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Category: rust removal

Stanley, the BlackHAWK mystery bike

Stanley, the BlackHAWK mystery bike

Look what $10 can buy you off Kijiji!

Before Cleaning or really doing much more than ogling!

unmarked coaster brake
headbadge decal: BlackHAWK, Made In Canada, MW
(not to be confused with the UK’s Blackhawk Bikes, formed in 2006)
(top before lemon juice, bottom after!)
front forks, similar but not identical to CCM Galaxie
gorgeous flower chainwheel with five-point symmetry, 
after removing rust from cottered cranks and chainwheel

tires: SUPER-LASTIC 26 x 1 1/2
wheel rims:

Both pretty rusty, but at least they’re the same right?
(V160 – Made In Canada – 26 x 1 1/2 F12)
mysterious D mark on underside of bottom bracket
(the left and right rear forks were also marked L and R, respectively)
serial number stamped onto seatpost (does not match CCM’s format)
crappy rusted-out vinyl-covered seat
gorgeous glass reflector with metal casing – possibly older, and certainly rustier, than the bike

handlebars, before and after cleaning with lemon juice and aluminum foil, 
and RustCure and extrafine steel wool (which was handy for getting into crevices this time)
We discovered while removing the rust that the paint on frame is very easily rubbed right off… like, there’s just one thin coat of it… so this bike is a great candidate for repainting the frame and possibly also the wheels.
And here it is after a few hours of talk, boys playing and chit chat – with some cleaning in there. I cannot wait to attack the rims with lemon juice this weekend!!

We both took it for a spin around my garage but I’ll be honest, 26″ wheels? Maybe in some strange “just kidding” world? I rode it right after picking it up and thought to myself, “Wow, this is tiny!” So when doing a quick measure at home I assumed it had 24″ wheels. The handle bars add to the smallness factor, they’re obviously tilted WAY downwards (enough to hit our knees when pedalling!). Hopefully learning to fix them and a new saddle will fix all these problems?

Other things:

Pretty sure that the bottom bracket will need repacking…it feels..I’d say grainy? Not incredibly noticeable but there enough so I know it’s not 100% good and clean. Hopefully nothing as disturbing as Bert’s Problems  but hey, if it is, we’ll be sure to get photographic evidence of the beeswax and other disturbances!!

The amount of rust everywhere is disturbing, but aside from the bit at the top of the front forks I think most of it is surface enough to not cause mass panic. Of course this could prove to be a big error on our parts but….all part of the learning process!

Edit by Deborah:

About the name: the Chicago Blackhawks just won the Stanley Cup, and we are hockey-crazy Canadians. (Screw you Pronger!)

Also, there is no information anywhere online about the BlackHAWK marque. We’re guessing that this is a cheapo department-store brand, and that’s why it hasn’t been documented. Based on the fork similarity to the Galaxie we think Stanley might be from the 60s or 70s, but honestly we have no clue. If anyone knows anything at all, please share it in the comments.

Rust removal on the CCM Galaxie

Rust removal on the CCM Galaxie

Kitchen chemistry is intrinsically cool. We have demonstrated it previously, with lots of thanks to the awesome Green Cleaning post from Riding Pretty for giving us the idea. However, today was a beautiful spring day, and Angel’s CCM Galaxie needed some love, so we pulled out the lemon juice and aluminum foil again.

Before we started.

The underside of the grips, where sun and use have had no chance to turn them black and grungy.

Uh-oh, is that the dreaded Shimano 333 hub?

Hm. Actually, it’s a Shimano 333 coaster brake, not the 333 3-speed hub that Sheldon Brown warns can fail catastrophically. The guys over at the Old Roads forum say that the 333 designation was used on a number of pre-1975 Shimano parts – so maybe the coaster brake will work okay?

The original tires are rock-hard and have deep fissures, so they will definitely need to be replaced. But for the record, the originals are Canadian-made Nylon 26 x 1 3/8 Clipper tires marked for EA3 rims:

The rims are unmarked except for this:

Just in case you needed evidence that rusty chrome plus lemon juice plus aluminum foil plus a little elbow grease magically equals shiny fabulous chrome:

This especially rusty area on the front fender was what we tried first, to compare methods. RustCure and extra-fine steel wool was working okay, but couldn’t get everything; aluminum foil and lemon juice worked like magic. (Angel, is there anything you’d like to add, since you worked on this section?) That remaining spot you can see along the edge is bare steel under the chrome plating.

To our amazement, the foil-and-lemon-juice method even removed the discolouration on the white painted decal – without scratching up the decal (I rubbed VERY gently). The chainguard now looks practically new.

