 1
 It'd be killer to intern there for a couple weeks.
  • 2 0
 Really great vid, i was blown away with the manufacturing, especially the precision and skill used. This is the whole other side of the biking industry and it is great...this should be vod
  • 1 0
 holy crap thats alot of work but turns out perfect if you give 110% ! he oubviously did!
  • 1 0
 my dream job!
  • 2 2
 This should be POD, that was great, everything about it. i was mesmerized.... and the music suited it perfectly. Even though there's no riding its still a video about biking.
  • 4 2
 Quality American engineering.
  • 1 4
 I wouldnt go as far as that though. its just a bike...
  • 2 0
 Better than being sub quality American engineering.
  • 3 0
 Simply awesome. Nice to see someone actually working with their hands. At one time schools in this country actually taught metal working, welding, and using such machinery. Now its a thing of the past. I love all the frame jigs used in building the frames, beautiful product at the end of video.
  • 2 0
 see this every day working in a steel shop myself ,but this is custom that the beauty of it ,he does what he loves ,respect !! great vid well done we can see all the detail that comes in building a frame not an easy task ,where not close to building frames at my shop but maybe one day we never know
  • 5 0
 I now desire a steel hardtail. That video shows a true craftsman at work.
  • 3 0
 Very good video! Anserwed some of the questions i asked myself about frame building. they Reminds me that tv program ''how it's made''
  • 3 0
 ye the vid is like 'how its made' bar one thing - this is better!
  • 3 0
 I can't believe this, I think I'm in love. Fabrication, and topped it off by powder coating my favourite colour and great music! This guy is f'ing awesome!!!
  • 1 0
 Wow the guy building this frames has lot of skills. Beautiful video and even more beautiful bike. 26 er XC steel hardtails and SS to boot are da shiz!! I was thinking about a Sawyer, but this makes me want to get a Soulcraft.
  • 1 0
 Love the steel frames. I rode my 1994 Norco Team issue on the North Shore well into the early 2000's. Upgrading it year after year for the love of its feel. Alas, I finally switched to the full suspension cush for the sake of aging bones and well, because riding styles change and it was time to embrace the new school. Keep the craft alive.
  • 5 0
 Wow, awesome filming!
  • 10 1
 something else thats awesome, those sideburns
  • 4 0
 Perfect way to kick of a Sunday morning, some true craft going on there.
  • 4 0
 This video genually made me happy while I was watching it
  • 1 1
 I watched this like 5 times before this came up on frontpage aha. As for you @woodline, learn to Tig weld, braze, use CAD software, buy a shitton of expensive machinery, have tons of free time, and a passion for bikes and you'll be fine.
  • 2 0
 This is probably the best video i have seen in MONTHS !!!!!!! this is art...art for the bike, the riders....is culture...is just ..no words.
  • 2 0
 awesome :O It's weird how you never think about how much work actually went into the frame you're riding ...
but he's not the only guy making frames for that company is he??
  • 1 0
 The only problem is that what you've seen happen here in a mere 5 minutes actually takes several months due to the backlog of bicycle orders. Every time I see Sean he looks more tired.
  • 1 0
 Seraph, I visited a workshop near Petaluma run by a guy named Curtis. Do you know what brand that is? I made a suggestion for his forthcoming cargo bikes and I want to check if he ran with it.
  • 1 0
 Not off the top of my head. I will ask my boss though, he has lived here a lot longer than I have.
  • 1 0
 I found out - its Curtis Inglis of Inglis Cycles and also Retrotec. He's in Napa.
  • 2 0
 TIG welding for the win! I was working with some TIG earlier today, i must say steel is much more enjoyable to weld then aluminum Wink
  • 3 0
 that's mad!.... i want one in my garage so i can just say "it's hand made"
  • 3 0
 gorgeous frame, the finished product is amazing
  • 3 9
flag Bjammin (Jan 23, 2011 at 7:37) (Below Threshold)
 are you dumb?
  • 3 7
flag rangemaster (Jan 23, 2011 at 11:12) (Below Threshold)
 apparently not as dumb as you. you really goin to fight me about a compliment to the video? really? REALLY? f*ck off dude. go ride.
  • 3 2
 i dont see how simply writing "sex" is any form of a compliment. if you meant it like "thats sexy" then its a completely different story, but thats not wat u wrote. I love this video just as much a you do, and its stupid to fight a compliment.
  • 3 0
 I'm out of words right now
  • 2 0
 That's so cool ! I'd like to see more of these videos from other company's !
  • 3 0
 Essence of craftsmanship. Love the headbadge too.
  • 3 0
 Puts my tool shed to shame!
  • 3 0
 Welding to that standard is a lost art! that bike looks awesome!
