These early Gran Compe brakes are only subtly different from the standard Dia Compe centerpulls. The caliper arms are more slender, nicely polished, and anodized. Similarly, some of the other brake hardware, like mounting bolts, springs, etc. is more nicely polished/chrome plated than on the standard centerpulls. Finally, the lever bodies have a bit more elegant, less blocky profile.
However, they still used the prosaic bent metal straddle wire carriers, so I am replacing them with these:
I've applied two coats of shellac to the maroon Newbaums cloth handlebar tape. In the following picture, the color is a little uneven because it is still drying, but we can see that it will ending up matching the maroon Brooks Imperial saddle quite nicely. I'll go with at least one more coat. Recently, I've been going with about three coats of shellac, which seems to seal cloth handlebar tape nicely but doesn't get the glossy frosted doughnut look. However, the Newbaums sucks up so much shellac I may need a fourth coat for the result I prefer.
As you can see, I've moved the bike into the kitchen to dry the shellac more quickly - it is still rather chilly in the basement. Since the Finest was sitting there so conveniently, I got to work installing the brake calipers.
When fitting up the semi-circular brake mounting spacers that mate to the brake bridge and fork, I apply a little grease to the contact area just as I do with anything that clamps to the frame such as derailleurs, downtube shifters, brake cable housing clips, etc. My theory is that this tends to exclude the moisture that collects at this type of interface and inhibits the rust formation so commonly found under such fittings.
I'm still debating whether to use the Gran Compe calipers or swap them out for these Dia Compe 510 calipers. In addition to looking a little more slick and offering more pad adjustability, I'd bet the arms are stiffer due to the section containing the brake pad slot being orthogonal to the direction of the caliper arm motion:
And finally, now we know for sure how thin the veneer of civilization - five weeks from Mrs. Otaku's departure for Japan to the point that I'm working on bicycles in the kitchen...