The Halfakid joined me in the workshop today as we got Ol’ Paint even closer to the point of being ready to paint. We used some new attachments for the Dremel to get into some hard-to-reach spots, polished up the previously stripped areas using 3M sheets, and tapped new threads into the water bottle bosses. Finally, we removed the head badge, which had become scuffed up beyond salvation.
The new Dremel attachments worked quite well and allowed us to reach some areas that the larger fittings wouldn’t. But there are still some very tight spaces we weren’t able to reach.
This head badge has got to go
I’d hoped to keep the head badge. The record will show it entered this project unscathed. But I had already scratched it up a bit, and after the Halfakid finished cleaning up all the paint around it on the head tube, it was pretty much done in.
It just took a moment with the putty knife to remove the badge and glue, and then a couple of more minutes with the sander to get the head tube bright and shiny.
With the lion’s share of the sanding and polishing done, we turned our attention to the water bottle bosses. The bolts had snapped off in both these bosses. I’d tried extracting them to no avail, and so I’d drilled them out and filled the holes with JB Weld. Today we drilled 4mm pilot holes and then tapped them with a 5mm x 0.8mm tap.
The holes aren’t perfectly aligned but I think they’re close enough, and the tapping seemed to go cleanly once we got the handle tight enough. The proof of the pudding will be in the tasting, after we’ve painted the frame and try to mount a water bottle cage.
Are we done yet?
Now it’s decision time. There’s still some paint in the very hard-to-reach places. I could spend some more time to trying to chase that out (sandpaper wrapped around a popsicle stick, etc.). Or I could say it’s good enough and we’re going to go with this. The paint I’ve bought is formulated to go over existing paint, so that shouldn’t be an issue. I’ve got at least a week now to decide if I want to try more (and I could probably spend quite a few more hours getting the remaining paint) or to decide it’s good enough and to start masking before the paint.
(Without the head badge, I only need to mask the bottom bracket and the brake mounts, I think. The headset bits. I guess that’s everything.)
I’m still thinking whether to try to replace the head badge or let it go. A brief search has turned up some related head badges and decals, but nothing that was an exact match. Sometimes less is more, and the naked truth might be more attractive option in the long run.
I’m mostly done with the power tools for cleaning up Ol’ Paint now and I’ve gone back to hand sanding, this time with 3M abrasive pads.
The 3M pads turned out to be very good not only for removing any remaining paint and getting into the nooks and crannies, but also for removing the swirl marks (and even scratches) left by the power tools.
I’d meant to keep the headset the original black, but whatever finish it had came off a lot easier than the remaining paint. So I ended up polishing the whole thing silver.
Ditto the head badge. Now I have to decide if I want to try to just polish the raised areas, completely clean it up, or repaint it.
I put in a good hour and a half this morning on Ol’ Paint before the workshop closed. When I got home, I pulled Kuroko out of the basement parking to take care of a couple of adjustments left over from the recent drivetrain overhaul. First I tightened up the front shifter cable and readjusted the derailleur.
The last bit was to shorten up the cable housing for the rear derailleur. I knew I would need to do this when I replaced the derailleur, but at the time I put it off. Today was the day to clean it up.
Of course, shortening the cable housing meant cutting the cable shorter and then readjusting the rear derailleur. Hopefully I’ve got it all right and tomorrow’s ride will mark the return of Silent Running.
Today dawned clear and windy, promising some good riding. Kuroko was still at the office following last week’s debacle with the chain and the midweek almost perfect recovery. I have access to the workshop at the office — where I’m stripping the paint off Ol’ Paint — until noon, so after Nana woke up and made some onigiri, I packed my riding clothes in my backpack and set out.
I’ve already done as much as I can with a full-sized drill and paint removing discs so I got some smaller sanding discs for my Dremel and worked with those today. They did a good job, and the smaller dimensions of both the discs and the Dremel tool allowed me to reach areas I couldn’t reach with the larger drill. Unfortunately, the sanding discs were disintegrating almost as quickly as I could put them in the chuck. Despite the short life, though, they were doing a good job of cleaning up the Ol’ Paint’s frame.
Once all the sanding discs were wasted, I continued with a cylindrical grinding stone. As this was even smaller than the discs, it allowed me to reach into even tighter joints and crevices. By the time my noon deadline arrived, I had nearly finished cleaning up Ol’ Paint’s frame — at least as much of it as I can reach without investing even more into time and tools.
Practice makes perfect
With my access to the workshop done, I returned to my office to eat a couple of onigiri and to practice emergency chain repair with Kuroko’s chain — the one that broke last week — and my Topeak Hexus tool.
