Part 1 Blasting Back The Years
A couple of months back I reported my intentions to refurbish my now quaint but much loved 531c road bike. The lick and a promise frame enamel was disappearing before the eyes despite kid gloves treatment and so after almost eighteen years it's time for some new livery.
Further investigation reveals a number of smaller flaws, nothing serious but irritating just the same-most notably the poorly finished seat-tube. Supposedly reamed to 27.0 to preserve the integrity of relatively thin walls, I had designs on taking it out to 27.2, allowing a much greater choice of seat-posts but conversation with Justin (Burls) suggests this is ill advised.
However, he’s kindly offered to clean it up for me. I’ve chosen powder coating in preference to stove enamel and entrusted project specialists Maldon Shot Blasting & Powder Coating with the job. Whilst not bike specialists, they tackle all manner of delicate project work and will undertake filling of small dents and other light repairs on site.
Many will tell horror stories of industrial finishes blasting delicate braze-ons from frames etc but MSB's experience with classic cars and motorcycles means they give everything the personal touch. For soft and very delicate objects-a technique known as vapour blasting (combining a fine mist of water vapour with the abrasive) is employed but wasn’t required here.
Stepping inside the cavernous area is reminiscent of a notorious torture scene from Hostel (the gory shocker based in the Czech republic). It took Graham a mere three minutes to strip frame and forks completely bare, leaving the ideal surface for zinc chromate and subsequent top-coats to adhere to.
Next: Week… The chromate primer and the first of several trips through the oven
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)