I was helping an elderly couple down the street clear out their garage and they had an old bike hanging on the wall that they wanted to throw out too. It was in a terrible state but I took a liking to it and asked if I could have it and try to restore it. I had no idea what I had gotten myself into.
It turns out that the bike belonged to the lady's brother and he left it with her when he emigrated to California between the wars and she had kept it here in her east London home ever since.
I think I've managed to date it to 1936 because of the Raleigh Sports Model writing in the style that was used in the 30's and the fact that the Sturmey Archer 3 speed hub has no date and just says "Patent app..." (The rest is illegible). I heard that some of the very early models had no date on and they were first made in 1936.
So the rebuild
I'd ideally restore it with as many original parts as possible but since some parts are so bad I'll have to replace them and I think I'll add my own twist in the process.
The frame is in such a bad state that I plan on sanding the rust pits down, priming it and respraying it white. I've seen a spray can job done with 10 coats including 3 of clear coat on top that has turned out to be more than acceptable. I've also discovered a place where I can get the original gold transfers that should look good on the white.
The rust has really eaten into the mudguards but I'm hoping to remove the rust and fill the holes with maybe the filler they use on cars (If it can take a bit of flex). I'll line the inside with the stuff too to strengthen it because they are really flimsy.
I think I'll have to replace the handlebar post and seat post because they look rusted beyond repair but I'll salvage them if possible.
I'll keep the pedals and give them a clean up and do the same with the chain guard and chain. I also love the herons on the gear. Great attention to detail!
I'll replace the seat with a Brooks B66 (that's the style of the one that I'm taking off) but in honey instead of black.
I plan on keeping the original Sturmey Archer gear lever and original brakes with new pads and cables.
The light holder has really been corroded since the old light has been on all this time with 76 year old batteries. I plan to restore it but I'm not sure how much it would look like a heron when I get down to the steel.
Finally I plan on keeping both wheels (especially the rear because I want to keep the hub and not have to fiddle with spokes etc) but I'll have to somehow get through that deep rust.
So as I am totally new to all this, I have quite a few questions and I'd be grateful if you could answer a few.
1. I cant get the handle bar and forks off. Do I need a special tool to do this? The same with the bolt that the pedals attach to and the chrome in the top of the forks.
2. I want to keep the original badge and repaint the red and blue bits and I'll have to remove it from the bike before repainting. How would I remove it without damaging it?
3. There are a few really firmly rusted on bolts and screws. How can I get these off? Particularly the one on the gear changer since the clips are quite delicate.
4. Is there a way to make the seat post and handlebar post look good without having to get them rechromed? If I could save them, I'd like too.
5. If the car dent filler doesn't work, is there anything else I can use to rebuild the mud guards?
6. Is there a way to get through that really deep rust on the wheel rims and get back to god looking steel? If not can I respray or paint over them without the brakes rubbing the paint off?
7. Finally how do I get rid of the rust on the frame and stop it creeping back through the white paint?
8. The gear case seems to have the bottom corner missing. Can I get a replacement anywhere?
I think that's that. I've added some photos below so you can see how much I've bitten off.
Thanks in advance for your support.