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How to strip the frame
#1
I have a Violet '65 Schwinn Varsity. It is in bad shape. I cleaned off the frame and it is in very rough condition. The top tube feels as rough as sand paper. How do I strip the frame? sand paper, steel wool... Then where do I find the paint and decals?

[attachment=53]
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#2
It looks like there's a substantial amount of rust on that bike, which may have eaten into the metal quite a bit. The drivetrain (particularly the chain) will need replacing, as well as some other parts. Have you tried removing the seat tube or handlebar stem? If you can't get those free it might not be worth restoring...
That said, if you still want to give it a shot you could get some toxic paint stripper at the hardware store. Apply it with a brush, wait a little while, and then scrub it with a wire brush. You may have to repeat the process a few times. It's really goopy and stings if it contacts your skin so you'd have to be very careful. An easier way would be to remove all the parts and take it to your local autobody shop for a $20-50 sand-blasting job.

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#3
Maybe there is some hope. The seat tube and handlebar stem are removable. Everything I have taken off has come rather easily. The only thing I am not sure how to remove is the hand brake on the handlebars

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#4
If you compress the brake lever and look inside you should see the top of a bolt. You'll need to loosen that to free the lever's clamp.

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#5
I have a related question. On an old 80s Schwinn Traveler that I just got from a thrift store, there is some light surface rust on the frame. Is there an effective way to perhaps clean up some of the rust without having to repaint the entire bike? Is there anything I could use to maybe touch up the paint? I read in a forum that soaking rags in vinegar and placing them around the frame may help in removing some of this surface rust. Another forum said that you could use steel wool to simply buff the rust out. Thanks so much for your help!

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#6
Here's a video about removing surface rust on chrome (with steel wool). It may not work that well on painted surfaces. Maybe try using some light sandpaper to get ride of the rust, and then touch it up with a similar color paint. A hardware store should be able to mix up a pretty close match for you.

I haven't heard if the vinegar/rag method works...
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#7
Oh yes on the subject of removing rust, I am concerned about the rust patches on my bike's frame (it's steel, probably of a poor quality because it was a cheap bike). I want to remove the worst of the rust and patch up the paintwork (I am in Wales, and it rains very frequently so this is quite important), any suggestions?

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#8
Have you finished this project yet? Did you end up repainting the frame, I have a local guy sandblast frames for me and then I repaint them myself. That would be my advice. Please post a pic of the schwinn if you've finished it. I'd love to see it.

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#9
(11-23-2008, 10:50 AM)Alex Ramon Wrote:  Here's a video about removing surface rust on chrome (with steel wool). It may not work that well on painted surfaces. Maybe try using some light sandpaper to get ride of the rust, and then touch it up with a similar color paint. A hardware store should be able to mix up a pretty close match for you.

I haven't heard if the vinegar/rag method works...

This method I can back up and say works VERY well! I have been using it on my 1965 Armstrong with great success on the wheels, the painted area (original paint job), and other areas of the bike. The only different thing I used but Alex mentioned it is use a brass type pad that doesn't have the chemical in them.
Good maintenance to your Bike, can make it like the wheels are, true and smooth!
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#10
If this was my bike and I wanted to take her back to like new I would sandblast her. Before you get it sandblasted go to a auto paint shop and have them to match the color of your bike. As far as the parts you need you should be able to find most of the parts for it lots of places on the web for schwinn parts. If you have a air compressor you can get a small sandblaster and do the job your self. The frame may not be as bad as you think it is. The old roadmaster bicycle I am re doing here look pretty bad at first but the rust came right off with very little pits on the frame a good coat of primer and it looks like new but I also took a hand drill and a wire wheel to it as well before I prime it and wire wheel can take a lot of rust off with out damage if you go easy with it. Hope this helps.
My dad always told me a Sledge a matic can fix any thing.
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#11
(11-24-2008, 11:21 AM)JonB Wrote:  Oh yes on the subject of removing rust, I am concerned about the rust patches on my bike's frame (it's steel, probably of a poor quality because it was a cheap bike). I want to remove the worst of the rust and patch up the paintwork (I am in Wales, and it rains very frequently so this is quite important), any suggestions?

Hi JonB,

As a weldor, I frequently have to deal with rusting metal. One of the best tools I have for thin metal is something called Scotch Brite wheel by 3M. It has an attachment where you can use it in a drill or a drill press. It removes paint and rust easily. You should be able to find them at a hardware store but not sure about Wales though. Hope that helps. Sand-blasting is actually a bad idea because it also removes metal from the already-thin metal of bicycle frames, and soda-blasting doesn't remove rust, just paint.

Steve
Junkyard Tools rescued from the junkyard!
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#12
What about "sand" blasting with softer stuff like walnut shells?
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#13
(01-15-2010, 08:57 AM)Joe_W Wrote:  What about "sand" blasting with softer stuff like walnut shells?

I don't really know the walnut shell capabilities of stripping rust. But I think when you look at the blasting cost versus a Scotch Brite tool at $8 then I think most would chose the tool.

Steve
Junkyard Tools rescued from the junkyard!
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#14
Try oxalic acid. You can get it at any hardware store. You only need about 1/2 strength, and a tub big enough to dip the frame in. Let it sit as long as the directions say, and the rust falls off.
Dedicated scholar of bicycles
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#15
Or try soda blasting.
Dedicated scholar of bicycles
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#16
(02-12-2010, 12:15 AM)jr14 Wrote:  Or try soda blasting.

You can get a "skotch wheel" that attaches to a drill. Go over the rusted areas and it should clean up easily. I also use a brush on stripper as others have mentioned. The wheel gets the tough areas near lugs and such so I don't have to rub sandpaper 'till my fingers are numb.
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#17
skotch wheel? Never heard of those but interested please explain.
Good maintenance to your Bike, can make it like the wheels are, true and smooth!
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#18
(11-20-2012, 05:28 PM)Bill Wrote:  skotch wheel? Never heard of those but interested please explain.
his spelling may be off a bit Bill, you know what a scotch pad is, the name is for the 3M brand ( Minnesota Mining and manufacturing )
it is like that and comes in various fashions, from wheels for a bench grinder, velcro backed for hand grinders, sticky backed for DA style, post style for drills or dotco grinders. depends on the tools you have in the arsenal, seek and ye shall find the perfect one for you
There are two kinds of people in the world, "Those who help themselves to people, and those who help people!"
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#19
Hmmm interesting! Doesn't look like it would be too abrasive like to grind a tube in half.
Good maintenance to your Bike, can make it like the wheels are, true and smooth!
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#20
do not be fooled, depending on how course the scotch you are using they can be quite abrasive.
Can also be used for finishing grain like brushed stainless steel. If you have ever been to Disney in Florida and happened to notice the hundreds of stainless steel baby strollers , the company I work for made them, labor intensive working with brushed stainless because once formed, tig welded, handled, cut, etc... it must all be regrained to look uniform once again, we also produced the stainless back wraps for commercial Bunn coffee makers that you see in resturaunts all over the world. I have been in manufacturing for 35 years with experience in all aspects of material and processes pertaining to metal fabrication. from concept, design, to finished product, including electro-static coatings and powder painting and assembly to ship
enough about me Bill, anyway you know what tools you have to fit a pad on so search and try them out sometime. you may like it a lot they are great because of the fact you take off less metal and keep the substrate less gouged and scratched
There are two kinds of people in the world, "Those who help themselves to people, and those who help people!"
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