Well, I couldn’t help thinking about those drop handlebars, so I decided to have a go at restoring them. Yesterday I bought an adjustable kick stand as the bike didn’t have one. it looks too shiny, so I decided to tone it down a bit with shellac and twine, a process that I picked up on from reading “Lovely Bicycle” – ( see blogroll right ). I like the look, I’m not kidding myself that it has any practical function here, and this is the only place that I will use it on this bike except for shellacking the cork hand grips, as I think it can be easily overdone.
Shellac uses methylated spirit as a solvent and dries quickly, allowing for many re-coats, as it needs multiple coats to get enough density of colour. I first applied the double sided tape to hold the twine in place then wrapped the twine tightly and applied the shellac with a brush. It’s important to make sure the ends of the twine are in place firmly as they have a tendency to lift until a few coats have been applied. I keep coating until the colour looks right, sometimes adding some other shade of wood stain if it is too yellow.
I used the old handlebars to hold the grips while I coated them and then realised that I really liked the look of the old bars with cork grips. So, armed with flat and round metal files and coarse sandpaper I set about removing the heavy corrosion, then used steel wool to smooth the surface before applying rust converter. This works on rust, neutralising and blackening it, while slightly brightening non-rusted metal before forming a cloudy effect on it. The converter should be wiped off the non rust areas fairly quickly. When it dried I used steel wool again to polish, then coated the bars with clear epoxy.
Whether I use these original bars or not will now depend on how comfortable they are, and that will depend partly on how high I can raise them with the short quill stem. I can’t glue the grips until I know for sure – cork grips need adhesive to hold the bars without slipping :
I fitted the cloth rim tapes – one new and one reconditioned – as they were the original tape type – and then fitted the 28″ tubes and tyres – here they are with the kick stand after its multiple coatings of shellac :
King Parrots were feeding on the Cootamundra Wattle seeds and chatting as I worked today. Now, back to the paintwork….