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Thanks Pat, but I ended up going dow the Copperiplating route:
Down to the bare bones:
A fair bit of badly pitted chrome in need of stripping:
And this is the "frame kit":
Yep, those are wooden dowels, and actually look like they might have once been a broom handle... because that's what you need inside the frame of a bike, a nice wooden sponge that'll soak up all the water and let it sit there and rust from the inside out...
And this is the sleeve that does the actual work, runs at 1.2mm wall thickness:
So the question is, do we think the sleeve is strong enough for the job, or do I need to look at fixing/replacing the frame kit in some way (which I'm tempted to do anyway as it looks really badly done)?
I'd say go with your gut and "fix" the frame kit. Just like we all say to not muck about with the brakes, the frame is one of those things to muck with either. Also, that tail light came out very nicely, glad you were able to clean up the other persons attempt at brazing. Looks great so far!
Definitely don't skimp on fixing the frame. Remember, this is 35 year old technology, Hillsy's pic resembles something you should think about in order to fix it properly; other than having a professional weld up the frame correctly to make it strong and like new again.
That or just buy another frame, it's not like their rare or anything.
Not a fan of steampunk, but man I'm loving watching the creativity of the build unfold, especially all the tiny details you're putting into it and that's what this site is all about. Can't wait for more!
Got most of the paint off today, found a few little surprises...
It was just all bogged up with filler, without all of the rust taken out first by the looks of the state it was in.
And I've also been playing with what I want to with the frame. I was intending to go raw steel, but after a bit of playing around, I'm now thinking gun-bluing the whole thing could be cool, then hit it with some Gibbs Brand penetrant, so darkening it up a bit, but keeping the raw steel feel. Did a bit of a test tonight:
Hard to get the effect across in pictures, but I think it looks great. Dead easy, and adds another layer of rust protection but keeps the raw metal vibe I want to go with.
I just got a little bottle of Birchwood-Casey Super Blue from my Father-in-law to have a play with. Looks pretty damn good. I don't think anyone would have a tank big enough to hot-blue the whole frame...
I'm hoping the Gibbs Penetrant stuff will take care of the real long-term protection, the bluing is mostly for the look, and a little extra help, but I'll have to do a few tests when I get a bottle of the stuff. Will be interesting to see how it holds up.
Funny you should mention that, I did have the idea of actually hand painting some intricate design all over the frame... still might happen given these results after a day sitting in a bucket with a salt-water solution sprayed on it:
I thought it might help a little, not hinder! Got some Gibbs Penetrant on order now, so we'll see what that does for it...
You also might want to look at Birchwwod-Casey's "Plum Brown" - I did some faux case-hardening using that and some Benzion tincture solution; used a map-gas/oxy micro torch to "cure and pattern" - makes some pretty cool "patina"
gives a finish very similar in appearance to this:
The bezels will be brass-plated and the wooden parts will be super-gloss coated (think classic wooden boat style). The wooden gauge backs were hand-turned by a wood-working friend of mine out of Tasmanian Blackwood laminated with Huon Pine, and I think they are just awesome, very beautifully made. I was super-stoked when he showed them to me.