When Frame Builders Make Furniture: The Signal Haul Dec 16, 2014


I’ve been meaning to post this project for a while, but I figured it might make a good last-minute gift for someone.

The Signal Haul is a project I’ve watched from sketch to production run:

“Introducing Haul by Signal. A limited edition offering for winter 2015. Initially conceived around Christmas last year, this became a project Signal continually prototyped through the summer between designing and building bikes.

Each Haul is crafted at Signal using using 3/8″ 1018 cold rolled steel rod and assembled in house with leather webbing or full leather with various Pendleton wool laminations and additional materials to come.

Custom powdercoat colors as well as leather and Pendleton options are available. 20 Hauls were created in this first edition and currently 12 are still available and ready for paint and assembly. Please email Signal with any questions and to place your order. $500 retail with 10% discount to Signal owners. We take care of our own!”

  • Jack Luke

    Beautiful, but we’ve definitely reached peak niche.

    • http://theradavist.com/ John Watson

      I mean, it’s furniture and compared to similar-scaled projects, it’s affordable-ish.

      • boomforeal

        its a $500 magazine rack with less ‘haul’ing capacity than a milk crate

        • http://theradavist.com/ John Watson

          You’ve been bitten by the idiot bug again. It’s domestically-produced furniture, just like a custom bike, it’s going to cost more than something your mom buys at Crate & Barrel. I’m not forcing you to buy it, I’m sharing the hard work of a frame builder. I have an architecture background, so I appreciate things like this.

          If you still like cinder blocks with 2x12s and milk crates and futons, then have fun with your keg stands this weekend, this clearly isn’t for you.

          • boomforeal

            idiot bug or not, i stand by the facts in my post

            what about it appeals to your architectural background/side?

          • http://theradavist.com/ John Watson

            I’ve followed the design process along the way, from sketch / parti diagramming to models and initial prototypes. I like the design language, its form, the materials and proportions and I like how it clearly ties into their bicycles. It’s a well designed object, but again, it’s a very specific object. It’d look great in the right context and horribly out of place in the wrong.

            For me, seeing frame builders take on projects like this shows how stoked they are to make interesting and beautiful things, not just crank out frames like a production house. Signal’s always taken the time to do a little more with their work. Watercolor paintings, etc…

            It’s the same reason why I like what House Industries is doing or when JP Weigle spends hours milling out a special piece of hardware, or Ian at Icarus’ crazy motorcycle.

            Not everything has to be safe, or completely 100% necessary. Things that are fun and show creativity are just as important, in my opinion anyway.
            Ya know?

          • boomforeal

            i do now! that was a way better writeup than the press release cut and pasted in the article, which made me want to throw up a little

          • http://theradavist.com/ John Watson

            I kind of feel like a long-winded explanation as to why I like a product comes across as defensive, versus quoting a product’s description from a company is merely sharing information.

            It’s a fine like that, to be honest, I’m horrible at.

  • Signal Cycles

    Hey John. Thanks for posting this. It was a fun project! Based on the negative comments I wanted to shed some light on the creation of the Haul, the process and why it came to market.

    I originally conceived the Haul as an elegant indoor firewood holder because I needed one in my own house and didn’t like what was currently available. It was a product I could make using all the tooling I already had in the shop to design and fabricate bikes, specifically bike racks. Most importantly to me, it was an exercise in design concept, prototyping, fabricating and realizing a completed project, for fun’s sake. Only after posting progress Instagrams and hearing encouragement from the design community here in Portland did I decided to make it a public offering and to see what would happen.

    I can admit there are times when I grow fatigued making bikes. Not for the lack of love for the bicycle but for the repetition. It can be tough to keep a creative energy when working with a singular product. I think most framebuilders could agree. A project like this helps me stay focused and revives my desire to make cool stuff, be it bikes, home goods or whatever.

    I’ve been using my Haul to bring in firewood every night for the last few months and absolutely love it. It does it’s intended job perfectly and it looks great doing it. I’ve also sold a few along the way. For me the Haul isn’t just a product that works well but also one that helped restore my love for designing something and seeing it through to the end.

    I hope this adds to the discussion a bit and helps explain a personal enduring question I have as a designer…..why create something?