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PostPosted: Tue Jun 18, 2013 1:58 pm 
Gold Trader / PoTM Winner / RB Rider
Gold Trader / PoTM Winner / RB Rider
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Joined: Tue Feb 26, 2013 6:26 pm
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Location: 54 Festive Road Winchcombe GLOUCS Yarp...
Next visit your local saddler and buy a tin of “Hydrophane”. This is a leather dressing which softens and makes waterproof. I like to gently heat the saddle to 70degreesC as I feel this allows the leather to absorb the dressing more easily but this is not mandatory. Using a small, soft brush, carefully apply the dressing to the underside of the saddle. Be patient and apply one coat at a time. Keep a sharp eye on the topside of the saddle and stop immediately you see any stain soak through. Some darkening can take place and can provide an attractive weathered appearance but be careful as too much can remove the polished finish on the topside. Make sure you cover around the rivets, as this is where cracks appear with age. Take time between coats and ensure you see the results of one coat before applying another. When this is to your satisfaction begin to work the wings of the saddle up and down until they move easily. They should loosen up quite quickly to the point that they can be raised up level with the seat of the saddle. Now place the saddle on a folded towel on the floor. If this could be between two chairs which could offer support it would be fine. Now lift up the wings so that they do not press down on the floor and impede the downward movement of the leather. While doing this step onto the saddle with your stocking foot and begin to push down on the saddle. Push down hard and repeatedly, and continue to do so moving from end to end of the saddle ensuring that the wings remain raised. You will find that in a relatively short time that the saddle will flex and become supple. Again, in a relatively short time you will be gasping and short of breath, but hey, no method is perfect. Remember, the longer you spend treating the saddle in this way the more comfortable it becomes. From time to time flex the wings also until ultimately the saddle depresses easily under the pressure of your palm. Make sure it does so from the rear to the toe. While this process will waterproof your saddle I would still cover it at the first sign of rain. A comfortable saddle is a precious thing and not to be risked. A light smear of “Proofhide” and there you are, you have successfully conditioned your saddle.

What do you think? Is dunking it a bit drastic?


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 18, 2013 4:35 pm 
rBoTM Winner
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The paint on that frame, though worn, looks really good. I agree with your idea to hold back on the polishing to leave a little patina.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 18, 2013 5:02 pm 
Gold Trader / PoTM Winner / RB Rider
Gold Trader / PoTM Winner / RB Rider
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Location: 54 Festive Road Winchcombe GLOUCS Yarp...
lewisfoto wrote:
The paint on that frame, though worn, looks really good. I agree with your idea to hold back on the polishing to leave a little patina.

Have now liberally applied x 3 Turtlewax to seal frame. Spent a few hours working on one of the (Campag)QR wheels that weren't on the bike but had been bought to be used with it. Wire wool for spokes and T Cut on the rims is working well. Both run true and are holding 80psi with no sign of serious defects so a bonus. Will initially run it with these as they are fitted with 5 speed. although I know they are a lot later but look the part.

Will also go with the Campag Gran Sport mech as everything I've read says the Benelux Mk7 was a nightmare and is confirmed by members on here.

White hoods(if i can get some that fit given the GB levers have adjustment wheels) or bare levers with white cables. Like the sound of red bar tape to tie in with the red of the frame. Looking for an old 'flick' type bell, in silver or red, metal toe clips and leather straps as old ones were past it and a 16 inch metal pump. I'm presuming I can use one of the NOS chains. Also 27.2 seat post. I know its a long shot but could anybody confirm seat post size? Old one was crushed so hard to gauge.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 18, 2013 9:03 pm 
retrobike rider
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Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 10:08 pm
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Location: West Midlands
I'd forgotten that you were getting your hands on this last weekend, what a beauty.

Without my dad's bike here to compare, the only similarities that I can confirm are the head badge (ours has now dropped off :( ) and the bottom bracket oiler.

Really impressed with what you've done so far, I think you've got the balance just right between polishing up and keeping a little patina.

Bike of the ride next pootle I reckon 8) .


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 18, 2013 9:27 pm 
Gold Trader / PoTM Winner / RB Rider
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Joined: Tue Feb 26, 2013 6:26 pm
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Location: 54 Festive Road Winchcombe GLOUCS Yarp...
Thanks bud.

Just spent a very relaxing hour doing the last stripping job. BB is a Bayliss and Wiley for those interested. Soaked it for a couple of days then used a pair of Moore and Stanworth straight calipers to gently turn plate. Removed 22 perfect spheres and a huge wodge of grit and sludge. Took out shim that blocks off tubes and cleaned everything. Reassembled with copper slip. Lovely.

Now the rebuild starts!


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2013 2:03 pm 
Retro Guru
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Joined: Wed Apr 25, 2012 2:08 pm
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Location: Shrewsbury
Funny you mention a local saddler, a friend of mine is a saddler and uses this stuff to bring leather back from the dead. I gave him a good laugh when I showed him a tin of Brooks proofhide and told him the price :)

Now I use this stuff all the time on old and new saddles.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2013 4:01 pm 
Gold Trader / PoTM Winner / RB Rider
Gold Trader / PoTM Winner / RB Rider
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Joined: Tue Feb 26, 2013 6:26 pm
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Location: 54 Festive Road Winchcombe GLOUCS Yarp...
Just back from local saddlery. Neetsfoot oil applied to underside. Told to apply second coat in a few hours......


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2013 4:47 pm 
King of the Skip Monkeys
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Location: Moomin Valley
I still like my bucket of soapy water and wax polish approach...


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2013 7:47 pm 
Gold Trader / PoTM Winner / RB Rider
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Joined: Tue Feb 26, 2013 6:26 pm
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Location: 54 Festive Road Winchcombe GLOUCS Yarp...
legrandefromage wrote:
I still like my bucket of soapy water and wax polish approach...


Yes but my dog loves licking this stuff so maybe he'll follow the bike! Rendered cattle shins and feet, lovely. :wink:


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2013 8:35 pm 
Gold Trader / PoTM Winner / RB Rider
Gold Trader / PoTM Winner / RB Rider
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Joined: Tue Feb 26, 2013 6:26 pm
Posts: 16894
Location: 54 Festive Road Winchcombe GLOUCS Yarp...
Wheels finished. Passable but might benefit from another polish later. Bought a better set of bars on here for £12.

Cables next. Seat post and bar tape to follow. Still waiting for campagnolo gran sport to arrive.


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