As an income-less college student, it can be difficult to get into the sport of triathlon. Swimming and running are fairly cheap sports, but outfitting a bicycle that is competitive can be daunting. I bought a road bike from a bike swap for $600 a couple years ago, but it wasn't great for triathlons and I recently got a dent in the top tube that worried me. Luckily, as a part of my engineering curriculum I learned what I needed to build my own frame out of locally sourced black walnut wood.
While this was a fairly intensive 5-month project (I only had time to work on it occasionally because of school), I'll do my best to give a good outline of the steps involved. Prerequisites are a good understanding of bicycle design (which I attained mostly by reading on the internet) and access to some wood working tools and a vacuum bag.
Step 1: Materials and Tools
This list is not exhaustive but it provides an overview of the most important tools and materials needed.
7-10 board feet of black walnut (other hardwoods may be suitable)
Titebond III wood glue
Locktite Epoxy (see image)
appropriate bicycle tubing for the head tube and seat tube
Bottom bracket insert
flexible metal tubing for cable routing
and all associated bike parts except for the frame. Like I said, I used all the parts from my previously owned road bike.
Vacuum bag and pump
band saw/ miter saw/ table saw
Assorted drill bit sizes
Router and necessary bits