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Dropout face protection

Old 08-28-23, 01:08 PM
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Dropout face protection

(I'm unaware of a frame painters forum. This seems to be the most likely place to get good answers to paint/finish questions.)

I'm thinking hard about getting my Serotta frame repainted (early production, Ben Serotta-built). It came to me with a crappy, non-original repaint. I'd like to fix that. Fortunately, the steerer tube still has the original color.

I hate what quick releases do to painted dropouts. BITD, chrome was common. This is my Griffon:



Modern steel frames might get stainless steel dropouts. This is my Monti Special while in-process (before polishing):



For hopefully obvious reasons, chrome and stainless steel are unlikely candidates for the Serotta. Is there some sorta environmentally friendly treatment ones can apply during the refinishing process? Will bare faces hold up in dry weather and storage? The bike is unlikely to ever be ridden in inclement weather.
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Old 08-28-23, 02:44 PM
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I would not chrome the dropouts. I dislike the added thickness of a SS plate sandwiching the OEM steel faces. I have seen drop out faces with just the primer and when fresh this looks neat. But like the color coat, the primer will just be scraped off. I've also seen the faces left bare and that can also look cool.

The drop outs are pretty thick and even a serious surface rusting won't effect their safety, maybe have the adjuster screws freeze in place though. I would not be concerned about minor surface rust but I do suggest pulling any dropout adjusting screws and clean/chase the drop out threads and lube those threads after the paint job is done.

BTW does your Serotta have a pump peg made from a nail? I've seen a couple early ones that did Andy
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Old 08-28-23, 02:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Andrew R Stewart
BTW does your Serotta have a pump peg made from a nail? I've seen a couple early ones that did Andy
Nope. Serial number BS249, if that helps you place it in a mental timeline. Pix here: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmNGcmr9
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Old 08-28-23, 03:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Andrew R Stewart
I would not chrome the dropouts. I dislike the added thickness of a SS plate sandwiching the OEM steel faces.
Yeah, I wasn't thinking of adding anything to the existing faces. I was thinking that someone with an already hot torch and a frame which needed some other repair, might consider replacement. Not going there. Chrome has obvious environmental issues. I have a contact in Mexico who can almost certainly get them plated, but that just moves the environmental degradation off-shore.

Originally Posted by Andrew R Stewart
I have seen drop out faces with just the primer and when fresh this looks neat. But like the color coat, the primer will just be scraped off. I've also seen the faces left bare and that can also look cool.
I was hoping maybe there was some less environmentally unfriendly plating process (nickel? cadmium? black oxide? something else?) that would look decent and stand up to qr pressure.

I guess plain steel it is...

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Old 08-28-23, 07:25 PM
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There is a brush-plating process I've heard of but never looked into seriously. I think Caswell is one brand that gets mentioned. Supposed to be less investment than getting into proper dip-tank type plating.
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Old 08-28-23, 09:09 PM
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My Mooney has had three coats of paint. All three have warn off the dropout faces and the bike has been ridden thousands of miles after the wearing off on all three coats. (Coat #1 poorly done. I won't mention the painter's name. Everybody knows him. #2 at year 5 and about 8,000 miles. (Ed Litton, held up very well through a few wars, 40,000 miles and 38 years.) #3 last summer. Dropout paint is already suffering.

I simply don't sweat it. I highly doubt dropout rust is going to be a deciding factor in the life of this bike even if it becomes bike #1 for a young man after I go and he, like me, becomes wedded to it.
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Old 08-31-23, 06:04 PM
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I prime my frames then apply a 3/4’ peel-and-stick Avery round sticker over the dropout faces, inside and outside, then paint and clearcoat. My experience has been that the primer breaks down very little under the quick-release and lasts well, much better than a fully painted dropout face would appear with use. The 3/4” sticker is very close to the size of the quick-release’s face and the hub locknuts.

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Old 09-02-23, 04:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Mark Beaver
My experience has been that the primer breaks down very little under the quick-release and lasts well...
Thanks, Mark. With vertical dropouts I think the problem is much less, as the wheel has no chance to move around. My Serotta is from the late 70s, so has Campy horizontal dropouts. I suspect no matter how snug the quick releases are, there's always going to be some chance for slippage. When I bought the frame the dropouts looked like this:



It almost looks like the person who painted it (not the guy I bought it from) built it up while the paint was still wet, realized his mistake, then hung the frame up and never touched it again.
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Old 09-02-23, 07:41 AM
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I don't worry about the paint on vertical dropouts. I usually get stainless dropouts so they don't rust when the paint gets displaced.
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Old 09-02-23, 09:28 AM
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I've seen this paint deforming many times. The paint was likely "dry" to the touch but obviously still impressionable. Too little curing time for the temp it was at during the "drying".

"Classic" QR skewers were developed with enough clamping forces to keep axle in place long before the current vertical drop out craze took over. In fact, IMO, it was the over whelming acceptance and employment of the rear vertical drop out that allowed for the QR skewer to be redesigned with a lower clamping ability but cost less and weigh less. Andy
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Old 09-02-23, 10:17 AM
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Question - why don't painters just mask off the dropout faces? Leave them bare steel. User rubs a little grease over the faces. Done. Easy, The only time it looks worse than not masking it is the few weeks before the bike's been ridden much.
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Old 09-02-23, 12:02 PM
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney
User rubs a little grease ...
And therein lies the rub. A little grease just makes the interface between dropout and qr a bit more slippery.

