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  1. #1
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    1st rebuild, 1936 Raleigh Sports Model. Thoughts and help please.

    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.

    Questions

    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.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #2
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    FYI, the chassis number is 19969. It looks a bit like 19368 in the photo.

  3. #3
    Dane silvercreek's Avatar
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    That looks like it is going to be a pretty good project. I'm in same situation with my first build of a Raleigh Sports but mine isn't that old.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/20832064@N03/sets/

    1976 Takara Grand Touring
    1976 Raleigh Technium
    1976 Raleigh Sports
    1978 Schwinn Paramount P13-9
    1998 Raleigh SC30
    1954 Schwinn Jaguar
    1954 Schwinn Phantom

  4. #4
    Senior Member auchencrow's Avatar
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    I would not be so quick to write off that frame - or to repaint it.
    Yes there's rust but I've seen others in that condition come back remarkably well.
    What it needs is a good oxalic acid bath (AKA "wood bleach" available at paint supply stores) followed up with a liberal application of Meguiar's Scratch-X and polish.
    The inside of the frame should be treated with frame saver or "Boeshield T-9" - this leaves a waxy coating inside to prevent further rust.

    The stem & etc should likewise benefit from the OA treatment -(there are many threads dealing with it here). It does especially well with chrome but does not like zinc or aluminum alloy.

    You wheel rim does not look like a Westrick pattern to me. I am not sure that it is original. There are EA3 replacement wheel rims available, and though you say you don't care to fiddle with spokes you may have to - - rust is especially unkind to spokes, unless they're stainless steel.

    Depending on how well the fenders clean up, you'll have to make a decision - to repaint or keep them as is or replace them (Raleigh fenders are common enough).
    (The fenders on my later '53 Sports looked like yours but I am pretty happy with them now.) Anyway, bondo is not going to work out.

    For rusted screws I'd recommend PB Blaster - It's a penetrating oil that works well with rusted fasteners. Be advised that these are mostly 26tpi proprietary-threaded fasteners that are not easy to find.

    For replacement parts, such as the chain case closure, eBay is your best bet. Another alternative is a parts bike, if you can find one. If you are where I think you are (in Merry Old England) this might not be such a daunting task as it would be here.
    - Auchen

  5. #5
    DRF aka Thrifty Bill wrk101's Avatar
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    +1 That paint has lasted 75 years. I would do my best to save it. Once it is gone, it is gone forever. Plenty of threads on how to handle rust. I am in the OA camp myself.

  6. #6
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    19389 to me

  7. #7
    old and fixed... clubman's Avatar
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    And those bars, stem and lamp bracket are unique to earlier bikes...don't discard any of it. It's tempting to rush through a restoration but a bike this old usually deserves a proper restoration. No paint for you! (says the guy who painted his 1937 path bike)

    You'll be amazed at how well your chrome will respond to a proper OA bath.

  8. #8
    26 tpi nut. sailorbenjamin's Avatar
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    Once you've got a can of PB Blaster, or WD-40 or whatever sort of penetrating oil you like, get some bronze wool and brass brushes. They're stronger than the rust but softer than the chrome underneath and will leave it nice and clean without the scratches that steel wool will leave. Spray the part with oil and scrub.
    You've taken a big bite, chew patiently. It's worth while, though. This is one of my all time favorite bikes and it will reward you. The chrome and paint on these is first rate and comes out much nicer than you'd expect. Many of the early ones had stainless steel spokes which polish up nicely with the oil and bronze wool. Lots had plain steel, too and just go from brown to shiny brown.
    Here's my first real project. I actually got a pair, a '28 and a '36 and I forget which this is but you get the idea.


    And here's my '74 and '75 Tourists. Again, I forget which one I restored and which one I swapped with this buddy of mine who now has half of my bikes in his barn. (He takes better care of them than I do).


    By the way, is that a Terry saddle? Sort of a painted canvas looking substance? Those are getting sort of rare, though I might be the only one who cares.

    And of course, you've found Sheldon Brown?
    http://sheldonbrown.com/raleigh.html
    I have spoken.