Lycett sprung saddle makeover, part 1

Lycett sprung saddle makeover, part 1

I picked up this Lycett saddle on eBay for US$3 and shipping, originally intending to take it apart and switch out the springs in my original saddle.

From the Flikr Lycett Saddles group page:

The Lycett Saddle Company was founded in the early 20th century when Edward Lycett was granted a patent for a saddle spring making machine in 1908 and started producing saddles at his factory at 164 Deritend, Birmingham – at the southern edge of the city centre. The company was taken over by Brooks in the 1920s who went on to produce cheaper versions of their Brooks saddles under the Lycett brand.

So, this is a Brooks-made seat, appropriate for a Raleigh-made bicycle, with two-toned vinyl in the same style as the one I need to fix, so of the appropriate period (If anyone knows when Brooks stopped making Lycett-branded saddles, please speak up and let me know!). What I didn’t realize when I bought it was that the photos show rusty springs and horsehair, not a rusted-out metal seat bottom. This means this is actually a better-quality seat than the solid-metal-pan one I’m trying to repair. Here are the before photos, screen-captured from the listing on eBay:


Makeover Step One: I opened the rusty clips holding the vinyl-and-horsehair cover in place (easy peasy – I just bent them with a screwdriver) and removed the damaged upholstery. (It stank, too. Ew.) This has been set aside for use in Step Four.

Makeover Step Two: Next I cleaned the seat’s bones as best I could. First, I sprayed the seat with a liberal application of Rust-Cure 3000. This stuff has an oily consistency, and contains a penetrating oil, which makes it a first-class gunge remover. It also has a mild reducing agent in it – you can actually see it making little bubbles of gas as it reduces any exposed rusty metal. The can says it’s completely nontoxic as well, and it’s gentle enough that I could touch it in a careless moment with my bare hands without getting hurt (not recommending that, just saying). I’ve been using it sparingly with a soft rag on any parts of my bicycle that could be scratched by more abrasive methods of rust removal, and have found it works well for clearing away grease and road grime and some of the rust while maintaining a nice patina and not damaging the paint and chrome.  I sprayed the seat so the whole surface had a 1-2mm coating (probably overkill), let it sit for about ten minutes, then wiped it off with paper towel. The seat came clean, but still had surface rust. Most impressively, the small springs on the seat’s surface, which had originally looked like they were rusted solid, were now clean enough to assess that they were still strong and useable and had considerable give.

Makeover Step Three: lemon juice and aluminum foil (as per the Green Cleaning article I’ve mentioned before) to remove the rest of the rust. I actually changed the method a bit, grabbing a 4L plastic ice cream pail, crumpling a couple of balls of aluminum foil, half-filling it with water with a generous amount of lemon juice in it (um, probably a half-cup or so – I just poured in glug, glug, glug), then putting in the seat to soak. While half the seat was submerged, the other half was exposed to air, so I worked the exposed half with foil moistened in the diluted lemon juice. When I felt like I was no longer making a difference on the part I was working on, I switched the seat’s position so that I could work on the part that had been submerged. I repeated this process three or four times. My goal was to get the seat back to useable condition, not like-new, since it’ll be covered. Once I felt it was there, I gave the seat a rinse with plain water, then dried it with a rag. Foil balls went into the garbage, and now slightly brownish lemon water was poured down the sink. (The chemical reaction in this case should have left the iron on the seat, reducing it and oxidizing the aluminum; the brown colour in the water is partly aluminum oxide, which rinses easily off the foil, and partly tiny bits of iron oxide knocked off the seat by rubbing with the aluminum foil. The citric acid in lemon juice could be replaced by the acetic acid in vinegar or the acid in a carbonated soft drink.)

Here are my after photos. As you can see, the rusty springs are still blackish – I think because their surface is still mostly iron oxide – but now to the point where I can reupholster them. If I’d let the reaction sit overnight, I might have been able to get them shiny, at least temporarily. 

Kitchen chemistry FTW!

Step Four will involve using the horsehair-and-vinyl cover removed in Step 1 as a pattern to create a new cover. I happen to have a discontinued upholstery sample of good-quality white leather (found at the ReUse Centre) that’s big enough, so I’ll use that. Hopefully I’ll be able to source a small remnant of horsehair padding from a local upholsterer (the only kind I can find online is loose, not batting). If not, I think I’ll use felted wool for the padding, since it shouldn’t stay wet like cotton batting would, and lack of moisture retention would be why the makers had used horsehair in the first place. I’ll also have to look into what conditioner I can use for the leather that won’t mess with the white colour.

Watch for Part 2 of this post – and meanwhile I’d be delighted with any advice you can add, or leads on other people who’ve posted similar projects!