I’ve been working through my collection of frames, and next on the list is SB6560, a 531c Services des Courses 1984 frame in the ’84 team Panasonic Raleigh colours. I’ve moved this up the list as I really want to get a Panasonic schemed bike built to fit in with the Raleigh Banana (SB8868) and TI-Raleigh (SB3800) that I have built in the last few months.
You don’t always find SBDU frames in a ‘ready to ride’ and usable condition, and SB6560 was definately not ready to ride. Although it had excellent paint, it had poorly fitted and creased frame transfers . It also had damaged gear lever bosses as they had been cut through with a hacksaw, leaving just the base of the boss on the frame.
Both of these problems are a shame for what is a really nice frame, but I still bought it. I got it not long after attending a Dave Yates frame building course, so I thought that this frame repair would be well within my beginner capabilities and skills.
I’ve had a few frame tools in the workshop for a while but never had the opportunity to use them until today. So out came the frame tube blocks and files and off came the stubby remains of the lever bosses.
Frame blocks can sometimes damage paint and transfers if you twist the frame around too much, but in this case, the RALEIGH transfers were due to come off so it wasn’t a major concern. Frame tube blocks are absolutely necessary – I often hold the faces of the bottom bracket in the soft jaws of a vice, but you cannot hold a frame tube in a vice, it will crush. If I just held the frame by the bottom bracket and attempted to file the bosses, the frame would simply vibrate and the file would skip over the boss instead of working properly.
Using a flat file on a round tube without putting flats on the tube takes a little practice and technique. It’s best to work slowly and check your progress by running your finger over the edges of the boss – gradually the boss disappears right back to clean round surface of the tube.
Before moving on to fit the new bosses, the frame transfers needed to come off. Just as I did with the work on the Raleigh Banana frame, it is worth noting the position of the existing transfers to give you a starting point to fit the replacements. A few simple drawings and measurements help.
Heat from a hair dryer and some small acetone (nail varnish remover) wipes are the things I use the most for removing transfers and cleaning the tubes. I started with removing the Reynolds 531 transfers from the fork blades – these forks came with the ‘Shield’ version of the 531 transfer, but I’ll be replacing them with the smaller 531 TI transfer that was used by the SBDU. The forks and fork crown aren’t too bad apart from a few small marks.
The rest of the frame tube transfers came off quite easily, together with the Reynolds 531c frame transfer. The paint work is in excellent clean condition.
I think the frame actually looks better in this ‘mid-work’ stage now that it is getting a clean up and some attention. One slight issue I have with this frame and the thing I haven’t quite figured out what to do with yet, is that the blue section of the top tube has been painted too far along the top tube – it is probably an inch and a half too long; I might just have to live with that, but I’m still thinking…
This is the ultimate goal… 1984 Panasonic Raleigh livery.