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Bettys bike.

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woodtickgreg

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My next bike build is for my girl, Betty's bike. It's a 1963 Schwinn American. It's going to be a total custom cruiser, the purist will cringe at the thought of me totally molesting this bike, lol. But it will look nice, be cool, and fun to ride when I'm done with it.
As it looks now, picking it up from my storage bay.
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And it's up on on the work stand, let the teardown begin.
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This is the last time it will be all original.
 

derf

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That's a good looking specimen...a little polish and elbow grease would make it look new.
 

woodtickgreg

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I got it up on the work stand and the teardown has begun.
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All that's left to remove is the fork and kickstand and then it's off to powdercoat.
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The crank was date coded 63 so it is an original 1963.
 

woodtickgreg

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I finished stripping the frame today and when I flipped it to knock out the headset bearing cup I saw what at first I thought was a cracked frame. On closer inspection I actually think it was a manufacturing defect, a filet brake that was not filled in all the way. I think this because the 2 pipes are at different levels. I'll have this brazed at a friends weld and then file and smooth it before taking it to powder coat.
The stripped frame upside down.
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See what looks like a crack on the lower tube?
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Here you can clearly see the different levels of the tubes and the low spot from the missing braze, very uncaracteristic ot Schwinn.
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westsailpat

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Hmmm... That is weird looking , I would not think there would be a tube end and braze there . Maybe get it striped and inspect further . But no worries braze it up .
 

woodtickgreg

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I have since learned that the frame is bent and stressed and that's why the crack has formed. I could try and straighten it and weld in a support between the 2 main down tubes but it's just not worth the time and effort in my opinion. I have other frames I can use for this build. No worries, this build will go on.
 

woodtickgreg

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Well I was going to use a newer Chinese made Schwinn frame for this build as a replacement. But then I stumbled onto this 1952 or 53 Schwinn Spitfire bike. It is much more heavy duty, has the bigger rims to fit 2x2.125 tires and a cool looking chain gaurd. This will be a great candidate for the custom cruiser.
As I found it at an auto repair shop.
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And it's up on the work stand ready to be stripped for powdercoat.
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woodtickgreg

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Well I got this one stripped today. Bikes from the 50s are seriously well made and heavy duty. The bearings and races show almost no wear, everything is thicker and more substantial. It always amazes me when you pull the handgrips after 70 years there's still shiney chrome under them. There are no issues with this frame, it's ready to go to powdercoat. I have a vision in my head of how it's going to look. It's going to be a nice custom cruiser and it'll be all new when I'm done with it.
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woodtickgreg

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The powdercoat came in the mail, it's called grape ape. So I figured I better get busy ckeaning some parts. First up is the kickstand.
Pretty rusty!
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But it is from 1953.
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A trip to the glass bead blast cabinet worked wonders.
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Miller made a seriously stout kickstand back in the day.
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It wasn't chromed originally or painted so I decided to try and preserve the raw look. I'm just going to give it a few coats of clear enamel to preserve the look and give it some protection.
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FOMOGO

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Looks like you found a winner there Greg. Aren't bead blast cabinets a godsend, probably my most often used tool in the shop. The kickstand does look more like something you would find on a motorcycle, and I like the clear finish. Mike
 

woodtickgreg

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Yeah the blast cabinet is the berries Mike! When I leave this company I'll be buying my own, lol. For now I'll use the one at work for free! This was probably one of only a couple models of schwinn that year that did not have the built in kickstand.
 

woodtickgreg

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Next is the seat post and clamp, a seriously thick clamp. I'm finding everything on this 53 schwinn to be very heavy duty and well made.
Rusty and corroded parts.
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Can you see the letters in the clamp bolt?
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Now you can after glass bead blasting. The significance of the AS is they are Arnold Schwinns initials.
And you can see Schwinn in cursive on the seat post now, all original parts to this 53.
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The clamp and bolt get the clear enamel treatment.
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I'm liking this clear technique, it kinda leaves it with a patina look but without the rust.
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woodtickgreg

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Today I was cleaning the crank and something very cool happened by pure accident. This is the original wald crank that came with the bike. After I degreased it I wanted to shine it up a bit and thought I would rub it down a little with a fine scotch rite pad, just a little rubbing and the chrome or whatever the coating was came right off! But it did reveal a nice copper coating under that. At first I was bummed, then after I thought about it for a bit i thought it looked pretty cool. So I finished the rest of it the same way. I left some of the patina on it. There wont ne much shiney chrome on this bike anyway.

