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Old Bottom Bracket shell ID - from strange clean out

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Old Bottom Bracket shell ID - from strange clean out

Old 06-24-20, 04:38 AM
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barnfind
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Old Bottom Bracket shell ID - from strange clean out

I found this along with a few others just like it over the weekend on a clean out.
Some old timer had passed away about 10 years ago and his wife, (more like his kids), wanted all his bike 'junk' removed.
It was one of the strangest clean outs I've done. Nearly everything was in the house and attached breezeway.
The guy had bike parts hanging everywhere in just about every room of the house.
Three helpers and myself removed 27 metal milk crates full of bicycle hubs from the living room alone. Each hub was cut out of a rim, most with the spoke ends still hanging on the hub. About 3/4 of them are Sturmey Archer, the rest are a split between old Bendix and New Departure. In the attached garage we found five plastic barrels full of more hubs, mostly all 50s or older, with a ton of black wartime ND hubs.
There were bike parts in the basement, attic, all three bedrooms, the living room, breezeway, garage, and in the kitchen.
The place smelled like oil and grease, from his cleaning parts in tubs in the house.
I was going to snap a few pics but didn't really get the right chance, the wife was following us around the whole time, sort of nervous about us taking everything.
Her daughter and two sons were making sure we didn't miss anything. We removed two 26ft box trucks full plus two 14ft enclosed trailer loads from that house, plus all the smalls I put in the cab and bed of my truck.

The guy had these bottom brackets hanging all over, this one was sitting on an end table in the living room. They were turning up all over the place as we carried boxes and bags out of the house. Nearly every one is English, this one has a Bayliss Wiley bottom bracket with a 14 crank axle. Not sure why it was on the TV stand, but we found others in bedroom drawers, in closets, hanging from bent spokes in the floor joists down stairs, and even a few in the kitchen.
The end result is a pile of boxes I'll likely be still sorting through a year from now.

I was just curious as to what he cut up here, the cups aren't stuck, both move freely, so I'm assuming he broke them free before cutting it out of the frame. The inside of this one is super clean, I can read the numbers on the axle through the down tube. There's also a box of rear dropouts cut off frames the same way, plus a dozen or so head tubes with the forks still installed but with the blades sawed off.





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Old 06-24-20, 07:35 AM
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Strange indeed
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Well look what the cat dragged in. Such a fine addition to the thread





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Old 06-24-20, 08:19 AM
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Did you find the Sawzall or chop saw with metal cutting blade, or a bunch of hacksaws? This fellow ( I donít care for the word old-timer, that was someoneís grandfather, as we may all become if weíre lucky) obviously liked cutting up bikes, maybe partly for scrap.
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Old 06-24-20, 08:24 AM
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I think mech986 got it right.
There was a time when scrap steel was worth something and old bicycle parts worth close to nothing.
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Old 06-24-20, 09:19 AM
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I wonder if the air quality in that house might have been what killed the guy(?).

Worst-case "indoor-air" scenario, health-wise.

Anyone with lots of bikes/stuff (like tires) that perhaps share air space with a dwelling should be wary of this issue!

I purposefully neglected to route any AC/heating ducting to my bike storage room, and I keep tires bagged up as they out-gas badly.

