"...and I make Westerns" buildoff 8 '37WFlyer

Discussion in 'BUILD OFF 8 - TRADITIONAL BIKES' started by kentercanyon, May 7, 2013.

  1. kentercanyon

    kentercanyon

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    [​IMG]

    So last weekend I went to a swap meet in San Antonio and picked up a DANA 3 speed planetary gear gizmo. I'll play with it, but not sure if I'll keep it or not. It's missing the original off side crank, but I think I can find some cottered cranks to fit it.

    If I were to keep it I'd definitely go the route of adapting a stick-shift to it, and probably put it on a 20 inch stingray lowrider - they are impossible to ride anyway so why not complicate it more? lol

    I'm guessing they are not the most efficient way to pedal a bike... but it's a cool piece of 70s history and definitely a hot rod component of sorts.
     
  2. kentercanyon

    kentercanyon

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    Here some more work on the 37-39' WF... the stem was rusted solid into the fork, and after days of soaking and heating and beating I finally grabbed the hacksaw. Then when I'd whacked it off, I stupidly tried to drive the stem bolt down to loosen it and only succeeded in making it too low to grab onto.

    What to do?

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    I decided to drill out the underside of this forged bladed style fork and drive it upwards from below.

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    Not sure if I've compromised the fork fatally or not. When I'm done I think I'll thread the hole and put a bolt in there just so it's solid again. The area where I drilled the hole was quite thick, these forged forks are solid as all get-out.

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    Here are the stem guts below. I'd not seen that arrangement before. Things were different before the big war I guess.

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  3. kentercanyon

    kentercanyon

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    Life got busy for me and I wasn't able to finish this bike in time for the deadline for build-off eight, but I wanted to post some progress pictures now that the bike is 96% done. It was a very rewarding experience and I like the bike a whole lot. For anyone who is considering a project and needs encouragement, I'd say to them that there's little to lose and a lot to gain. Bikes want to GO again and it's seldom too late to bring a classic back to life.

    This is about late July I think. The bike is almost done now but I'm posting pics more or less in chronological order.


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    Here we see a "dry fit" after the frame was prepped and primed. If I were to do this again I'd add a little bondo work where some joints showed imperfect welds that left a slight gap and possibly smooth out some small dents in the rear stays. The fork is stripped but not primed yet. It's forged and had a great patina to it once all the rust was sanded off that some friends suggested I clearcoat, but that's not the direction I'm going with this build although I may do it in the future if I get a similar fork.
     
  4. kentercanyon

    kentercanyon

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    Here's the seat "before" shot. Pretty crusty but there's some solid metal down there somewhere. I used a cup brush drill attachment and it cleaned up pretty fast to a state that looks interesting to me.

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    I didn't bother to disassemble this one. I have another in better shape form the 1942 donor girls bike that I may try to rehab all the way as it has two seat pans and so can be more easily recovered. Look for a build on that eventually.

    This seat is BIG and that's what I like about it. It's going to have a stem that will compliment it in the "patina" department.
     
  5. kingfish254

    kingfish254 CHECK OUT MY SALE THREAD FOR COOL STUFF! Pro Member

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    Frame and seat are looking good!
    Glad to see you are continuing with it.
     
  6. kentercanyon

    kentercanyon

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    A tale of two chains... the Western flyer (original) skiptooth chain was pretty crusty. I'm using the one from the 1942 girls "donor bike" as the main component but will need to borrow a few more links from the original to make up a slightly longer chain. The '42 has a master link already, which helps.

    For the uninitiated, "skiptooth" chain has short and long lengths unlike modern chain and they are expensive to replace. I'm going to use what I found because I like the aesthetic of making do with what you find and keeping as original as you can in many ways just so nothing gets wasted.

    You can see here that I was able to work the '42 into a fully flexible chain by the recommended method - cooking outdoors on a hot plate in some heavy gear oil at a low temp - less than 200 degrees - for a few hours so the metal expands and the oil can get into every where.

    The real trick is going to be if this same method works on the super-crusty original chain well enough to rehabilitate a short section. As shown below, the original chain barely flexes at all. This is as much as I can move it as found.

    What you see here is the difference between a bike that was in a garage and a bike that was out in the elements of Texas for years. The garaged bike chain is almost new in comparison, even thought the paint job on the frame of the bike kept under a roof is seemingly more similar to the one left outside. Different components break down at different rates. Chains don't like to be mistreated!

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    Here is a close up. As you can see the '42 is far from perfect but it's able to flex again with about 15-20 minutes of manipulation by hand to break free all the sticky spots. The crusty one will be a different story. After I flexed it around a bit it got another bath in hot oil for good measure, and as thorough a cleaning as I could give it with a wire brush.

