Tuesday, February 3, 2009

A Boy and His Headset Removal Tools

In these tough times, who can afford the snazzy special tools featured in so many cycling blogs? Well, we like to keep it real here at Fuji Otaku, so today we have some tips about something everyone can do to make sure their vintage bike habit isn't stealing food from their children's mouth.

Fuji Otaku's 1972 Finest has been slowly transitioning from a coherent bicycle to an increasingly barren frameset next to a box of baggied parts. Tonight was the last little bit of dissassembly, removing the headset from the frame.

Here are tools:

The mallet and the copper tube headset remover are homemade. The towel is temporarily AWOL from the upstairs linen closet, and the other scrap of wood is just that, a piece of wood from the scrap pile.

The details of making the mallet will be left to someone's woodworking blog. The real star in this posting is the headset remover, which started off as a 1 foot section of 3/4" copper pipe. The Fuji Otaku machine shop, using a hacksaw, cut 4 slits about 5" long, then carefully bent the resulting quarter section wings as seen below:

To use this precision tool, insert the non-cut end into the head tube. Pull it up through the head tube until the wings clear the headset piece. You'll hear a distinct click when this happens. Then, holding the scrap piece of wood with the towel, put the bare end of the scrap on top of the uncut end of the copper tube. Finish up by banging away on the scrap wood with the mallet until the pressed in headset piece comes free.

The scrap wood just keeps the copper tube from taking core samples from the business end of one's fine handmade, rock maple mallet. Should you be wondering why one should hold the scrap wood with a towel, try it without the towel and find out.

To remove the race from the forks, get the forks in a secure upside down position and drift the race off with the scrap wood piece and mallet. This means tapping it alternately on different sides of the fork so that it slowly moves off the fork mounting surface.

On the Finest, the upper tube race came off quite easily, while the lower cup required a lot of vigorous blows to coax it out from what appears to have been 37 years of repose. The fork race tapped off with a few firm blows.

The headset was so grody it was immediately popped into a jar of mineral spirits for a soak:

After this headset is cleaned up, some pictures will be posted of this nice chrome Nuovo Record clone. A relic of a simpler time, it is devoid of any manufacturer identification. Imagine that, a high quality headset without any branding at all. What on earth could those neolithics been thinking back then?

The Finest frame is now disassembled completely, another milestone on its slow journey to a destination that has not yet revealed itself in full:

However things do end up for this bike, it does appear to have a shiny future.

And fittingly, this post quite coincidentally comes on the one year anniversary of the loss of Sheldon Brown, who doggedly championed pragmatic and economical solutions to bicycle maintenance tasks.

Rest in peace, Sheldon, you informed and inspired countless cyclists.

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