Given the discussion up to this point, I'm leaning towards leaving the faces unsullied (though not like in GoT) and deal with any rust gremlins which arise.
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Old 09-02-23, 01:48 PM
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney
Question - why don't painters just mask off the dropout faces? Leave them bare steel. User rubs a little grease over the faces. Done. Easy, The only time it looks worse than not masking it is the few weeks before the bike's been ridden much.
The judgements a painter goes through as they do the job are varied. But one underlying aspect is to have the customer like what they pay for. The added cost to mask (and remove after the clear coat) the faces just to need more than usual attention is not a choice most customers pick. If this were a concern for the customer they need to discuss this with the painter before any work starts, as it's not what most painters will do as their norm.

Painters have an odd position in the framebuilding world. They often make the builder's work look better than it really is (been there and had that done to my frames...) yet get so little credit for their skills. The question of whether a painter should sign his work or not is still not widely agreed on. Andy (who wishes everyone would sign off on their work and use their real name)
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Old 09-02-23, 05:59 PM
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For vertical dropouts, you can braze a stainless washer to the dropout face and cut a slot for the axle:

For horizontal dropouts, I suspect you'd have to fabricate something from thin stainless plate.
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Old 09-04-23, 08:10 AM
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John- Those Campy verticals were much thinner than the more common 1010s/1010Bs are. So adding the washer brough the thickness up close to what the usual horizontals had. BTW the couple I did this way I placed the washers on the inside faces, thinking it would help the chain and end of stays clearances.

Nicely done second eye... Andy
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Old 09-12-23, 11:19 AM
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney
Question - why don't painters just mask off the dropout faces? Leave them bare steel. User rubs a little grease over the faces. Done. Easy, The only time it looks worse than not masking it is the few weeks before the bike's been ridden much.
This is exactly what I had my painter do both on my Tesch and Zullo when they were both painted.

On the bare steel, I just applied a coating light oil and have not had any rust development. So far, it still looks the same.


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Old 09-12-23, 02:54 PM
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Tesch dropouts, from Davidson

Originally Posted by BMC_Kid
Wow (changing the subject), I guess I never looked close at an S-22 before. Those are some big diameter stays.
The dropouts are Davidson (Takahashi) socketed. The stays are meant to go inside the sockets, which end in a sort of lug shoreline. The Tesch stays have to be very much larger to go over those lugs instead of inside.
Dave liked 'em stiff!

Strange dropouts, horizontal-ish but with almost no adjustment range. Investment cast, with a separate part for the seatstay socket that could be adjusted for different frame sizes. A bit heavy but very stiff and strong. I used them on a lot of tandems and MTBs, no one ever broke one. Even on tandems, I put the stays inside the sockets. The Tesch way is Over The Top, figuratively and literally.

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Old 09-12-23, 03:14 PM
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Originally Posted by bulgie
Wow (changing the subject), I guess I never looked close at an S-22 before. Those are some big diameter stays.
Yeah, I've never seen one up close, but my recollection from comments on CR is that they were pretty stiff frames. Made for criteriums?

Back to my original subject, it sounds like I should be able to get away with leaving the faces unpainted. They might need an occasional rub with oil or dusting of Barkeeper's Friend or Evapo-Rust. It's not like I'll be riding the Serotta through an Illinois winter or splashing around in puddles. I have other bikes for that purpose.
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Old 09-12-23, 09:48 PM
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Originally Posted by bulgie
Wow (changing the subject), I guess I never looked close at an S-22 before. Those are some big diameter stays.
The dropouts are Davidson (Takahashi) socketed. The stays are meant to go inside the sockets, which end in a sort of lug shoreline. The Tesch stays have to be very much larger to go over those lugs instead of inside.
Dave liked 'em stiff!

Strange dropouts, horizontal-ish but with almost no adjustment range. Investment cast, with a separate part for the seatstay socket that could be adjusted for different frame sizes. A bit heavy but very stiff and strong. I used them on a lot of tandems and MTBs, no one ever broke one. Even on tandems, I put the stays inside the sockets. The Tesch way is Over The Top, figuratively and literally.

Mark B
Yes, the rear is beefy and stiff for a frame from that era.



These frames were designed for crit racing and BITD I remember a couple of wrecked frames hanging in the back of the shop I spent a lot of time in. I know that Dave didn’t make a lot of these frames but I have a feeling that quite a few were taken out of service due to racing. Mine when I found it, had a lot of wear and tear but luckily no frame damage. It is my go to bike for fast rides around the city in the early morning when nobody’s out and it does not disappoint.
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Old 10-08-23, 11:32 PM
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Originally Posted by BMC_Kid
Yes, the rear is beefy and stiff for a frame from that era.



These frames were designed for crit racing and BITD I remember a couple of wrecked frames hanging in the back of the shop I spent a lot of time in. I know that Dave didn’t make a lot of these frames but I have a feeling that quite a few were taken out of service due to racing. Mine when I found it, had a lot of wear and tear but luckily no frame damage. It is my go to bike for fast rides around the city in the early morning when nobody’s out and it does not disappoint.
I own one also, tree trunks for chain stays, tapered down and seat tube where the tube fit over the socketed bottom bracket shell. Mine does not have 130mm spacing, that would be a determined effort to spread.
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