Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Stowaway - Stripping the frame

I spent some time at the weekend stripping the paint off this frame. It's a fairly simple task and is nice and easy with noisy power tools. This cheap angle grinder makes a serious racket, so its handy to wear a set of ear protectors as well as goggles. Some kind of eye protection if a must with things like this. Especially when the brush starts getting to the end of its useful life. You'll know when this is because it will start chucking bits of wire off every few seconds and do this to your hands:
Of course only morons carry on going when bits of hot sharp wire are cutting your hands....

If you want to strip some paint like this, then do not go to B&Q (the Halfrauds of diy)  because they charge £25 for the exact same cup brush that you can get on ebay for £2.50.
New set of spinny things

Here's the frame beforehand:

and a close up of the damaged headbadge and a bit of rust.

The Twenty and Stowaway do not have a standard style of headset. instead there is a large plastic bush at the top which allows the handlebar stem to be quick release adjustable. There is a wire inside of this attached to a bolt which prevents the stem from being pulled all the way out by accident. I didn't bother removing the bush, I was just careful not to ruin is when removing the paint in this area.
If you really wanted to go bonkers you can get the bare metal up to a brilliant shine, this is when you start wondering about a clear lacquer bike as used to be available from Brompton, but they seem to have stopped doing it for now.

The paint was already quite badly chipped and flaked. There was quite a contrast between the thickness of paint on this Raleigh frame and that on the Elswick Hopper Cosmopolitan. I'd guess that the Hopper's paint was at least twice as thick and as such took a bit more effort to remove than this paint did. When the paint is off you start to reveal some of the making of this bike, the odd splodge  & dribble of braze here and there. There was even a patch of braze on the top tube, presumably a slip up during manufacture that got filed back down flush (top left).

At the same time the various bits of chromework got a good cleanup and the pedals a service. I don't know if I'll keep the pedals, these old things weigh a ton, but theres no harm in servicing them anyway. Old pedals like this are pretty bullet proof. There isn't any bearings to wear out, they just have a solid axle straight through, so after a bit of a clean and a smear of grease they are back to their best.

After a couple of brew breaks to give your back a rest you end up with one complete Stowaway frame and mudgaurds minus horrible blue colour. I'm thinking of repainting it in solid black (black is cheap and I already have some) in the hope that it will come out looking something like this one.


  1. When it's finished, it will need a better lock!

  2. Different Bike ;-)... I haven't started on that one yet.

  3. I've just downloaded iStripper, and now I enjoy having the best virtual strippers on my desktop.