Last weekend I got back in the workshop with Ol’ Paint. After a couple of months of wearing myself thin (not really — but I may have given myself a case of pitcher’s elbow) trying to sand the paint off, I decided it was time to break out the secret weapon. The Duropeak Roloc Easy Strip Discs made a tough job quite a bit easier.
It wasn’t all touch-a-button-and-done, even with the power drill. It required a bit of force, so I mounted first the fork and then the frame in a vise for the work. (For the frame I clamped a wooden dowel in the vise and then mounted the seat tube over that.) Even so, I think that an extra pair of hands would have made the job easier. It needed two hands on the drill, and at times I was using one hand to hold the fork or frame in place. I ended up wedging the frame against a conveniently located drill press. (If this were the sort of thing I’d be doing on a regular basis, I’d have a proper frame stand with clamp set up for it. As it is, I need my frame stand at home for Kuroko’s drivetrain upgrade.)
Other things I lack at the workshop are a proper video camera and tripod (as well as lights and an assistant), so what follows are just a bunch of before-and-after shots.
I spent a good long while on the fork, with its crannies and curves, and am pretty pleased with the results: not 100% paint-free, but much closer than before.
Creating false expectations
Rebuilding Ol’ Paint is inspired by watching the work of countless restorers, most recently the paintwork of Velove Bicycles.
Having said that, Ol’ Paint’s new paintwork is going to be very simple: a single coat of semi-matte. No primer, no filler, no stencils … and certainly no fade.
It’s taking longer than I expected to strip the old paint off Ol’ Paint. Meanwhile I decided it’s time to take stock of all the parts to make sure nothing is missing (and in the meantime to clean up my study).
Last up is yet another drivetrain upgrade for Kuroko. The 34T large sprocket will drop my lowest climbing ratio yet again, from 25 gear inches to 23 or a reduction of 6%. (Compared to the original low of 32 gear inches, it’s a 27% reduction.) The change requires a swap of the rear derailleur to a newer model, and while I’m at it I may as well swap the front to match. With all new bits (except the crankset, of course), replacing the chain is a no-brainer even though it’s not really required. It might be a good time to swap out the bottom bracket as well for the fully integrated model from bbinfinite, but at the moment the existing bearings are working fine. (And if it ain’t broke … )
Front derailleur Shimano 105 FD-R7000-B
Chain Shimano 105 HG-X11
Cassette sprocket Shimano CS-HG700-11 11-34T
Rear derailleur Shimano 105 RD-R7000-GS
Bottom bracket bbinfinite BB86-PF-RD
Now it’s all just awaiting a rainy day for me to tackle the project. Hmm … wonder if we’ve had any of those recently.
Yesterday, after having given up previously, I was able to remove Ol’ Paint’s fork from the frame. After stripping the frame at the start of this project I had tried hammering on the steerer tube (actually, on a block of wood placed atop the steerer tube) without any luck. I’d decided to let it be, as I was content that the headset bearings were in fine shape, but then I stumbled across this post. The suggestion involving snipping up an old pair of jeans seemed to make sense (on the second read; although I think an old belt would do the trick as well), but then there was the update by the original poster about turning the frame upside-down and hammering the whole thing down so the steerer tube strikes a block of wood, and that sounded worth a try as well.
I gave the latter technique a try and to my surprise, after the first rap on the wooden block, the headset popped right open. It was stunning how little force was required given that I’d hammered on it before to no avail — leverage!
The headset seems to be in fine shape, but I’m still glad I now have the chance to give it a good cleaning and packing with new grease before reassembly.
With that done, I tackled the sanding with renewed enthusiasm. The parts of the frame I’ve already sanded are rusting quite quickly, so I’ll have to hurry up and get the frame ready for painting. In my mind, it’s all clean shiny steel when the prep is done.
But given the time constraints and my skill level, I may now settle for less than perfection. I want to get all the existing paint at least roughed up with sandpaper, if not removed down to the bare metal, before painting. I’m glad to say that my chosen paint is specifically formulated to work on a bare frame or painted, with or without primer.
In addition to getting the main frame tubes this time around, I began working on some of the detail bits. One priority was the inside of the seat tube, where rust had held the seatpost locked in place. I’d gotten a wooden dowel specifically for this purpose, and wrapped the sandpaper around it before taking it to the inner end of the seat tube.
With that done I turned my attention to other detail places, such as the brake bridge between the seat stays. The wooden dowel also came in handy for cleaning up the rear dropouts and the bottom bracket shell. With the latter I just have to take care because it’s threaded for the bottom bracket bearings.
Finally, I spent more time with the fork, particularly the rounded shoulders. The wooden dowel came in handy again with the lower end of the steerer tube, although it was a tight fit here.