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    The original chain will get the cup brush power drill treatment and an overnight hot oil bath. Again, not too hot so the oil doesn't burn off or the metal take too much stress. You just want to get the oil everywhere it can go. I'll probably brush naval jelly on the crusty one as well. The goal is only to salvage a few inches of the best links to add to the '42 chain as needed for length.

    We shall see if the adage is true that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. I'm sure if this chain ever fails it will be on the oldest section.
     
  7. kentercanyon

    kentercanyon

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    Thanks. It's almost done now, but I'm trying to catch up with the blogging. Build-off 8 was a great incentive to keep going and I'm grateful to everyone who participated or commented in general as there is pretty much no locals who "savvy" this sort of endeavor at the ugly stages. I'll get plenty of random compliments and queries eventually when I ride the finished bike but few who see my "basket case" have the experience or knowledge to appreciate what's going on as I drag this in and out of community workshops whenever I need specialized tools to continue work.

    I'm a little sad to miss the BO8 deadline but better late than never. This bike had what seemed to be the original tires on it and so I'm guessing that it sat for at least 40 years unused, and possibly a majority of that out of doors. What's a few extra weeks or even months when you look at it that way?
     
  8. kentercanyon

    kentercanyon

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    Here's the next step - the "After" photo of the seat. This has a "Lucky seven" style solid seat post and so I'll be mounting it reversed for that low slung look.

    This will need naval jelly and a clearcoat before I declare it is "done," and then I'm gonna have to decide if I really like it or not. I think I do... a lot. It's not uncomfortable to sit on and it looks cool to me...

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  9. kentercanyon

    kentercanyon

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    Here's an even more ungainly "dry fit" photo. Unless you know what you are looking for here, this can look like a pile of space junk!

    But I can start to see the finished project already when it's at this stage. A bike is a set of components to be sure, but first it's a set of LINES.

    The bars are modern, and swiped off some abandoned chinese junk "cruiser" bicycle. I may swap them eventually for some Wald ones but I think the curves in the bars actually compliment the sweep of the rear seat stays. I like big bars in general, and I like the price, too - free. As I mentioned a long time ago, when I started building up these old bikes ages ago my gang and I had an unwritten rule that if you spent more than nine dollars on a bike, that was too much money! I can't stick to the figure but I can ceratinly stick to the aesthetic. To me one of the best things about a bike, any bike, is that it can give you so much pleasure and so many good times for so little money. I tend to look at the fun as proportional to the dough.... the less I shell out the more fun I get out of a project.

    I spent more on spray paint I think than I have on most of the components here, with the exception of the rims and spokes. The real investment should be the time and labor you put in.

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  10. kentercanyon

    kentercanyon

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    powder coat vs rattle can debate

    Here's the obligatory photo of the paint job, but pictures never do this step justice.

    I think maybe I'm approaching my 5th or 6th time painting a frame (in the internet era with online advice and tips) with a rattle can or spray rig, and reaching the part of the learning curve where I can see it won't get much better than this. There are a few tricks like putting the can into a bucket of warm water to get the pain to come out thin, but I'd say the main trick is to hone your technique with applying the paint as well as you can to get a good result.

    This paint job was clean and primed and applied with several coats sanding between each application with wet-dry paper. I managed to avoid the common problems like orange peel and drips by making sure each coat was thin and light and had time to dry well before re-application. Being in a hurry is the recipe for a poor job. That's not to say that this would win awards but I'm satisfied with how it came out. To improve on this look one needs to go ahead and pay for a powder-coat I think. In the end what I spent on primer, paint and clearcoat might have been better applied to a powder coat job by a local shop but I haven't priced one locally.

    I'd still like to learn how to two-tone, or pay for a pinstriper to go at it eventually but for now it's gloss black with some clearcoat on top.

    On a whim I decided to give it a coat of wax, too and I'm not sure I would do that again or not. Any opinions? A commercial clearcoat may have been enough, I don't know. I buffed the wax with a hand drill and a buffing attachment but it didn't shine up as well as I'd hoped, and the wax seems to show off some defects, too.

    This part was definitely a learning experience and one I'm anxious to explore other options with. I don't know enough to have a strong opinion about all this on, yet. I do know that after five or six frames painted I'm not going to get much better at this. You can see how people would specialize at this job, and why it can pay to see a specialist.

    I'm happy enough with the look I achieved but keep in mind I'm deliberately hewing to a low-budget approach with this project.