The original wald crank.
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1 leg done to reveal the copper.
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What it looked like before.
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All done.
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And then I clear coated it.
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This should look cool and different on the bike.
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I kinda turned lemons into lemonade with this one, lol.
 

derf

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Have you ever tried the "super chrome" powder coat? I used some on a mini bike build a few years ago. It is not quite "chrome' but it looks like polished aluminum.
renegade7.jpg
 

woodtickgreg

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That's very nice looking, might try it on some other things. But I have a vision in my head of how this bike is going to look, it will have minimal chrome. I actually like this very unusual copper look. I'm thinking I may look for some copper paint or plain black and spray paint the gooseneck for the bars to tone down the shiney. The bars will probably be the item with the most chrome on this build.
 

woodtickgreg

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I interrupt this bicycle build for a spontaneous new toolbox insertion.

My old box, I hated digging through it to find the tool I needed.
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The new box. My wheel truing stand even fits on the shelf below
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Much more organized now and easier to find my tools.
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A few park tool stickers dressed it up a bit.
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woodtickgreg

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Some progress. I had a newer Schwinn cruiser gooseneck that was a solid aluminum piece, but too shiney so I scuffed it up and painted it black.
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woodtickgreg

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Then I worked on the sprocket for the crank assy. It was covered in grease and crud so I had to clean that off first. Then I worked on the rusty spots. Not all the rust will come off so to pitting, but keep in mind this is from a 1953 bike, It's ok,some patina on this one will actually look good.
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woodtickgreg

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When I got this bike the headbadge was missing and finding an original for a spitfire has been tough to say the least, the ones I have found cost more than what I paid for the whole bike. But I did find this one at a reasonable price. It's a 1937 Schwinn century badge and it says Arnold Schwinn on the bottom, not the correct badge but it will look nice and this is a custom build.
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woodtickgreg

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And I picked up some nice cream colored balloon tires and some wide black fenders with the kick out flare at the rear.
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woodtickgreg

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Work continues, next is the wheels. The plans for the wheels are to strip them, powdercoat the rims, get a new rear hub and a large flange front hub, order new spokes. These Schwinn S2 rims are starting to get hard to find, especially in chrome. But these painted ones are in pretty good shape especially for 1953's. They are double wall and very strong, these are still straight even though the rear has a dent in it that I need to fix before it goes to powdercoat. Its dented on the outside but not on the inside. The rear hub is a new departure brand and has an oil cup for lubrication, makes a mess, that's why I'm going to change it out.
The wheels.
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I just cut the spokes out since most of them where snapping off because they where so rusty.
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I tagged and bagged the hubs for future use, I'll either sell them, part them, or save em for a future restoration.
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The dent that needs to be filled, I'm thinking map gas and high tin lead solder. It has to be able to withstand the heat from the powdercoat oven.
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woodtickgreg

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I could not get the solder to stick to the rims so I took them to a friend at a weld shop and had them tig welded. Then I sanded everything smooth and dropped all the parts off to the powdercoater.
Well I finally found time to pick up the frame and the rest of the parts from the powdercoater. The color of the frame is called grape ape. Everything else is gloss black. The parts came out nice!
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I just had to put the new decal on the chaingaurd, lol.
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It'll be a little while until I can get back to this one because I have to get at least 8 bikes ready for a bicycle swap meet the end of April. I really want to work on this build but I have to keep my priorities straight.
 

woodtickgreg

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I've been sick for about a week so I haven't done anything with the Betty. Today I was feeling a little better so I placed up the front wheel with heavy duty 11 gage spokes.
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The wheel is on the truing stand but it's not done yet, lol. But I'm confident it's going to come out nice.
 

woodtickgreg

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I found a cool vintage rear rack and tail light at the Ann Arbor Michigan swapmeet. I took it to work and gave it a trip to the glass bead blast cabinet so I could strip the paint and take it to powdercoat.
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woodtickgreg

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I got the vintage Arnold Schwinn century head badge installed.
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Then I needed to make a bearing race driver so the old south bend came in handy for that.
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I needed to remove a little material.from the inside of the hardened 1953 bearing race, a dremel was the trick for that job.
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Then I installed the bearing cups.
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And then the new Springer fork.
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I powder coated the spring the same color as the frame.
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woodtickgreg

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I worked on the Betty again today.
Installed the gooseneck, handlebar, and the front light.
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The light has a cool retro look but has modern led lights in it.
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Installed the original 1953 crank assembly, I like how the chrome wore off and exposed the copper, I clear coated it.
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I installed the seat post and AS clamp.
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Installed the original 1953 kickstand.
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Next was the front fender and wheel assy. 20190501_204115.jpg
I'm liking how the colors are coming together on this one.
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