Dawes Galaxy (maybe) restoration

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  • After I'd fitted a Super Record groupset to my Hetchins, and Cycliste had fitted a 7200 Dura Ace groupset to her Roberts, I found that I had a good number of Shimano 600 Arabesque parts which we taken off the two bikes. Given that the Arabesque groupset is one of my favourite vintage models, it
    seemed rude not to indulge in a little gentle eBaying and LFGSS-Classifieds-ing to get the remaining parts. Now, with a complete Arabesque groupset, the only problem I had was that I didn't have a frame to put it on.

    So I bought a Dawes frame and fork from peawet. It may, or may not be, a Dawes Galaxy. It's almost certainly a Dawes, but which model is uncertain. The upside is that it was cheap (can't remember how much, but it wasn't much) and the chrome on the forks looked fixable. The downside was that someone had repainted it, really badly, in dark blue Hammerite. It was originally a dark brown colour, which was visible where the Hammerite had flaked off, although in parts it was difficult to tell what was the original brown paint and what was brown rust.

    Just in case you can't see from that crappy phone picture just how badly it's been repainted, here's some detail pics.

    So the plan is to strip it, repaint it in a nice metallic dark blue with new decals, and build it up using the Arabesque groupset and some Giles Bertroud stainless mudguards. It'll also end up with the wheels which originally came with the Hetchins, with slightly wrong-for-the-year 105 Hyperglide hubs.

    This plan has a degree of urgency which it didn't originally, as a friend of mine has signed up for the Pendle Witches Vintage Velo ride this year, and I've promised him he can ride the Dawes.

    I've started stripping it, having gone out and got some Nitromors. It's a while since I last used Nitromors, and the stuff I've got is as depressingly ineffective as modern Nitromors is said to be. I'm pretty sure I've got shower gel which would be as effective, if not more so. Also, you have to shift the blue Hammerite before you can get to the brown paint properly. Still, I'm making progress. I've started on the tube junctions, on the basis they'll be hardest to do, in order to get them out of the way. After 3 coats of Nitromors, this is where I've got to.

    Once I've finished stripping it, I can get stuck into applying the new paint. More to follow.

  • Yeah Dawes went in for the whole brown thing for a while with the Galaxy in the 70s.

    Nice comfortable sofa like frames

  • Thanks for the photos, they're very helpful. As far as I can see there's no difference whatsoever between my frame and the one in the pics, which I suppose pretty much clears up what frame it is.

  • Really looking forward to seeing the build. These bikes are great practical classics.

    Some kind of massive chromed lamp on the right fork boss would make a great finishing touch for a 'vintage' ride.

  • Rather too late for you but I have a 'secret Hammered paint removal method' that leaves the original paint untouched, which is nice if it was painted by an imbecile when really it just needed cleaning.

    All will be revealed in a few days, with photos, via my Cannondale ST400 C.P. thread.

  • Hammerite is horrible stuff. However, in defence of this frame's former owner, it could be that a coating of thick paint has preserved tubes that might otherwise have rusted out of use.

    I may or may not be writing this to justify my own use of Hammerite on a bike frame yesterday afternoon....

  • ^^^ The plan at the moment is for faux retro LED lights front and rear.

    ^^ The original paint was way beyond saving. I can understand why the Mystery Hammerite Painter chose to repaint it. Just not why he/she chose Hammerite, and did it so badly.

    ^ It may indeed be a mixed blessing, and if it was a beater then I can sort of see why Hammerite might have been used. But it is bloody horrible stuff. Give me POR15 every time.

  • POR15 has a great reputation.
    Frost; nice but pricey.

    I used a fair amount of Hammerite on Jap bikes in the early 80's. Teenager then, so OK.

  • Hi, I ve some bits , Stronglight Chainset and Suntour Ratchet levers, which might suit this build

    Let me know if you are interested. They are in E10

  • With Nitromors, the key is to apply shit loads, everywhere, and use steel wool to scrub like crazy. Did my aluminium sintesi frame with it this summer and got it to come out pretty lovely and shiny in the end!

  • Right, I've got most of the paint off the frame:

    Never again. Removing paint is not fun, and having confirmed this fact I'm quite happy to leave it to the professionals in the future. Still, barring some details which I'll do with a wire brush on a Dremel, and some general wet'n'dry sanding down on the rear stays, it's done.

    Thinking ahead, on the basis that this will be my 'vintage racer-geared downtube-shifter bike with mudguards' I've bought some Giles Berthoud mudgards, the 40mm size. However, the chainstays are too narrow for the mudguard to fit between them:

    I reckon I have three options - (1) chop some quadrants out of the end of the mudguard so it fits around the chainstays, (2) bend it so it fits between the chainstays or (3) make up a little bracket which bolts into the chainstay bridge and the hold at the bottom of the mudguard and holds the mudguard in pretty much the position it's in now.

    At the moment option 3 seems quickest easiest and less likely to go horribly wrong. Ideas welcome though.

  • I shall watch this with interest! I have a very similar Dawes frame (posted in current projects) but am doing a very different build.

    I do have some great vintage lamps which I'm tempted to put on, although I may try to convert them into rechargeable LED's rather than dynamoed bulbs.

  • Yeah the mudguards on older Galaxies, at least, seem to be pretty slender things. The very late '60s and '70s ones were a bit more on the light tourer end of the scale, just a very slack / comfortable road bike really, and often turn up with no mudguards or those ineffectual short ones.

    I saw the other day that one of my workmates has a very early one in silver - seems to have had a hard life. I'm tempted to offer them a few notes to acquire it as a pub bike

  • option 3... it's easier to do and they'll be easier to sell on if you change your mind. It might mean that they don't sit neatly at the other brake bridge though, in which case cut the quadrants.

