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02/02/2007: "Update - Vivian and Her Nickel Plated finish"
Here is the latest about Vivian, my 1983 Miyata 310. Vivian's little flaws in the head tube remain untreated, cosmetically or otherwise. The structural repair may never happen, but the cosmetic solution--clear resin to seal the finish and prevent corrosion--is still on the "to do" list. Why? I donít know. No good reason, maybe. I think I refuse to accept that absolutely nothing else can be done. Perhaps I'm simply procrastinating. Either way, it seems that waiting may have paid off.

I recently received an email from Donald W. Gillies, a reader of my article about Vivian. Mr. Gillies, as some of you may know, is a well known i-BOB whose work in restoring old bicycles I can only describe as "inspiring."

In his email, he relates a technique of re-chroming that can be done at home, by knuckleheads like me, for a price almost anyone can afford. And with his kind blessings generously given, I canít wait to share his ideas with blog readers.
"I've been involved in re chroming old Raleighs. Did it under the supervision of master frame builder and painter Brian Baylis, using local frame shop Equality Plating which does all the chrome for Joe Bell, here in San Diego. These guys aren't cheap but they know what they are doing.

"Chroming can cause hydrogen embrittlement, which could make it more likely for the head tube to crack after headset installation.

"I don't know if Miyata frames are JIS or not. but even a little bit of extra chrome on the inside of the head tubes could also help to stress out the head tubes, especially after the chroming process had weakened them.

"If you are able to do something to reinforce the top and bottom of the head tube, the you can fix the any lifting chrome for about $35. Buy a brush-on 'copy chrome' plating set at Mask off the good areas so that only the lifting area(s) show. sand away the chrome, and then re-chrome the areas with the brush chroming set. These sets have nickel and cobalt, which is sort of blue, to cancel out the yellow of the nickel.

"I invented this technique to fix the rear triangle of a Raleigh international, which had a pea-sized spot of rust on the rear triangle, in maybe 2 or 3 places. Now, after polishing with 2000 grit sandpaper, then Never-Dull, the re-chromed areas are undetectable, even though the coloration is slightly different than the authentic, original, British chrome."
Thanks, Don. I'll let everyone know how it goes.


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