Saturday, June 29, 2013

Hercules Model G- All Black Handlebars

The 1935 Hercules 3 speed was an "all black" model. That is to say you could buy the bicycle with black handlebars and trim rather than plated. It's hard to imagine anyone wanting black paint over chrome plating today, but back then the black trim was quite common and some riders even preferred it. There was no "extra" cost for black trim instead of plated. It was probably a clever little marketing trick saying it that say because good plating generally is more costly to produce than plain black enamel.

The handlebars on this Model G were originall black, as proven by the area underneath where the grips were. They were, like the rest of the bike, painted in some sort of spray or house paint. I used Acetone and a green scouring pad to pull off the overpaint. This exposed the original paint, along with all the wear that was on it at the time it was painted over. The result looks pretty rough, but will actually clean up nicely.

In order to revive the original paint and fill in the very small scratches in the finish, I once again turned to the impregnated paint rag method. Briefly put, you take a lintless rag, and prime it with a little clean paint thinner. Then take your oil-based enamel and pour a little onto the spot where the thinner is. You may need to use a little extra thinner when getting started, so the rag does not stick. You keep mixing in thinner and paint until the rag is "impregnated" in the threads/pores with the thinned paint. Next, gently rub the rag on the surface of the work piece. If you've done it right, it will bring nice shine back to the original paint, while at the same time filling all those tough micro-scratches with paint. Make sure your paint matches when you do this, and the results will probably be quite nice.

Wait until it dries and cures. Then you can attack the larger wounds to the original paint. The rag rub will not address the large spots, but you can do that with some thinned paint and a brush, building up layers of paint until it's level with the rest. The handlebars are currently at the phase where I have done a layer of rag rub, but have not addressed the larger holes in the finish with the brush.

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