  9. #9
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    I got about a half kilogram of oxalic acid from some chemical supplier on ebay. It was super cheap. But be careful. Read directions on how to use it, which you can find on the web.
    You don't read my signature anyway, do you?

    Tom Reingold, noglider@pobox.com
    Residences: West Village, New York City and High Falls, NY
    Blogs: The Experienced Cyclist; noglider's ride blog

  10. #10
    www.theheadbadge.com cudak888's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by auchencrow View Post
    What it needs is a good oxalic acid bath (AKA "wood bleach" available at paint supply stores) followed up with a liberal application of Meguiar's Scratch-X and polish.
    +1. My '51 Sports looked about on par with this '36 - paintwise - when I got it. Scratch X quickly remedied that issue:



    -Kurt

  11. #11
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    That's pretty cool. I've never worked on anything as old as this. However, when I was getting into this hobby, I messed up some decent old stuff because I didn't know what I was doing and I was impatient. Use the wrong material (i.e., steel on chrome) or the wrong chemicals (i.e., acids on zinc or nickel plating) and you can ruin whatever remained of the thing's original finish.

    By all means, do whatever you like with it, enjoy it, make it your own. But first, do take a moment to consider the wisdom of those who have gone before you.

    Here is my advice: Set aside plans for repainting and aggressive removal of original paint or finish, regardless of the condition of the component. Get the whole thing cleaned up in a conservative way. Then, if it still looks like crap, you can repaint or whatever. But it just might surprise you.

    If you are using 3-in-1 oil, set it aside until later, and never put any in the hubs or bearings. It will convert red rust to stable black rust, which you will then not be able to remove chemically. It's good for stabilizing a rusted surface, but don't use it in the first phase of cleanup. And 3-in-1 oil turns to gum inside an internally geared hub.
    Get some motor oil/chain oil/machine oil for general oiling purposes.

    Put the stuff in the basement or garage and squirt penetrating oil or PB Blaster on any parts nuts and bolts that don't move (and anything else with rust if you like). I would especially suggest treating the spoke nipples on both sides of the rim (eventually you or your bike shop will want to true the wheel, and this will make life a lot easier). Leave it for a few days. Treat it again. Leave it for a few days. Treat it again.

    When you've freed all the frozen parts, completely disassemble everything. Degrease everything thoroughly, then prepare a nice bath of oxalic acid for all painted and chromed parts. (Plated spokes generally do not fare well in this process--if you really want to clean up the wheels thoroughly, you're going to have to disassemble them; of course this means having them rebuilt later if you don't know how to do it.) Read up on how to use oxalic acid. It really can be like magic. Search for examples on this forum. You'll be shocked.

    Once you've de-rusted everything (and neutralized the acid, etc.), now is the time to try polishing the remaining paint -- Meguir's Scratch-X FTW. Also, metal polish on the chrome.

    NOW you can decide what you paint and surfaces you want to nuke forever.

    Also, one other thing. If you've had good luck with canned spray paint, or you just haven't had enough tuolene exposure, more power to you (if we're talking about real automotive paint here, disregard this). My experience is that even the best spray paint with the most careful preparation is crap. It's hard to apply well, and it never gets hard. It's just not worth it. I would shoot myself before committing to ten coats of that stuff to anything ever again.

    That is what I have to say.

  12. #12
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    Thanks for all the advice. I'll definitely try the Oxalic acid/Scratch X combination, especially now I know this bike has some fairly rare parts. If I do this and there are still lots of ruat pits, should i touch them up with some paint and and artist's paint brush? If so is there any specialist paint i should use? I don't just want to do this for asthetics but also to stop any either rust. And would it be so bad if i replaced the transfers since they're almost worn away completely. I'll keep the wherls if I can, because I quite like the 32/40 spoke style. Even if they aren't originals.

    I took another look at it this morning and if I don't have to replace the wheels all I'd need is a need are: brake cables, a Sturmey Archer gear cable, inner tubes, tyres, handlebar grips, a seat post and a seat (and maybe new brake levers) that's comfortably under 150 including specialist tools, chemicals and polish; with 59 of that going on the seat. That sounds like a pretty good deal to me!

