While I’m patiently waiting for the final few Dura-Ace 7400 series 6 speed components to arrive, I’m going to begin the paintwork restore on SB6560, starting with the fork. The fork on SB6560 isn’t too bad at all but it has a few marks and scratches that would look better with a little bit of TLC.

Before moving on to the fork, I’ve been concentrating my parts search on the bits that spin, the bearings of the Dura-Ace 7400 group. I already had a 7400 UG rear cassette hub and then added a set of new 7400 threaded hubs. This gave me the option of then looking for either a 6 speed cassette or freewheel – whichever one turned up first would probably be the one I used in the wheel build. It was a 6 speed UG 13 – 21 cassette that arrived, together with a new 7400 bottom bracket and new 7400 headset.

SB6560 SBDU Ilkeston 531c Services des Courses Dura-Ace 7400 Bearings
SB6560 SBDU Ilkeston 531c Services des Courses Dura-Ace 7400 Bearings

I’ll still keep an eye out for a new 6 speed freewheel as I still want to put that threaded hub to use. It is good feeling knowing that you have a complete set of new bearings on a build. The group is coming together nicely, if it isn’t NOS then it is in mint, excellent lightly used condition.

SB6560 SBDU Ilkeston 531c Services des Courses Dura-Ace 7400 Group
SB6560 SBDU Ilkeston 531c Services des Courses Dura-Ace 7400 Group

SB6560 came to me as a repaint so I’m not particularly concerned about altering/adding/changing paint on this frame and fork. The repair to the lever bosses left me with no alternative other than to add some new blue to the down tube. The RAL5005 I am using is a slightly different shade to the existing blue which means that I am going to have to repaint the repaired down tube section, the entire head tube and the blue top tube/seat tube sections. It also means that the fork must also be painted to ensure everything matches.

SB6560 SBDU Ilkeston 531c Services des Courses Fork
SB6560 SBDU Ilkeston 531c Services des Courses Fork
SB6560 SBDU Ilkeston 531c Services des Courses Fork Condition
SB6560 SBDU Ilkeston 531c Services des Courses Fork Condition

If I have to paint the fork to match the repaired frame then those marks and scratches need to be sorted before I go any further. The first thing I want to do is remove the existing glossy sheen. A strip of emery cloth is ideal for this, it takes the sheen straight off and can also be used to take the paint off to reveal those areas of metal around the chipped paint.

SB6560 SBDU Ilkeston 531c Services des Courses Starting Fork Prep
SB6560 SBDU Ilkeston 531c Services des Courses Starting Fork Prep

I find it easier to handle the fork by holding it in a vice – I screw the threaded part of one of  my Campagnolo tools onto the fork and hold that tight in the vice; this allows me to turn the fork 360 degrees so I can easily tackle different areas and still have two hands free.

The emery cloth is a very rough treatment and the fork needs a lot more work before it is anywhere near ready for primer.

SB6560 SBDU Ilkeston 531c Services des Courses Starting Fork Prep Removing Gloss Surface
SB6560 SBDU Ilkeston 531c Services des Courses Starting Fork Prep Removing Gloss Surface

Wet and dry paper is used to smooth the roughed up paint surface and to feather the metal/paint edges. I used a 600 grade paper and water to get the fork perfectly smooth. Your finger is an excellent guide for feeling edges and ridges, just by running a finger over the surface and feeling for imperfections. Light is also great, hold the surface of the metal to the light and check for any issues.

SB6560 SBDU Ilkeston 531c Services des Courses Fork Prep Sanding
SB6560 SBDU Ilkeston 531c Services des Courses Fork Prep Sanding

I’m not a painter, I’m a mechanic who is on a very steep learning curve with the painting process. Paint is a specialism that I’m dipping my toes into. Everything I explain in these blog posts related to paint is through my own trial and error experiments. Sometimes things work and sometimes they don’t and I hopefully learn from things going wrong and improve the process when I get it right.

There is no need to take this fork back to metal, it is ok the way it is. Before any primer goes on, the fork needs to not only be perfectly smooth, it must be as clean as I can get it; that means dust and grease free. A first coat of primer is next.

SB6560 SBDU Ilkeston 531c Services des Courses Fork Prep First Coat Primer
SB6560 SBDU Ilkeston 531c Services des Courses Fork Prep First Coat Primer

I use the first coat of primer as a check to see if I have missed anything. The primer really does show the slightest mark or scratch that might have been missed during the fine grade sanding. 

SB6560 SBDU Ilkeston 531c Services des Courses Fork Prep Primer
SB6560 SBDU Ilkeston 531c Services des Courses Fork Prep Primer

The primer showed up some tiny marks left by the serrated washer around the brake hole and a couple of scratches on the crown. Some more rubbing with the wet 600 grade paper cleaned up those areas before I added a second coat of primer.

