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Framebuilders Thinking about a custom frame? Lugged vs Fillet Brazed. Different Frame materials? Newvex or Pacenti Lugs? why get a custom Road, Mountain, or Track Frame? Got a question about framebuilding? Lets discuss framebuilding at it's finest.

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Old 06-01-09, 11:52 AM   #1
Sean F
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Melt my 1920's Fixie?

Hi All,

I recently acquired my great grand pop's hand-build fixie from the 1920's. He was a pro racer/builder (that's what I'm told at least). After wrestling with the idea, I decided to rebuild it. It's a lugged steel frame that is very light (the metal is incredibly thin). I dropped it off for a powder coat job today and my powder guy seemed a little nervous about dealing with it. He had concerns about how the tubes were set into the lugs. He feared that the joints might melt in the oven if they were soldered.

Now, I do know a fair share about bikes, but not about 90 year old lugged steel construction. Any ideas?

Thanks,
Sean
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Old 06-01-09, 12:02 PM   #2
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To be honest, I'm shocked that you're going to destroy the original finish of a 90 year old bike! If you want to retain it's value, do as little as possible to it! Clean the existing paint and parts, and get a coat of quality wax on them. Only replace what you absolutely have to. As it is, that bike could be worth a lot more money than you think.

PS. How about some more photos? Post them in the Classic & Vintage forum - someone there might be able to value it for you.

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Old 06-01-09, 12:11 PM   #3
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I'm with you... but honestly, there's not much of the origanal finish left. There's alot of peeling and chipping, as well as a huge bare spots on the seat stays. As far as what it's worth... I'm not sure, but it's going to stay in the family and there's a few more miles left on it I think.
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Old 06-01-09, 12:59 PM   #4
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Bike collectors sometimes refer to faded and chipped paint as "patina" - they love it. Seriously, if I were you, I wouldn't change a thing until I'd had it evaluated - even just informally.
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Old 06-01-09, 01:52 PM   #5
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Even a very low temperature silver braze alloy melts well above 800°F. If anything, back in the day frames would have been made using brass alloy with even higher melt temperatures. A powder coat oven isn't more than 400°F, so I wouldn't worry there. Sometimes cable stops and such are soft-soldered, but not frame joints.
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Old 06-01-09, 02:25 PM   #6
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I, for one, would absolutely love to see more pictures of the bike, especially the technical stuff: hubs, bottom bracket, cogs, headset, all!

So, if you have the time, please delight us, it would be much appreciated.
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Old 06-01-09, 02:32 PM   #7
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Do not ruin this frame yet. Even if it really, really needs refinishing, don't do PC. PCs all right for my new fixie, but not for an old frame like this. It screams for real paint.

And even C&V on here may not be as valuable as the Classic Rendezvous mail list. I'd ask there. You'll need photos hosted somewhere so you can provide a link.

But do not touch it yet!
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Old 06-01-09, 05:53 PM   #8
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While I understand the urge to ride this bike, get it evaluated by some of the experts in true vintage bikes. The very thin steel tubing used was a manufacturing technique that has been lost in time. Until you have had it evaluated, don't risk ruining it by using it. Which will mean more, I rode my great grandfather's bike for one summer, or to be able to show your kids that same bike? You have a gift there, your task is to be a good steward.
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Old 06-01-09, 10:55 PM   #9
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Oldest bike i've had in my possesion was a 1938 Gazelle. All that i have left now are the dunlop rims, but I really wish my boredom and the want to do something would not have ruined that bike. I would love to have the bike you do...and i would highly recommend leaving it origional, and/or having it done by a professional...Maybe do a metal plating on it; nickle or bronze would look cool. But really, that "patina" look isn't something you can replicate.

Please get more pics haha...
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Old 06-02-09, 01:03 AM   #10
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powdercoat a 80 year old frame? that's just jackass.
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Old 06-02-09, 06:32 AM   #11
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ok ok

ok ok, I called the powder shop and cancelled the order. Thanks for the quick intervention. I'll get the bike home, give it a good wipe down and reassemble it. Everything (except the finish) on the bike is in good shape... it's just dirty, as it sat in my dad's uncle's attic for the last 40 years. I will have to replace the cotter pins on the crank arms though. I'll post a few photos later.

Sean
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Old 06-02-09, 09:41 AM   #12
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can someone move this to C&V
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Old 06-02-09, 09:44 AM   #13
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I "reported" it to the mods...
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Old 06-02-09, 09:50 AM   #14
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He was asking about a concern with the brazing. I am not sure whether this would better go to framebuilders or C&V.
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Old 06-02-09, 10:00 AM   #15
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Fair point.

How are "ties" handled? I can see putting it in one and letting the OP link to it from the other ... or ... is that bad form?
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Old 06-02-09, 11:35 AM   #16
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pretty sure they used brass back then, it will never melt. The steel wouldn't be hurt by 400 degrees F either.
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Old 06-02-09, 12:31 PM   #17
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Regarding powder coat finishes, I always get my frames wet painted but a few months ago I got one powder coated and around the fork crown and dropouts it appeared that flux had come out of the breather holes. Has anyone experienced this? It created a flux-like crust on the paint which basically made it unsellable. Would the heat from the oven pull any excess flux out of these holes and what should be done?
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Old 06-02-09, 02:15 PM   #18
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It is 400 degreeish, so you could have some moist flux boil out, not sure about the chrystal stuff, but something happened. More washing next time.
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Old 06-02-09, 02:56 PM   #19
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I agree with the other guys on this one. Your bike is old enough that to preserve it in original condition. You want to "conserve" it not "refinish" or "restore" it.
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Old 06-02-09, 06:57 PM   #20
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Post to vintage bikes.

Consider selling it.
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Old 06-02-09, 08:09 PM   #21
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Hey fellas, I posted a few pics in C&V along with some specs. Thanks for the advice
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Old 06-03-09, 08:27 AM   #22
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This is common, and is not a problem with the powder, but with the fillets. Blow holes on the fillets indicate fairly large voids/flux inclusions in the fillets. Get better at fillets, and the problem will go away.


As far as this vintage bike, DO NOT DESTROY THR ORIGINAL FINISH! Between rubbing compounds, waxes, preservatives, and paint matching, and localized refinishing, you'll do the frame and your heritage justice. Until you get educated about dealing with vintage cycle finishes, just let it be.. it will be there waiting for you. Once it's gone, it's gone.
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