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roll-Monroe-Co View Post

    Here is my advice: Set aside plans for repainting and aggressive removal of original paint or finish, regardless of the condition of the component. Get the whole thing cleaned up in a conservative way. Then, if it still looks like crap, you can repaint or whatever. But it just might surprise you.
    Words to live by. Good post.

    David

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by GreenWheels View Post
    Thanks for all the advice. I'll definitely try the Oxalic acid/Scratch X combination, especially now I know this bike has some fairly rare parts. If I do this and there are still lots of ruat pits, should i touch them up with some paint and and artist's paint brush? If so is there any specialist paint i should use? I don't just want to do this for asthetics but also to stop any either rust. And would it be so bad if i replaced the transfers since they're almost worn away completely. I'll keep the wherls if I can, because I quite like the 32/40 spoke style. Even if they aren't originals.
    People have different philosophies on handling formerly rusted spots with no paint or plating. I think the most conservative is just to use automotive wax or even just frequent wipe-downs with oil (this is the most reactionary approach). In this case, 3-in-1 oil may be a good choice for a black bike--converts rust to a black substance. Of course you can always to touch up paint. You seem to be in the UK, so maybe someone from there can recommend a brand.

    If the bike is to be a rider and time and oxidation have taken most of the historic value anyway, spot painting or repainting is a fine option. It immediately loses most o its collectability, but it gains something that may be more important to you--durability for a life you are actually living, rather than experiencing vicariously through a museum piece. It is a bike, made to move you around in the real world, after all.

    I have Raleigh roadster on which the paint cleaned up incredibly with Scratch-X, but some dillroll (not me this time) sanded away all the paint where the serial number is--perhaps they thought they had a treasure from the thirties like yours (actually from the 70s). In this case, I won't hesitate to cover that area with some paint and try to blend it in to the original, since I just want to get the bike riding (it doesn't even have all the original parts, so no historic value anyway).

    I couldn't tell from your photos about the condition of the spokes. If any appear to have lost structural integrity from rust, you def. want to think about getting them replaced.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by GreenWheels View Post
    And would it be so bad if i replaced the transfers since they're almost worn away completely.
    Not a sin! Lots of people here do this on restorations. If the bike has historic value (and associated market value), you may wish to leave it as is. If you just want to spruce it up, esp. if you don't care about re-selling, go for it.

    Quote Originally Posted by GreenWheels View Post
    I'll keep the wherls if I can, because I quite like the 32/40 spoke style. Even if they aren't originals.
    You don't have to replace the wheels! If there's not too much rust damage, you can use it all. Have you doused the inside of the rear hub with oil yet? If not, go ahead. Some people pour a solvent in there, leave it sit, run the wheel and work the gears some, flush it out with oil, then repack the bearings with grease. Very old internally geared hubs can develop hardened grease and crud inside that should be removed for good operation of the hub.

  16. #16
    Hopelessly addicted... photogravity's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roll-Monroe-Co View Post
    People have different philosophies on handling formerly rusted spots with no paint or plating. I think the most conservative is just to use automotive wax or even just frequent wipe-downs with oil (this is the most reactionary approach). In this case, 3-in-1 oil may be a good choice for a black bike--converts rust to a black substance. Of course you can always to touch up paint. You seem to be in the UK, so maybe someone from there can recommend a brand.

    If the bike is to be a rider and time and oxidation have taken most of the historic value anyway, spot painting or repainting is a fine option. It immediately loses most o its collectability, but it gains something that may be more important to you--durability for a life you are actually living, rather than experiencing vicariously through a museum piece. It is a bike, made to move you around in the real world, after all.

    I have Raleigh roadster on which the paint cleaned up incredibly with Scratch-X, but some dillroll (not me this time) sanded away all the paint where the serial number is--perhaps they thought they had a treasure from the thirties like yours (actually from the 70s). In this case, I won't hesitate to cover that area with some paint and try to blend it in to the original, since I just want to get the bike riding (it doesn't even have all the original parts, so no historic value anyway).