After a couple of hours of work on a number of different bits, I felt I’d made good progress despite not having much energy.
I brought the various bits of the headset home with me, and had a go at them today with a brush and some degreaser. They all cleaned up fine, which reinforced my impression that this headset can be reused. I thought I saw a model number on a couple of the spacers (which would help with the specs if I had to replace the unit), but it just turned out to be a fairly generic patent number.
Some long-awaited components for Ol’ Paint’s rebuild arrived today. Ol’ Paint was originally a triple: three chainrings on the front and eight cogs on the back. But as a central part of the upgrade, I wanted to convert her to a 1x: a single chainring with an 11-speed cog. After some research I decided on the SRAM Apex 1 line. Then the only problem was that no one who listed the parts would ship to Japan.
With some more searching I found the required bits through a Rakuten shop. When I ordered they quickly responded that the parts were out of stock and it would take more than a month to receive them. Knowing that I would still be in the process of prepping the frame for painting, I agreed to wait. And today, it all arrived.
I’d already received the rear cogs and the bottom bracket bearing set quite some time ago. I’ve got the brakes, handlebar, stem, pedals and seatpost. The hand grips arrived earlier today. About the only thing missing now is the saddle, which is also on back order, and perhaps a few cable housings (depending on the color I choose to go with the new paint). I’ve even got the wheels built and am in the process of truing them.
I’ve got the next four days off work, but — sad to say — I don’t have access to the workshop where Ol’ Paint’s frame awaits.
I had some time before starting work today so I got some more sanding done on Ol’ Paint. I concentrated on the fork, which had more than its share of dings and rust.
It’s been less than two weeks since I last worked on the bike, but rust is already forming again on the parts I sanded off. I decided to ignore that for today. When I’m done with the whole bike I’ll go back over it again, this time with a finer grit. It should go a lot more quickly.
In all I spent about 45 minutes getting the fork to this stage. I’ve saved the hardest parts for later: the bendy bits and the tight corners.
My initial go at sanding off the paint was so frustrating that it was difficult for me to get back to it. So when I realized I would have time opening up today for this, I checked online to see what sort of sandpaper I should be using. The answer was clear: aluminum carbide with a cloth backing. I was able to find some for immediate delivery, in #80 and #240 (but not in #120, which I thought would be a good starting grit).
As soon as I got to work today with the higher quality #80, the results spoke for themselves. Previously I’d gone through several sheets of generic #120 just to get a few rust spots cleared up and a couple of decals eradicated. Today, by contrast, I was taking out much larger areas of paint, right down to the bare metal. I continued to concentrate on areas of rust, or where I’d scraped off emblems.
I was still going through sandpaper — I went through four sheets today in something like an hour and a half. But the paper is not that much more expensive, and I have a lot more to show for my effort.
After working an hour and a half, I called it a day. The workshop was open for another half hour, but I was giving myself a headache from the effort. Overall, I’m quite pleased compared to how things were going back in August.
I thought I’d have a nice easy commute to and from the workshop today. I didn’t even put on cycling shorts, although I did wear my helmet and cleats. But the mechanical gods had other ideas. Just as I reached the top of a hill on the way home, with about 5km to go, I heard a pop and then some sproingy noises. I stopped immediately and investigated. Sacre bleu! Another broken spoke. I twisted it around its neighbor so I could continue on my way home.
What’s going on here, anyway? I certainly wasn’t overloading that spoke (apart from asking it to carry me up that hill … ), and it wasn’t a case of the chain coming off the sprockets. It’s no doubt some combination of the thinner gauge spokes I used when I rebuilt the wheel following the last disaster and my own amateur status as a wheelbuilder. There’s also the possibility the hub is damaged from the initial spoke incident and that’s notching the new spokes. I’ll have a close look at it — if I decide that’s the cause, I may just order a whole new wheel from the maker.
I haven’t had time for a few weeks to get back to sanding down Ol’ Paint. But I’ve been looking at the growing pile of schwag in my den and decided today was the day to build a wheel. There are a lot of guides available for wheel-building, but I found this video to be very clear.
(OK, it’s a bit verbose and the background music sucks, and he tends to over-explain things. But I found the basics to be very clear.)
I laid out all the necessary bits in preparation. It’s a 32-spoke wheel, so that means four groups of eight spokes each.
With the wheel fully laced, I was ready to tighten the spokes. As recommended in the video, first I tightened each nipple so no threads showed on the spoke. Then I went around the rim again, tightening each spoke two turns, then one.
I finished for the moment by going around the wheel and checking each spoke with the tension gauge, tightening as needed. I’ve got all the spokes close to their final tension, within a tick of each other. And that’s where it’s going to remain until I’ve done truing the wheel (which will not be for a while yet).