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  11. kentercanyon

    kentercanyon

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    Here is the mighty Morrow coaster brake being dry-fit into place to measure for chain length etc. The white specks in the paint are a combination of wax that isn't buffed out gathering in the pits of the metal and the artifacts of flash photography in a room lit with flourecent lights. It doesn't actually look this bad in real life, but if I did this again - or next time - I might have done some bondo work on the frame and I don't know if I like the wax or not.

    What I do like is the Morrow coaster. It's beefy as heck and a handsome component. Even the axel nut has some style to it, unlike what you find these days. My brother reminded me the other day that Schwinn always made their own screws, nut and fasteners and that's one reason you knew they were great bikes in their day - that attention to detail and the decision to keep things in-house for purposes of control. There is something to be said for hiring out work to experts but there is also a good argument to always DIY.

    The hardware on cheap and even expensive bikes today is so generic and often downright shoddy. It's a disgrace, in my opinion how little choice there is as well when one goes out to look for nuts and bolts anymore. You find the same crap at every store.

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    I made the decision to paint the axle adjusters in place so as to not mess up the threads on the frame where the little bolts fit. Of course the paint comes off as I put them into proper adjustment but I am happy with the look. The adjusters were from the donor bike and were never going to be shiny as bare metal, and this way the paint will protect them somewhat. Opinions are welcomed as to what others do in cases like this.
     
  12. kentercanyon

    kentercanyon

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    Here is the stem / neck I found to "match " the seat. It's quite distressed as you can see. (I hope it doesn't kill me, but I trust in it more than i would a modern chinese stem.)

    It has the pre-war design of a circular wedge-piece that mates with the lowest part of the stem that is blunt, not a diagonal. See the old "stem guts" photo above for an example. This made it a little difficult to install at first until I realized the circular wedge has a groove in it that aligns in a slot so it doesn't spin when you tighten it.

    The maker is unknown to me.

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  13. kentercanyon

    kentercanyon

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    Oh so close to finishing here...

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  14. kentercanyon

    kentercanyon

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    Someone asked me about the chain guard and I went back to the advertisement to see what it might have looked like, and noticed it never had one!

    This made me curious about the evolution of the chain guard and what bikes from the pre-war era had then and which ones did not...

    Anyone know? Who introduced the chain guard and when did it become prevalent and when has it gone in and out of fashion?
     
  15. kentercanyon

    kentercanyon

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    Almost done here but the devil is in the details. Reproduction art deco / bullet black grips look good. Piecing together the skiptooth chain was a delicate operation - modern chain-breaking tools don't fit, so I had to get medieval on it with hammer and tongs and such. Cheap whitewalls appropriated from an abandoned bike suffice for now. I'd like to get some creme brick pattern solid color tires possibly, but this B+W / silver/rust look is growing on me. Need to find the right brake lever and finish hooking up the front drum brake, and I've got some okay-enough Torrington pedals to put on the cranks standing by. Looking still for the right headlight. Badge needs to go back on. Rear coaster needs to be grease-packed. Neck needs a replacement cinching bolt for the bars, or else it needs to be filed some so a wrench won't slip. Mounting the '42 license plate will be the last thing.

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  16. kentercanyon

    kentercanyon

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    [​IMG]

    Here is a beauty image of the mighty Morrow coaster.

    Someone posted some great coaster brake brochures on flickr. Look here for the whole set which includes Bendix parts lists as well.

    http://www.flickr.com/people/zazdatabaz/]Zaz Databaz
     
  17. kentercanyon

    kentercanyon

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    Had to drill out the cinch bolt on that neck... the head was so rounded off I could never get it to move after tightening it as much as I could. I tried filing the head to accept a crescent wrench but that wasn't any good. IN the end it had to go the hard way.

    Drilled it, tapped it, stuck in a bolt from a 1960's schwinn neck. problem solved, 3 hours later. What we fools do to preserve some patina'd part... Still, it's forged and a lot nicer than the wald necks I had waiting for backup until something better could be found. GLad I didn't have to resort to that. Wald stuff has it's place but not on this bike! Trying to preserve a certain aesthetic here....

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  18. LukeTheJoker

    LukeTheJoker Moderator

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    Ah yes, but in some ways that is the joy of building these bikes too is it not? Now every time you ride it, you will see that stem and be able to think "I fixed that, I saved it from going to waste!" :D Awesome feeling!

    Luke.
     
  19. kentercanyon

    kentercanyon

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    This lovely ladies western flyer is going to donate it's truss rods to the '37 bike. It needs some convincing first, however.

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  20. jats

    jats

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    love this build!! your right about the patina save!! good luck with the truss rods :shock: that last pic. looks a little scary!!

    Troy
     

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