    I couldn't tell from your photos about the condition of the spokes. If any appear to have lost structural integrity from rust, you def. want to think about getting them replaced.
    All good points, to be sure. Of course, in some cases, as with my 1949 Hercules Kestrel, sometimes a bike has been painted in a way that is inappropriate and it makes sense to repaint the bicycle. In a large number of cases, probably a majority, it is most appropriate to keep the original finish.
    --
    Ridding the world of derailleurs, one bicycle at a time.

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  17. #17
    Senior Member sykerocker's Avatar
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    Once you've oxalic-acided the rust, and since you've got a black bike, try black shoe polish. No, I'm not joking. I've used it on a number of 70's Raleigh's that were black. It's a nice combination of filler, protectant and paint. Just be ready for it darkening the decals a bit.

    And yeah, put me in the 'do not repaint' crowd. I've always considered repainting a vintage, nay antique, frame as a last resort. "Last resort" being defined as: 1. post-death of your spouse and children, 2. burning down of your house, and 3. realization that you've got terminal cancer and have three months to live. If any of those have not happened yet, you're not ready to repaint.
    Last edited by sykerocker; 02-15-12 at 07:52 AM.
    Syke

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    Quote Originally Posted by sykerocker View Post
    I've always considered repainting a vintage, nay antique, frame as a last resort. "Last resort" being defined as: 1. post-death of your spouse and children, 2. burning down of your house, and 3. realization that you've got terminal cancer and have three months to live. If any of those have not happened yet, you're not ready to repaint.
    This guy is hardcore.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by sykerocker View Post
    Once you've oxalic-acided the rust, and since you've got a black bike, try black shoe polish. No, I'm not joking. I've used it on a number of 70's Raleigh's that were black. It's a nice combination of filler, protectant and paint. Just be ready for it darkening the decals a bit.

    And yeah, put me in the 'do not repaint' crowd. I've always considered repainting a vintage, nay antique, frame as a last resort. "Last resort" being defined as: 1. post-death of your spouse and children, 2. burning down of your house, and 3. realization that you've got terminal cancer and have three months to live. If any of those have not happened yet, you're not ready to repaint.
    So what would you do if you were faced with my scenario? You would keep the repainted colour?
    --
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  20. #20
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    I'll definitely try the 3 in 1 method to fill in the rust patches, that's a great idea.

    Can I use the oxalic acid to clear the gunk out of the sturmey archer hub too? Then flush it out with oil? That would allow me to just soak the whole wheel in the tub with the hub on it. Also will the acid damage my white plastic bath tub?

    Thanks for all the help!

  21. #21
    Senior Member auchencrow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GreenWheels View Post
    I'll definitely try the 3 in 1 method to fill in the rust patches, that's a great idea.

    Can I use the oxalic acid to clear the gunk out of the sturmey archer hub too? Then flush it out with oil? That would allow me to just soak the whole wheel in the tub with the hub on it. Also will the acid damage my white plastic bath tub?

    Thanks for all the help!
    NO!!! Don't dip your SA hub in OA.
    Use some WD-40 to remove the wax/varnish build-up in your hub. Just make sure you oil everything back up when you're done.

    I have used kiddie pools and plastic buckets for OA and never had any problem, at least not at the dilute concentrations you need for rust removal. (about a tbs /gal)
    - Auchen

  22. #22
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GreenWheels View Post
    I'll definitely try the 3 in 1 method to fill in the rust patches, that's a great idea.

    Can I use the oxalic acid to clear the gunk out of the sturmey archer hub too? Then flush it out with oil? That would allow me to just soak the whole wheel in the tub with the hub on it. Also will the acid damage my white plastic bath tub?

    Thanks for all the help!
    Probably don't want to dunk the whole wheel, the galvanized spokes don't play well with OA either. You can try flushing the hub with kerosene, then adding oil back into it. Or do a complete tear down and soak it in degreaser of some sort. OA is not going to hurt plastic. I don't know if I would do it my bath tub. Get a wading pool, or line a large fairly flat box with a sheet of heavy plastic.

