Saturday, October 26, 2013

1947 Schwinn DX and Cleaning Up Bicycle Fenders

I had two candidates for the multispeed cruiser project: the 1956 Schwinn Spitfire I earlier discussed, and a 1946 Schwinn DX balloon tire bicycle. After looking them both over, I've decided to keep the DX and sell the Spitfire. There's just something I like about the classic combination of balloon tires and the aesthetics of the old cruisers.

So here is the core of the DX. Part of it is still packed, but I will gradually unpack as I need more of it. For now, my task is to clean up the sheet metal, including banging it out and removing surface rust. This will serve as a prep for some pain touch up using the "impregnated rag and paint" method I've employer many times before.

 We start by removing the fender braces because they are particularly rusty and need a full soak in Oxalic Acid. We basically take a drill gun and a 5/32 bit, then drill out the centers of the rivets.

 The rivets are pretty soft. Just keep the drill straight and work slowly. You can choose to drill all the way through, or you can stop just short, and use pliers to crush the inside of the rivet, then press it through the fender hole. To the right, you can see a rivet where I used the second method: drill almost through, then crush with pliers and extract.
 Now that the braces and fenders are separated, they can go into the bath. The braces will spend a long time in the bath because the cad plating on them is gone and they are heavily rusted. The fender will be closely monitored to make sure the Oxalic Acid does not remove the pain. Check often and stay close by.

 Meanwhile, I have removed the tank from the frame. Like many bikes, the truss rods have bashed the sides of the tank, creating two oblong dents in the tank near the front louvers. You can see them to the right if you magnify the picture.

First, disassemble the tank, then remove the horn. Next, take a ball peen hammer and your choice of block or dolly. Carefully tap out the dents being careful not to go too far. The result is to the left. You can see the dents are gone. The remaining marks are paint defects from the truss strikes. I will take care of those with other paint work later.

 After that, the fenders were ready to come out of the bath. You can see they look a bit better. Give them a good rinse and wipe down to remove any remaining Oxalic formula. These fenders cleaned up moderately well, but still need some paint clean up, which will be taken care of later.

To the left you can really see the parts of the fenders sheltered from the elements. They appear much cleaner because they were not exposed. I will work later to blend the fenders together and make the  weathered parts better looking. The goal is to maintain a "vintage" or "relic" look, but make it more presentable, smooth, and rust resistant.

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