SB6560 SBDU Ilkeston 531c Services des Courses Fork Prep Second Coat Primer
SB6560 SBDU Ilkeston 531c Services des Courses Fork Prep Second Coat Primer

Before I stripped the fork, I already had the blue colour chosen. I can see that based on my own original frames, that there are two very slightly different shades of blue used in this Team Colour scheme. The later frames, something like my original SBDU painted SB8790 is an excellent match to RAL5005 (Signal Blue). However, the earlier frames appear to be slightly off that colour. I haven’t pinned down the colour yet but I’m working on it.

But for SB6560, I’ve just decided to use the RAL5005 – I’m not being overly correct with this bike, I just want to get a great Panasonic build done, so even if the earlier bikes were a slightly different shade, it doesn’t matter to me for this project. I bought some paint from the internet and used a small sample of it to match against SB8790 – it was a perfect match! You can see the video I did here on my Facebook Page showing the paint match.

SB6560 SBDU Ilkeston 531c Services des Courses Fork Freshly Painted
SB6560 SBDU Ilkeston 531c Services des Courses Fork Freshly Painted

The paint I used was “Full Gloss” so as it says on the tin, it goes on with a full gloss. The image above shows the fork a couple of hours following paint. Good prep and being careful and clean really does benefit the finish you can achieve. All I wanted to do to these was use a very mild cutting compound and then polish them.

SB6560 SBDU Ilkeston 531c Services des Courses Fork Cut and Polish
SB6560 SBDU Ilkeston 531c Services des Courses Fork Cut and Polish

I’m a fan of the Autoglym products and use the Paint Renovator and Polish on most of my frames while I’m cleaning them. The Paint Renovator is a very mild cutting compound and really helps to put that smooth finish onto the paint surface. The polish makes them shine!

SB6560 SBDU Ilkeston 531c Services des Courses Fork After Cut and Polish
SB6560 SBDU Ilkeston 531c Services des Courses Fork After Cut and Polish

I didn’t need to mask the fork column but I did wrap a little tape around it. I didn’t bother with the fork crown race seat as it is just as easy to cut the paint away when the painting is done. Cutting the fork crown seat is advisable anyway when building a bike or fitting a headset. The cutter gives a lovely flat paint free surface for the new headset lower bearing race to sit on.

SB6560 SBDU Ilkeston 531c Services des Courses Fork Crown Cut
SB6560 SBDU Ilkeston 531c Services des Courses Fork Crown Cut

The next thing to do with this fork is to position and fit new fork blade transfers. I do like to get the transfers correct and in the correct location so that the look of the bike is right, and there is no better way to determine what should be used and where, than looking at original paint frames of this era.

SB6560 is a 1984 bike so the correct fork blade transfer for this scheme is a small Reynolds TI transfer – in this case it will be the 531 TI transfer. You can see in the images at the beginning of this post that the transfer this fork once had was not only incorrect, it was also too low and not straight. The position of the new transfer should be approx 5mm below the tip on the side of the Cinelli CC fork crown. My blue masking tape is the perfect width. All I need to do is position a small piece of tape on the point and fit the transfer up against the tape.

SB6560 SBDU Ilkeston 531c Services des Courses Fork Fitting New Transfer
SB6560 SBDU Ilkeston 531c Services des Courses Fork Fitting New Transfer

The blue masking tape can be removed and the transfer smoothed into place before removing the backing paper.

SB6560 SBDU Ilkeston 531c Services des Courses Fork Transfers Fitted Both Sides
SB6560 SBDU Ilkeston 531c Services des Courses Fork Transfers Fitted Both Sides

I’m over the moon with the finish on these forks, it has taken a lot of work and careful prep but the paint is better than I expected. When the fork from SB6560 is compared to the later original fork from SB8790 there is barely no difference in colour or paint finish.

I’m not planning on clear coating the fork and may not clear coat the frame, I’d prefer to see the how the finish goes onto the frame before I decide. The gloss finish is excellent already and I want to keep the final finish as thin as possible, I don’t want too many layers or loss of definition on the already thin lugs. Before I finally decide, I also need to see how the transfers go on and how much of an edge they have. Obviously no clear coat means no protection for the transfers but I’m not bothered at all about replacing transfers in a few years if they fade or get damaged.

SB6560 SBDU Ilkeston 531c Services des Courses Frame and Fork
SB6560 SBDU Ilkeston 531c Services des Courses Frame and Fork

Now all I need to do is fix and extend the white paint on the top tube and repaint the blue areas of tube around the repair and the seat tube. I talked about this work in a previous post when I temporarily fixed the transfers in place.

So that is the next task… frame painting…


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3 comments

  1. I live seeing what you do to these beautiful, classic Raleigh’s. It brings back many happy memories of the 70’s and 80’s when Raleigh were one of , if not “the” best frames around! Excellent work and I love to see the finish products 👍🏻

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