    Aaron
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  23. #23
    Senior Member sykerocker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by photogravity View Post
    So what would you do if you were faced with my scenario? You would keep the repainted colour?
    I'm currently working with a '90 GT Tachyon that has been totally trashed. A bad rattle can green paintjob over the original paint and decals. Unfortunately, a very good sticking bad rattle can paint job. Two hours work managed to clear about 1/3rd of the top tube. There's no hope in saving the decals, either. So, for the first time in my restoration 'career' the frame went to the powder coater's yesterday. We came up with a damn near close to perfect match to the original paint. Hopefully some time in the future I can find somebody who can do the decals.

    And yeah, that's about what it takes for me to do a repaint (and I prefer powder coat if it's a non-lugged frame). This in only the third time I'm having this done to a frame, and the previous two (my fixie and the Mavic Neutral Support Bike replica) were customs, not attempts at restoration. And still, the final defining point on this decision is that it's a 20 year old bike, not an 80 year old one. Were this a 1930 Tachyon, I'd be spending the next two years laboriously removing every bit of green. And hating the job, by that point.

    In your case, yeah, you're probably going to have to repaint if you want it brought back to factory original. Yes, I'm hardcore. I'm not totally unrealistic (well, not most of the time). My hard-ass, somewhat joking standard regarding repaint assumes you still have enough of the original paint left to see what it is.
    Last edited by sykerocker; 02-15-12 at 06:43 PM.
    Syke

    "No wonder we keep testing positive in their bicycle races. Everyone looks like they're full of testosterone when they're surrounded by Frenchmen." ---Argus Hamilton

  24. #24
    Senior Member sykerocker's Avatar
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    The keepers: 1960 Raleigh Lenton Grand Prix, 1968 Ranger, 1969 Magneet Sprint, 1971 Gitane Tour de France, 1973 Raleigh Tourist, 1973 Lambert, 1973 Schwinn Super Sport, 2 - 1988 Rossins
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roll-Monroe-Co View Post
    This guy is hardcore.
    I've shown antique cars ('37 Buick, my current '87 Porsche) none of which have ever seen a repaint restoration. My 1969 Triumph Bonneville, likewise - and the only motorcycles I've ever owned that have been repainted was one wrecked (done in the original color scheme) and a couple of custom choppers and streetfighters.

    But where it really got drilled in to me was my sister. She collects Barbie. Preferably, pre-1960 Barbie. You should see the standards for restoring an original Model 1. They make us look sloppy.
    Syke

    "No wonder we keep testing positive in their bicycle races. Everyone looks like they're full of testosterone when they're surrounded by Frenchmen." ---Argus Hamilton

  25. #25
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    Update

    So things are moving slowly on the Bike front (work) but there is slow progress. I managed to disassemble the bottom bracket and the cotter pins came out with just two hammer taps each and are in good knick so I'll probably reuse them. Bearings everywhere!

    The wheels have lost A LOT of chrome and I've had to resort to sanding to remove the rust. They aren't brown any more but look like they'll need to be replaced. No doubt they're rust up again in no time. The good news is that the spokes are stainless steel and shine up beautifully and I've found a pair of 1951 Dunlop stainless steel 32/40 rims on ebay that I'll bid for. I know braking will be awful in the wet but they cant be much worse than the current set and I've had no luck finding a 40 hole 26 inch rim to use with the rear hub. I don't plan on ever doing more than 10 mph on this and I'll get the best pads I can get so I hope I'll be alright!

    I still have no idea how to get the handlebars and headset off but I'm sure I'll get there.

    The saddle post and seat are beyond salvageable unless I can get new leather put on the seat but it's not worth the effort or expense and a new seat post only costs 5 so the old one will definitely go.

    The pedals look like they'll clean up fine without disassembly. A bit of oil and they're already turning quite freely.

    That's all for now folks!

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