  • 2 0
 that was amazing! love that frame jig, makes welding so much easier! wish I had one.
  • 3 0
 That just brightened up my morning so much!
  • 2 0
 that is so coooooool wanna learn to do that sod school that is much more intresting
  • 2 0
 That machine that looks like Pac man at the start looks so cool The movie was amazing
  • 2 0
 Very Cool Visual Passion Video of our Sport that does not get enough notice
  • 3 0
 Craft as art. Very nice shop - very nice bike. Thanks for posting
  • 4 0
 Video of the month!
  • 3 0
 Thanks for the tutorial. I'm building my own bike now.
  • 1 0
 Beautifully made machine. So much love and passion goes into our sport, from the smallest ball bearing to the longest epic ride.
  • 1 0
 Amazing! Would be great if more people could work like that localy instead of small company owners subletting the work to Taiwan to maximize the profits.
  • 3 0
 i appreciate bikes alot more now. thanks !
  • 2 0
 Amazing video depicting the true art of building a frame! I want a steel frame now! Im sold! RidEOn!
  • 3 0
 he's got the coolest headbadge on the planet.
  • 3 0
 That's a lot of work for a bike. Respect.
  • 2 3
 Is it just me or is the whole soulcraft bike lineup extremely over priced? I mean who is going to spend $4800 on a rigid single speed. I guess one is born every minute. Great looking frames and welding technique but too mas denero in my opinion.
  • 1 1
 Have to agree, as much as i admire the process of a hand built frame, you can get amazing steel frames from dmr, ragley, on one... for between 200 and 400. These are not big companies, so you can hardly call them mass produced. Dont see how you can justify paying 5x more for the frame when in all likelihood it will not ride any better... Even a Ti frame would be half the price
  • 1 0
 I got a tour of the Orange factory 10 years ago. My Patriot is now 12 years old, and still going strong, and I'm still proud of all the work that went into it!
  • 1 0
 How long did it take from start to finish? I'm curious, as I teach engineering, and this is going to be shown to my students on how things should be done!
  • 1 0
 Id love to see how some of the carbon framesets are made? As I have worked with the material before, it baffles me how they make it seemlessly. Smile
  • 2 0
 beautiful craftsman ship tup
  • 2 0
 awesome, really really awesome
  • 3 0
 Yeah baby. Metaluma!
  • 1 1
 I can't believe this, I think I'm in love. Fabrication, and topped it off by powder coating my favourite colour and great music! This guy is f'ing awesome!!!
  • 2 0
 Thanks for sharing this, i loved it Smile
  • 2 0
 wow ! this is the life! build bikes. ride bikes
  • 2 0
 wow that's awesome!
how/where can you learn this?
  • 1 0
 mach eine Lehre als Konstruktionsmechaniker da lernst du Schweissen,Drehen,Fräsen usw. allerdings ist die Werkstatt die man da gesehen hat mehrere hunderttausend Euro teuer. Der hatte ja selbst ne Pulverbeschichtungsanlage etc. das hatte auf jeden Fall Meisterstatus was der so gemacht hatte.
  • 2 0
 I would buy one, witout a doubt.
  • 3 0
 ^^ who wouldn't.
  • 2 0
 pretty incredible i think
  • 2 0
 Great video. Real chill. Beautiful end product!
  • 2 0
 craftmanship right there !!!!!
  • 1 0
 a rediculous aray of machine and welding skill fantastic job continue the good work
  • 2 0
 Amazing images... I wonder how many hours go into one build?
  • 2 0
 Those tube notchers are BAD ASS! Me wants!!!
  • 1 0
 no shit ay, pretty intense
  • 1 0
 Awesome video i was captured in amazement, I wonder how many bikes that guy could build in a day?
  • 1 0
 this was the first video on here I watched from start to finish in a while ... hope to see more like it!
  • 1 0
 and great vid btw... I have an I fab cross bike and it is super sweet, would love a soulcraft singlespeed..
  • 1 0
 Great see there are still people like you mate , making bikes by hand. Dan.
  • 2 0
 amazing. I want a steel hardtail.
  • 2 0
 amazing! im gonna go drive over to that shop!
  • 2 0
 art in the making!! really cool vid
  • 2 0
 Art in creation, both the frame and the video. Keep up the amazing work!
  • 2 0
 So much work behind the bikes that we have at home! Amazing work!!!!
  • 1 0
 I don't think I blinked once. That was mesmerizing! What a gorgeous bike, and a terrific short film.
  • 1 0
 That's how my Kona is made. Hang on sorry I forgot its mas-produced in Taiwan Probably by some kids too.
  • 2 0
 masterful
  • 2 0
 awesome!
