Over the years we’ve showcased many components and frames crafted from an array of unusual materials, but nothing like this fully functioning wooden Campagnolo derailleur has ever graced our front page.
Created by woodworking student (or should we say artist) Max Hoffman, this wooden sculpture is one spring and some mounting hardware short of earning a handmade bamboo bicycle top honors at NAHBS.
Shift past the break for more glamour shots and details
The artist, who just recently reached the legal drinking age (of 21 in the US), is an avid cyclist like the rest of us. At an early age, his passion for bicycles had him turning wrenches for one the of largest Campy dealers in the country – the Bicycle Pro Shop in D.C. It’s there in the trenches that he developed an admiration for the beautiful and exotically priced Italian components.
Having never owned any of the components, Max had his first break during his Sophomore year of school at Evergreen State College. While working at the community run campus bicycle shop, someone donated a broken Campy Record Derailleur. By dissembling and hand measuring with a set of calipers each component, he carefully translated every subtle curve into a small block of Walnut. Without the assistance of a computer, mill, or CNC machine, he constructed the wooden sculpture over the course of 50 hours, using nothing but hand tools such as jewelers saws, files, and chisels!
All of the hardware was sourced from the original derailleur and are threaded into the wood. The only thing missing is the mounting hardware that was absent from the original broken derailleur and a spring. Max choose to omit installing the spring for fear that it would completely splinter the 1:1 scale model.
That said, we’re told the derailleur actuates with ease and the pulleys spin freely.
Currently the finished work resides in a display case crafted from American Black Walnut with African Blackwood corner splines. According to Max:
“Regardless of how perfect it is, don’t be confused with its intended purpose, Art. It is a sculpture unfortunately, and if it was placed on a bike, it would break, and this is why it lives in a display box. I have been planning a frame for a few months now and am hoping to complete the frame before graduating in June. I am also considering bars, stem, and pedals to match.”
If you’re interested in adding this piece to your collection or would like to commission one of your own, you can reach the artist at email@example.com.