Now that I’ve seen the video, I know that one of the tire levers has a 4mm hex key to use with the chain tool. It took a couple of tries, but I was able to remove the bad links and rejoin the chain using one of the rivets that I’d pressed out of the chain.
With the preliminaries out of the way, I was finally ready to ride! It was already 1 p.m. and I was in Futako Tamagawa, so it was an easy choice to repeat last week’s ride (without last week’s disaster, I hoped!) to Haneda. I changed into my bike gear and stashed my street clothes in my backpack.
The bicycle was behaving and shifting well, although making a bit of noise. I fiddled with the shifter cable tension as I rode. Before I knew it, I’d reached the kawazuzakura trees at the first rest stop on the Tamagawa cycling course. From the looks of it, they have another week or two before they’ll be in bloom. At the picnic table, I ran Kuroko through her gears and made a couple of adjustments before continuing on.
From there it’s less than 5km to my usual rest spot, where I messaged Nana and took a few minutes to really sort out the gears. I knew at this point I’d resolved the chain and cable tension issues, and I set out with more confidence for the final 10km to Haneda.
My confidence was well founded, and before I knew it I was rolling into the Haneda Peace Shrine. The skies were blue, although the wind was up, and after taking a picture I sat down in the shade and ate another of Nana’s onigiri.
The ride down to Haneda had gone smoothly and at a very good pace, so I was expecting a headwind on the way back home. In this I was not disappointed. While I’d been making 28-30km/h on the outward leg, I was now concentrating on keeping my pace above 20. For the most part I was succeeding. I wasn’t really willing to push too hard at this point because I knew I had nearly 30km to go and was fighting against a two-month riding hiatus.
Apart from the headwind, the only notable thing about the return was that the front derailleur was making noise, and lagging on the shift up to the larger chainring. Before I’d covered the 10km back to the usual rest stop, upshifts had become a no-go. At 20km/h this is not a big deal, and I kept on in the lower chainring until I rolled into the rest stop.
An inspection of the derailleur quickly revealed the issue: not enough tension in the shifter cable. I used the barrel adjuster to add tension until the derailleur was behaving properly once more, and set out into the wind once again.
Everything was going quite well at this point (apart from the obvious issues of me being old and fat and riding into the wind) and I spent an enjoyable hour working my way back to Futagobashi (the bridge over the Tamagawa at Futako Tamagawa). When I got to the bridge and dismounted to work my way through the pedestrian traffic there, I had a sudden and intense cramp in my right calf, and I had to lean against a bridge abutment for a moment before continuing. Once on my way, I took every opportunity to stretch the calf out fully, and that proved to be just what the doctor ordered.
At last I was on the climb out of the Tamagawa valley, the one that I always whinge about at this juncture. There’s a bit of construction going on not far from the foot of the hill, but the worker quickly waved me through and I was on my way up. Of course I was working my way downward through the gears, but I stopped two sprockets above the lowest as I made my way up at more than 10km/h. It wasn’t my fastest time up that particular climb, but neither was it the slowest.
After a brief stop in the park at the top of the hill where I filled my water bottle, I donned my riding jacket, removed my sunglasses and continued on. I’d messaged Nana that I would be home before 5, and I was confident I would make this deadline. Meanwhile, though, I’d turned on my lights as I knew that shadows would be lengthening by the time I reached Shinjuku.
Things went mostly smoothly on the way home, but the front derailleur began acting up again — in precisely the same fashion as previously. It finally dawned on me that the cable was slipping: the pinch bolt was too loose. As I was nearly home by this time and I was not exceeding 25km/h for the most part, I simply didn’t use the larger chainring. After the final swooping descent down to our tower condo, I rolled the bike into the parking space.
I checked the pinch bolt: Yes, it was not tight enough. I tightened it up and once again increased the tension in the shifter cable. In the bicycle parking, at least, the derailleur is working fine now.
I didn’t set any records on this run, but that was as expected. The time I posted is quite an improvement over last week’s, when I ended up pushing the bike more than 5km. Along the same stretch today, into the wind, I was averaging more than four times my walking pace. All to the good.
On arriving home, after adjusting the shifter cable and locking up the bike, I relaxed in the tub with a beer. Clean and relaxed, I had a look out the balcony window in time to note the sun setting behind Fujisan.
The Halfakid is not available for riding tomorrow, and I have a few things on my list to take care of. I may yet go for a quick ride, but it’s not pressing at this point.
Meanwhile, here are some of Kuroko’s siblings in the wild:
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.