When I begin a bike project, I put a lot of thought into my actions. For instance, I tend to tread pretty lightly when it comes to refinishing a frame’s surface. There’ve been a few instances when the paint was in such a remarkably poor state that I felt the frame itself would have eventually been in jeopardy had I not stripped and recoated the steel. But there’s a sort of honesty to a surface that shows wear, and I see this in abundance on a1946 Hobbs of Barbican frame build up I’m currently pondering. The box lining is faded and barely visible. The down tube lettering is chipped, but still very readable. And the seat tube graphics have nearly disappeared: there remains but a shadow of the original badge and “sergeant stripes.”
The name and club affiliation of the original racer is still quite readable along the top tube, although much of the printing is gone. And yet all of this appeals to me.
What I cannot abide is the crudely painted over head badge. Someone in the last couple of decades decided to blob on model paint, a grim parody of the original lettering. I feel strongly that this must be rectified!
Paint thinner removes this atrocity, but it also removes the underlying graphic. I could order replacement transfers from Britain for cheaper, but I choose instead to have a new printing done. As a recovering graphic designer I find myself enticed by the challenge of recreating the insignia (my art is at the top of this post.) The build will be comprised of components that also show use, but I will allow myself this one indulgence, this one vanity, and otherwise respect a record narrated by the beausage of the frame.