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Old 06-24-20, 12:23 PM
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If you pull the spindle out, you could at least use it as a pen holder. Bonus points if you find a way to use the grease fitting.
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Old 06-24-20, 12:43 PM
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All of the bb shells are old, 1950's or older by the look of them, (all have the oil port). From what I gathered, he was pretty old when he died, late 80's or better.
He passed away nearly 10 years ago according to his daughter.
If he was doing it for scrap, why bother saving the bottom brackets and shells? T Every one of the cut bb shells have 129mm long crank axles, that tells me that these were most likely double chainring bikes, not three speeds.
There were very few derailleur bike parts compared to the amount of coaster brake and three speed parts. There were some early Suntour and Huret derailleurs but only a few boxes of them.
There were complete wheelsets and complete framesets in the attic, most were mid 50's to mid 60's 26x1 3/8" or early 26" balloon tire frames. None of the cut bb shells were American. I thought at first maybe he just didn't know how to take them apart, but we did find boxes of used bottom brackets bagged and tagged in the basement. Nearly every bb was from English bikes. All but a couple of wheelsets were steel. Even after all the parts were removed, the house still smelled like grease and mineral spirits. He had several small plastic one or two gallon parts washers he was using to clean parts with. We found several 1 gallon jugs with chains in them filled with gas, and a few more in the house filled with kerosene or diesel fuel. There were two bike stands, one in the breezeway and one in the basement. It also looked like they were heating the house with kerosene heaters, there was on in each room and several electric space heaters. All the plumbing in the basement was wrapped with heat tape.
There were piles of rotten tires up in the attic above the garage. both garage door were bolted shut and there were bikes hanging from the door tracks. There are hundreds of boxes and dozens of barrels that I've not even opened up yet, it'll likely take a year to sort through it all.
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Old 06-24-20, 01:28 PM
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Those BW cups and spindles are hard steel, great quality. I installed a set of those same cups in my Specialized Crossroads 2 weeks ago.
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Old 06-24-20, 01:58 PM
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Originally Posted by seedsbelize View Post
Strange [days] indeed
Most peculiar, mama! Wo!
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Old 06-24-20, 02:34 PM
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I love reading about this sort of thing but then thought of owning any giant pile of stuff like that makes me anxious. If you like older 3 speeds then you are set for life. Post some of the treasures you've found.
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Old 06-24-20, 03:34 PM
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Thanks for posting, this is the most interesting bike hoarder story I think I've ever heard. I'd love to see some pics of the parts.
I'm not sure where the posters are going with the scrapping metal angle. As someone with experience scrapping steel and aluminum, you don't clean it in mineral spirits and store it in your house.

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Old 06-24-20, 05:39 PM
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I really don't think there was any intent to scrap anything, he even saved the rotten tires and old cables.
The boxes marked with particular bike models look like he tore a bike apart, stuffed everything in the box, good or bad and either stored the frame and wheels or got rid of it. The boxes aren't marked whether the bikes were men's or ladies models, so he may well have been just parting out ladies models and keeping the men's models. I did ask the wife if he sold bikes and she looked at my funny and said "He never sold anything, EVER".
She didn't seem to see anything wrong with having a house full of old bike parts. Let alone dirty greasy parts.
He was cleaning and boxing parts but the clean parts were mixed in with the dirty parts, he had one box marked Misc. British Headsets, inside the box were about 10 bags of used headsets, and one bag of brand new Raleigh headsets. About half the used headsets were cleaned and bagged, each one wrapped up in newspaper with the bearings in small bags. I just opened a box full of prewar pedals and found another chopped bb shell. Another box was full of new 1" pitch chain rings, plus about 20 'new in the package' Diamond brand 1" pitch chains.

I also found this today, an odd width 1" pitch, 1/8" wide, block chain. It won't fit on most chainwheels, only the thinnest of them. Its sort of crudely made, the inner links are just stamped steel and measure .125" thick, making them an interference fit on a true 1/8" thick chainwheel. Each inner link has a slight curve to the one side due to the way it was punched out. It fits on a few thin chrome versions I've got here but none of the heavier gauge ones. It was in an unmarked box along with a a bunch of Bayliss Wiley cups and crank axles, plus a few odd English headsets.
There was also a big bag of axle adjusters, like those used on track bikes in the same box, maybe 50 pair or so new in a bag, plus about 100 used or slightly rusty ones. The chain is long, too long to be just a normal balloon tire bike chain, I didn't measure it or count all the links but its roughly 6.5ft long.


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Old 06-24-20, 06:33 PM
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This feels like deja vu, must have been six years ago that someone else here at C&V had almost exactly the same story as this haul!

I even had to check the posting date more than once, thinking this must be that same horde, similar vintage with 3-speeds and all.

I'm thinking that there had to be some sort of investment angle to the whole thing, like perhaps a period of time where a generation/style of bikes were being tossed out right and left, ...and the good parts had to be saved.

I similarly have boxes of things like 110mm bcd cranksets and 7s drivetrain gear that comes from all of the good 1990-ish bikes that people get rid of these days.
I still even have pairs of new 26" wheels that I hand-built, in addition to many other pairs.

The tires in the attic probably looked more like new when this man put them up there, just that he perhaps didn't take into account the effects of heat and smoggy air.

Anyway, it's good to hear that all of this stuff didn't just go straight to the dump!
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Old 06-24-20, 08:46 PM
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Anytime you come across a huge hoard like that its bound to be a bit strange, especially when they start running out of room to keep things.
I've had houses, barns, chicken coops, and school buses filled with parts that I cleaned out over the years.
The biggest challenge is moving it all and then getting it all sorted and organized so its of some use.
I find that about half of most hauls like that are dead items in most cases but once in a while you get surprised.
The older the collector, generally the older the items you find. When your talking 40's and 50's items, your likely looking at collections that started 60 years ago or more so you have no idea what you could find in there.