  • 2 0
 fantastic! Big Grin nice job
  • 2 0
 very interesting!
  • 2 0
 artful
  • 2 0
 amazing!
  • 2 0
 Very nice. Good job.
  • 2 0
 Awesome !!
  • 2 0
 wow amazing !!!
  • 2 0
 lol.....very goood...
  • 2 0
 Real nice work!!
  • 1 0
 that was awesome i think i want to build my own bikes now
  • 1 0
 Best video I've seen in a long time.
  • 1 0
 Very cool video. Bet that custom work is worth every penny.
  • 1 0
 nice video, bike looks great
  • 1 0
 that was really good! well done guys...
  • 1 0
 only if i had a steel shop Frown
  • 1 0
 Gorgeous shots, and Videography. Very well made!
  • 1 0
 realy nice vid and cool bike !! hand made not in china!! respect
  • 1 0
 wow serouisly that guy is just legit
  • 1 0
 Amazing video. Great craftsmanship.
  • 1 0
 this is the best video i have ever seen!
  • 1 0
 very nice....fantastic...i dont know what i can say...I like it ♥
  • 1 0
 SNIFF! Do I smell Vimeo imbedding coming to Pinkbike?
  • 2 0
 awsome Smile
  • 1 0
 How much does the frame weigh (KG).
  • 2 0
 Great video, nice job
  • 1 0
 I wish i had his toolset.....
  • 1 0
 that's what I thought - that dude has some SICK SHIT in his workshop

I used to have a bicycle manufacturing company in the 1990s and we had some great tools in our workshop but the modern kit is so dope Wink
  • 1 0
 band sounds like tortoise...
  • 1 0
 that guy have a sick job!!!
  • 1 0
 I can see why its called soulcraft. looks mint
  • 1 0
 LONG-LIFE TO SOULCRAFT !!!!
  • 1 0
 This video gave me a machine/tooling boner!
  • 1 0
 can he make susp. frames?
  • 1 0
 cool , they r pretty nice
  • 1 0
 i thought dekerf welded for dark cycles.
  • 1 0
 dark cycles confirms that sean does not weld their bikes.
  • 1 0
 yeh i just thought about that, this guy owns soulcraft, why would he weld for dark cycles?
  • 1 0
 sorry lads, i only meant to suggest that dark cycles was an alternative source of steel suspension frames. not suggesting that sean made their frames. sorry for the confusion.
  • 1 0
 oh ok.. well no problem.. still kind of answers my question,you know cuase you can get steal susp frames, but i was just wondering if this guy was skilled enough to do so..
  • 1 0
 i recommend against STEALING and STOLEN suspension frames.
  • 1 0
 uhh what...?
  • 1 0
 you said "stEAl" when i think you meant "stEEl"
  • 1 0
 well obviosly i meant steel i just didnt really pay attention to what i was supose to right, like how some one might accidently put like, too instead of two..
  • 1 0
 if the dictionary had videos, this vid would be under "man"
  • 1 0
 Awesome to watch. That is now my how to bible Smile
  • 1 1
 hahahaha paul you berk. it may be your bible, just make better frames than this.
  • 1 0
 So sick! Steel is the best.
  • 1 0
 yeah vary well done gota love cromo steel
  • 1 0
 He holds the BB shell onto his frame jig with a tap, I bet it says HOT!
  • 2 0
 just beautiful
  • 1 0
 Pure Craftsmanship right there. Great vid.
  • 1 0
 why i can only see one picture and no video?
  • 1 0
 a soulie dj/4x would be cool. c'mon sean, tig one up!
  • 2 0
 Amazin
  • 1 0
 Amazing, how do I favourite it
  • 1 0
 Awesome. I wonder how many he makes per week ?
  • 1 0
 awsome bike looks great, i have such respect for guys like him.
  • 1 0
 thats sick! I love it
  • 1 0
 really awesome video
  • 1 0
 i love this video
  • 1 0
 nice factory man!
  • 1 0
 THAT WAS SICK :]
  • 1 0
 that was cool
  • 1 0
 Inspirador......
  • 1 0
 Dream job right there!
  • 1 0
 Great video, nice job
  • 1 0
 Very Cool
  • 1 0
 Epic, I love this video!
  • 1 0
 THIS IS ART!!!
  • 1 0
 steel is REAL
  • 1 0
 fantastic
  • 1 0
 Yes!! a 29er!!!!
  • 1 0
 wow good job!
  • 1 0
 amazing video Big Grin
  • 1 0
 Awsome!!!
  • 2 3
 super boring lookin frames...
  • 1 1
 NiceSmile
POD Smile Smile
  • 1 2
 I corrected above
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