Stripping At Thanksgiving


EDIT: Hey, Makeketeers, I just finished the bike this eve! Check out this post to see the final product!

Like a lot of Americans, I was with my family over the last weekend celebrating Thanksgiving. Unlike most Americans, I’d come not just to hang with family, but to get some workshop time. My dad’s shop is a wonderful thing and he’s got some tools that I just can’t approximate. I’ve been working on a bike for a while now, but I wanted a hood to paint in because the weather’s gotten foul, and then there were a couple of parts that needed more force than I’m able to generate with the tools I’ve got. So I brought it along! I also had a homemade bike stand I’d made out of steel pipe and a clamp that needed delrin jaws and Dad had offered some stock and the use of his milling machine to make them. I could have made them with a band saw and drill press, but I lack a band saw and he had them already cut for another purpose.


The clamp clamping while the stand stands

So I got to work on the bike itself. I had to strip the paint, first using methylene chloride (nassty chemilcalses that it is), then switching to other stuff because I kept getting distracted and the stuff dried up before I could get all the paint off properly.


An out-of-focus picture of the methylene chloride attacking the enamel.


It took the ink right off the decals, but unfortunately left the decal substrate there. Invisibly. That had me stumped for a while.


This took me all afternoon, half a can of methylene chloride, and a surprisingly small amount of MEK. I don’t know if the MEK (methyl ethyl ketone) would have worked first. The stuff sure seems less nasty than the methlylene chloride, though. And as far as I know, it doesn’t REDUCE THE BLOOD’S OXYGEN CARRYING CAPACITY.

In any event, there was a fair amount of scraping and even some sanding at the end. Had I been on the ball a little more and gotten to use the methylene chloride at a stretch instead of having to run off and do family stuff, all the paint would have just flopped off.


That orange is an undercoat for masking purposes. The seat tube was an aborted idea.


The top tube masked with electrical tape. See where that tape overlaps? That’s a little problem. Thinner tape cut at the edge would have been a good idea. No big deal, fortunately.


… then I painted the whole thing “Machine Grey”. I really like this color.


Then I removed the mask. Rock. Yeah, I painted a lot of orange, then wanted just a little. I tried a bunch of patterns before I came up with this one.


See? Kinda neat. The light was low, but the camera did an admirable job.


So I threw together a bunch of the parts, and it starts to look like a bike! These are the wheels I built in a previous post, as well. Most of the parts, including the frame (from a Trek 7300) were from various folks on Ebay. As always, caveat emptor: the bottom bracked turns out to be cross-threaded, so I have to have it retapped tomorrow at Full Circle.

I think the cranks are gonna come off the Iron Monkey, which will then get my brother’s old cranks and chainwheel. I want the 53:12 ratio! I wanna haul ass! The Iron Monkey will probably be mostly ridden by guests (once I fix it up with a new rear wheel) who probably won’t appreciate a gear you can only be in for 5 minutes of the ride anyway.

And that brings me to a serious question: what should I name this bike? I called it Mithrandir over on Velospace for need of a name on the spot, but it doesn’t make me happy. Too nerdly. I’m happy to take recommendations, even ridiculous ones that I’ll reject out of hand because they’ll make me laugh.

18 thoughts on “Stripping At Thanksgiving”

    1. See, the thing is, they’d be My Yellow Bike, My Black Bike, My Shiny Bike, and My Grey Bike.

      That’s pretty weak.

      So they’re Yellowjacket, Blackbird, Iron Monkey, and …. something else! Ideally an animal.

  1. Pingback: Bike stripping
    1. That’s not bad, but that seems more right for a cushy roadster. I mean, geese fly, which is good, but they’re fat.

      I think Philip’s got it above.

        1. It’s got a freewheel with eight in the back, none up front. I just took it for its first spin! I’ll have new pics just as soon as there’s daylight again!

  2. Hey Joshua,

    Up here in Wisconsin the squirrels are Grey. Although you seem to want a larger animal…. Wolves come in Grey.

    Anyway, I’ve really enjoyed reading about this Bike’s construction. I’ve never owned a car, so even as a big fat guy I still ride my bike to get most anywhere, but other than flat tires, and broken spokes I’ve never done any repairs. These posts have almost put me over the edge.

    1. Hey, Clyde!

      You’re a big ball of muscle. I don’t know what you’re talking about.

      The easiest way to get into bike building is by swapping out parts. A bike should fit like a pair of pants, if not a glove, so if there’s something you don’t like, change it! Sometimes it’s easy to change the performance of your bike (change the tires! 10 minutes and $30 to an awesomer bike!), sometimes it’s subtle (a shorter stem puts less pressure on my groin! Huh!).

      Sooner or later, you’ll discover that only the frame remains, and you wish it were a different height…

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