Hey y'all, I'm actually really excited to share this project with you. Ive been reading the forums for a good while now, squinting into the night over ancient posts about various questions I've had and before I describe my rebuild, I'd like to say thanks. All the knowledge in these forums is priceless, and for my purposes this site has been a perfect companion to sheldonbrown.com. I've read about tubing, countless posts on specific bikes and models, and have admired many a picture of nice classics posted in C&V.
This may be quite a long post, so get ready. I'm going to include all the information I can, along with the mistakes I've made, and photographs.
Having spent the last 6 months putting in hours volunteering at my local bike coop (austinyellowbike.org) and reading here and on Sheldon's site, I finally feel like I am beginning to know what I'm doing.
I picked up a frame and fork about 6 months ago, off craigslist, from a guy who assured me it was a 1978 Raleigh Professional. It had been repainted, and the headset had been replaced with a Shimano 600. The top tube had been drilled to allow for internal cable routing. NOOB MISTAKE #1: All this means I should have passed on it. But this was 6 months ago and I didn't.
Official Before Photo:
Because of the repaint I may never really know if it is a Professional or not. The Serial number is WK8003002, and the lugs match photos I've seen of the real deal. Dropouts are campagnolo, as is the bottom bracket cable guide (which I found out later).
At this point I realized I needed more skills and knowledge to pull this thing off, and the frame went into the living room corner for the next six months.
Coming back to it, I made a few decisions. The top tube and the repaint meant that a full restoration would be a waste of effort, so I set about looking for a decent set of components for a decent price, and settled on a full set of Shimano 600 Ultegra (the tricolor one) off ebay. NOOB Mistake #2: I should have waited and picked up a cheapo thing off craigslist to strip. The nice thing about the ebay listing was that it included almost everything I needed. Being new to this my personal "Box o' Parts" consisted of one pair of no-name brake levers (with bonus safety/suicide levers), and a rear wheel with a bent axle.
Components off Ebay, just after degreasing:
Head and stem.jpg
Crankset and BB.jpg
The wheels are Mavic MA40 rims with shimano 600 hubs and a 7 speed cassette. The rear wheel was super bent:
NOOB Mistake #3This part I'm sure there will be objections to and words of caution: I unlaced the bent rim and laced the hub and spokes onto a double walled aluminium rim I got at the LBS. Re-using spokes! that came from a wheel that was bent from unknown forces!? Yep. At this point I was feeling very DIY, and didnt want to spend any more money. None of the spokes looked damaged, and If I get nervous about it I'll bite the bullet and spend the cash for the LBS to cut me some new spokes, and I'll rebuild the wheel.
After truing the rear with the new rim:
I then turned my attention to the Frame and Fork and decided I hated the paint, and still swept up in the DIY spirit, bought sandpaper.
NOOB Mistake #4 Next time, I will be using paint thinner....
It took me a week solid of evenings on the apartment balcony, with a pile of 220 sandpaper, a pocketknife and a sixpack, but I did it, eventually. I used a crappy old pocketknife to take off the glossy clearcoat and much of the colorcoats, and sanded away the old primer.
Time for priming! I donned gloves did a last sanding run with 500 grit and wiped it down with rubbing alcohol.
NOOB Mistake #5 I hadn't planned out a suitable way to hold it while painting, and ended up making a massive mess of the primer coat:
This sort of stuff was all over the frame. I hadn't ever used a can of srpaypaint before. Anyway I let it dry and sanded down the rough areas and came up with this:
I've done the first layer of color, which was white (bonus noob mistake: Don't use white primer if you're going to make the first coat white, it's very difficult to figure out where you've painted).
While this was drying I went to the LBS and got cable-housing, tubes, and a pair of continental gatorskins.
I can't wait to get this baby done. Tommor will be the red paint, Thursday the blue, Friday the gloss, and then sunday the build. Ill add on to this thread with a picture of progress is anyone is interested.
Again, thank you all for all the posts and information you've given over the years, I wouldn't have the confidence to do this without it all. I probably would have tried, gotten stuck on a simple step and given up, but thanks to you all, this time next week Ill be riding a handpainted vintage that I assembled myself, which will be pretty rad.