  • Yep, at the moment I'm favouring Option 3 as the least-hassle option. There's no issue regarding the brake bridge - the GB mudguards aren't drilled for that, so they're entirely flexible in that regard. The downside of option 3 is of course that the run-off from the mudguards goes straight onto the chainstays, but since this bike isn't going to be used regularly in good or bad weather (not by me anyway) I can't see it'll be too much of an issue.

  • I've now got all of the paint off the frame (as ever the last few bits took the longest time to do) and I've stripped the paint off the forks. The paint came off really easily off the forks, presumably because it doesn't adhere all that well to the chrome underneath. The chrome underneath the paint is immaculate, as you'd expect, while the rest of it was pretty poor. I've spent the best part of an evening with full-fat Coke, aluminium foil and Alusol getting the chrome looking better, and here it is:

    In order to get the frame ready for painting, I've also done something I've been meaning to do for a while, which is to add some bottle cage bosses. My brazing's not really up to the job, and I haven't got the cylinders for my oxy-acetylene set yet, so I resorted to rivnuts. They should do the job - they do on plenty of aluminium and carbon frames.

    So, rivnuts fitted - these are the ones on the seat tube:

    and a test fit of the bottle cages:

    Next stop the spray booth, for some etch primer.

  • Ah: "Rivnuts"! Never knew such things existed.

    I've got an older Galaxy (27" wheels) and it's always puzzled me that i) such a renowned long distance bike only had one set of bottle cage mounts and ii) what the one set were.

    Mystery solved: it obviously harks from a time before brazed-on cage mounts (although it has cable guides, under the BB cable routing and is 126mm at the rear, so it's not ancient) and some one has used Rivnuts for one cage.

    Anyway, good work, as you were!

  • I've started spraying the frame and forks now. The first thing to do was to tape the forks so that only the top 6 inches or so of the fork blades would be sprayed, and then I stuffed folded newspaper down the headtube, seattube and in the bottom bracket. I've used a isocyanate-free 2-pack etch primer which I've used many times in the past. It's supposed to be a high build primer, although I've never found it goes on that thickly, but in order to ensure that the lugwork wasn't lost underneath a deep coat of primer I added more thinner than I normally do. I think I maybe went a bit overboard with the thinner, as the primer was much harder to spray than previously, with a distinct tendency to run and sag. Of course, it could simply be that I'm out of practice as it's a while since I've done any spraying. But apart from a few sags and runs it went reasonably well, apart from the moment when I got the airline to my respirator wrapped round the industrial vacuum cleaner I hadn't bothered to move...

    Here's what it looks like now:

    I'm hoping to put the basecoat on this evening some time.

  • Hmmm, just checked the data sheet for the basecoat I'm using (Max Meyer Maxicar HS). Looks like I'll have to shoot the basecoat and the clearcoat in one go, so it may be a long evening.

  • It looks really good.

    The quality of work on these old frames is lovely. Those lugs are so clean:

    Do you have any plans to line the lugs? If you're going with that metallic brown just simple black might be nice to bring out the shape. I always prefer darker lug lining to the main paint... unless it's gold.

  • I'm going to spray it a dark metallic blue - it's a Ford colour, slightly purplish/red - and yes, I'm planning to try some DIY lug lining. In gold. I've bought the 00 paint brushes and some gold paint. Trouble is, I can't find the paint anywhere.

  • Sprayed the base and clear last night. The base went on reasonably easy, and the clear was as ever a total joy to use. It's proper full-fat non-compliant isocyanate-abundant Maxilack 0500 so I was wearing the full gimp outfit - a hooded Tyvex suit, a double layer double nitrile gloves and a full-face positive pressure respirator. There are a couple of mistakes - there's a bit of sag in the clear on the headtube, and the 'Dawes' decals on the right hand side are higher than those on the left hand side. Also, I think I should have left it until after I'd applied the clear to put the larger of the two stickers on the seat tube - it has a large area of clear vinyl, and the basecoat finish is quite rough, so it isn't completely transparent. Still, it'll do.

  • Although I suspect the Dawes wasn't lug-lined originally, I thought the opportunity to try my hand at a bit of DIY lug lining was too good to pass up. So bought some One Shot signwriter's paint and some 00 size brushes. It's nearly finished, and it's bloody difficult. It doesn't look too bad from a distance, but up close it's not too pretty. I think next time I try lug-lining I'll get a ruling pen and see if that makes things easier.

    The One Shot 'imitation gold' is, it turns out, a rather lurid orangey yellow colour. Oh well, it contrasts against the blue paint.

  • Having finally finished off the lug-lining (and what a PITA that was), I've spent the weekend starting the build in earnest.

    So far I have:

    1. Refitted the head badge with a blob of polyurethane adhesive.
    2. Fitted the headset, although I need to add a cable hanger so it's not tightened yet.
    3. Fitted the stem and handlebars, although they'll have to come out to fit the cable hanger.
    4. Chased the BB threads and fitted the BB (Shimano UN55)
    5. Cleaned and fitted the chainset, front and rear mechs, shifters, and one brake lever (all Shimano 600 Arabesque)
    6. Fitted the seatpost (26.4mm GS post made by made by San Marco) and Brooks Professional saddle
    7. Fitted the brakes (Weinmann Vainqueur long drops)
    8. Started fitting the rear mudguard

    Cables have arrived today (Velo Orange ones) and this afternoon's plans feature a quick trip to Condor to buy bar tape, a chain, some brake blocks and a cable hanger. This (with apologies for the poxy phone photo) is what it looks like so far:

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Dawes Galaxy (maybe) restoration

Posted by Avatar for Brommers @Brommers