I've taken a series of photos detailing the process of putting together a rear touring rack. As you can see, there are a number of steps involved. There are a total of thirty joints mitered (fitted) and brazed, including the u-lock holder. I receive a lot of requests for racks, and I don't know if people in general understand what all is involved in the construction.
If you notice, a lot of custom builders out there are not willing to build racks. That's because they are tricky, time consuming, and it's really hard to make a rack that looks right, fits right, and does the job it's supposed to do. I have to admit, I have a sort of love/hate relationship with building racks. On the one hand, they are light (relatively), incredibly strong, and when built with the bike and painted to complement or match the main color, there is nothing that enhances the aesthetic more than a clean, sexy rack.
But, on the other side, they require a certain level of concentration and persistence throughout their construction and they really can seem to take a long time. There are a lot of times that I fit and braze in tubes only to realize something isn't straight or doesn't look right or isn't going to work the way I wanted it to, so I have to cut tubes out and start over. In this way they can be very frustrating to build. Depending on the rack or racks, they can sometimes double the complete build time for a bicycle, and yet, there is no way to charge even half as much.
There are a few good after-market racks available, but no production rack will work on all bikes, nor will they serve the specific needs of all people. Because of the types of bikes I build I feel like I wouldn't be a proper frame builder if I didn't design and build racks myself. Most of my favorite bicycles that I've built have a rack or two that tie the whole bike together.
Here is a photo series of the steps involved in building a rear rack. These photos were taken over the course of about 10 to 12 hours of work. This includes the time I sat staring at the partially built rack deciding the best way to proceed. Enjoy!