As our OG craftsman of the Month, we are spotlighting Chris Conner of Conner Wood Bicycles. As a man who also applies a handmade touch to his product, Original Grain & Connors Bikes both embody similar core principles of craftsmanship. We can both agree that you must first love your craft, dedicate yourself & most importantly master the effects of exotic woods to create something Beautiful!
Both companies have dedicated their craft to not only making an aesthetically pleasing product made from sustainable hardwoods, but also guarantee function to their finished product.
Below is the following interview done by Original Grain on the magic behind Connor Wood Bicycles.
Whats your favorite thing about your business - making bikes?
One of my favorite things about what I do is that I get to interact with the things I create in a very unique way. As a long time cyclist, I found that I could translate my skills and interests into creating wooden bicycles which would be every bit as beautiful to look at as to ride. They provide that dynamic relationship I was looking for, that you can take them out into the world with you and have a truly unique and beautiful riding experience. I love being able to create something unique like this and that I also get to ride/use my own creations.
How did you get started? Have you always been into woodworking?
I've always loved working with wood. As a kid and early in my career it was just for fun and a good outlet for my creative energy. The idea of building a wood bicycle first came to me as an idea to build something fun for my wife. I realized my skills in designing furniture, building guitars and working on boats, along with my love for cycling, all could come together to build a working bicycle that would be as beautiful as it is functional.
What is the best project you ever worked on? Why was it your favorite?
One of my favorite projects came when I built a custom wood bike for Louisville Slugger. The customization of this bike started with the frame, which is made entirely from baseball bat billets. I received raw billets from the Slugger factory and machined them into a wood bicycle frame. The finished bike showcases the Louisville logo, wood handlebars wrapped with Slugger’s bat tape, and leather saddle made from Slugger’s baseball mitt leather. The bike is on display at the Slugger Museum in Lousiville, KY. This was fun to work closely with a major brand to collaboratively build something amazing.
What types of wood do you enjoy using?
I typically use American white ash in my bikes. This is what is used in baseball bats, axe handles and other tools. This wood can take a beating, absorbs shocks and smooths out the ride. It also steam bends wonderfully so I can create curves and make a beautiful bike. Recently I've been working more with black walnut. It's another sustainable American hardwood and is just stunning to see when it's finished. I love the deep chocolatey brown you get and it looks fantastic on a bike.
How long does it take to build a bike?
The total build time is about 40 hours from start to finish. That’s over a 6-8 week build period since there are so many small steps and drying times between. I typically build in small batches of 4-5 bikes at a time.
How do I get one?
Connor Wood Bicycles builds four different models from cruiser bikes to all road models. They come in a variety of sizes and can be made to custom specifications. See my web site at www.connorcycles.com for ordering and contact information.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
I want to personally thank Chris on behalf of the Original Grain family for this interview, not only are you a true artisan, but were a joy to work with. You have inspired us to continue to create beautiful wood watches and dedicate ourselves to providing the ultimate functionality to our finished product.
*Below are links and videos to the process of making custom wood bicycles*
Connor Cycles - Video of Chris making his perfect Wood bike!
Photo Gallery - Photos of Connor Cycles Wood Bikes