So I did something kind of stupid. While cleaning the BB of my commuter in between doing some upgrades I decided to clamp it into a vise with roughly 2 inches (3 layers) of carpeting I had laying around. Well, I suppose that I clamped it a bit too hard. I was being careful but not until I started researching the damage did I learn how thin and fragile bicycle tubing is.
I did not care about the paint, or too much about the frame in general or I would not have dared to secure it in this way. It would be nice if the frame was still relatively safe though.
It is a 1997 or so Biachi Volpe, Reynolds 520 tubing. I have not had the opportunity to take a digital caliper to it but using a measure it looks like the frame is dented in about 1.5 mm on each side at the worst, and pushed upwards accordingly. The dent gently rises over about 10 cm of the tube, with a peak in the middle. The frame rides and looks straight, with no discernable creaking or funny feeling. The damage is barely noticeable, but I am concerned about integrity. The cracks you may see in the photos are just the paint. Should I gently attempt to round it out? I figured that leaving it as-is would be the safest bet.
The damage extends from about the middle of the bottle cage stays to a cm or two past the top bottle cage stay:
There are blocks designed to address this sort of trouble. They are simply aluminum or steel blocks drilled through with the appropriate diameter hole and then split. In use they are clamped to the tube and turned to "iron out" the dent. Paint obviously suffers from this process. Result are rarely if ever perfect.
The cheap version is just to put the frame back into the vice. Results will likely be even less perfect.
I'd probably leave it alone if I were you. If anyone asks you can tell them it is "multi shape" tubing. It's technically not as strong as it used to be, but that likely means you've reduced the safety margin from 500% to 430%.
And now you know not to clamp frame tubing in your vice!
Thanks for the advice! Yes, I figured that leaving it alone would be best for safety. No point stressing it twice. As it is a commuter bike in NYC it is better off looking like this anyway. I certainly don't mind. I almost pulled the trigger on an ebay frame yesterday but thought it better to ask first. I'll just watch for any signs of danger and retire the poor abused frame if it starts giving me trouble.