That hub shell reminds me of a late 40's Raleigh I had here a few years ago, it had the same color paint, same arched Made in England.
Maybe the guy had some idea of reusing the bb shell? If it was loose, he obviously had the tools and means to take it apart yet he saved it whole.
Block chains like that were usually racing chains but that one does look narrower than most I've seen.
One place I cleaned out up in NY had a full roll of 1" pitch x 3/16" chain. I sold the whole role to a collector in the midwest.
Old skip tooth or 1in pitch chain is getting hard to find, so that alone is likely worth your time, plus all the SA parts. They don't make any of that stuff anymore so its only going to get rarer.

I cleaned out a place 16 years ago that was packed up like that, the guy had his house, garage, and barn stuffed to the rafters. It was mostly bikes and old parts but I did manage to turn a small profit in the end with the few new old stock parts and a bunch of vintage carbide headlights and ooga horns. Each time I swore it was the last big load but they keep coming. I got a guy with a huge 'collection' waiting for me to get the time to go check it out. The last time I was there he was skinning chipmunks and squirrels he caught in various traps around his property. At that time he had bikes, parts and tools stored all over his wooded property. He had old campers, trucks, buses, cars, and outhouses packed with old bike parts. He was living in an old slide in camper body because he had filled his house with bike parts. An old bread truck was his workshop. Back then he didn't want to let anything go, but he had dozens of rod brake bikes, and quite a few prewar wood rim bikes in decent condition. He was older, likely in his 70's or so.

Now, anyone who lives with greasy bike parts all over the house with the smell of grease and parts washer fluid in the house makes for a special type of strange. Rest assured though its not likely to be the last, and its not likely to be the strangest place you've seen. There's always one just a bit worse than the last out there waiting to be found. There's always one just a bit stranger right down the road.
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Old 06-24-20, 11:37 PM
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The only reason I mentioned the cut steel tubes going for scrap was because I didnít hear of you finding piles of frames or frame tubing still there. Frames and wheels take up the most space aside from whole bikes so if this fellow derived some type of pleasure or obsession from taking things apart and saving some of it, the frame tubing is either there on the propert as fence posts, a calliope, or some other odd use or as a pile of rusting metal. Otherwise it may have been carted off to scrapyard or landfill. Conservation of mass and all that.

As for why, itís complicated as we all know. Depression era lessons, grandiose belief in nothing should be wasted, obsessive hoarding of all kinds of things, some useful, many not, much eventually becomes obsolete or fodder for other collectors or restorers, IF they can be matched up. Having or projecting some type of control of their own little (or large) world, constantly being unable to say ďNoĒ to the next donation or persistent landfill / transfer station run. Itís mostly a compulsion and a lot of twisted, many times irrational logic (or lack of logic), and an inability to stop or let go.

In time, hoarders literally become slaves to their hoarded stuff. It pretty bizarre and sad what people can do to themselves. And itís fairly likely this guy didnít ride bikes very much if at all so didnít derive the health benefits of it, although give him credit for living into his 80ís.
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Old 06-25-20, 01:41 PM
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We didn't find any loose tubes but there were a few hammered into the walls being used to hang tires and other parts but none of those pieces on the wall looked like they came from any of the old bb shells.
I'm not sure this guy falls into any normal class of hoarder, his obsession seemed to be in taking them apart and stock piling the parts more than just the bikes.
None of the bikes were in primo shape, there was no holy grail there and not a single one bike that was even 100% mechanically. A few may have been but they likely have been sitting for 50 years untouched in the basement. He had a glass bead cabinet, two huge buffers, two 8" wire wheel grinders, and a 6" wire wheel.
There was also an old tub enclosure in one corner of the basement with a garden hose run to it, the thing was caked with grease and smelled like solvent. There was half a five gallon jug of hydroflouric acid there too and a bunch of brass brushes. It looked like he was cleaning chrome there and pumping the waste water out the window with a sump pump in the tub. (One basement window pane was removed and a piece of plywood with a hose glued into it was in its place. The hose ran outside into the flower bed behind the house. I hate to be the next owners of that house, with all the oil and grease ground into the carpets and wood floors, and all the solvents and cleaners dumped in the back yard, its probably going to need a toxic clean up. My guess is the guy was at this for a good 50 or 60 years, they said the house was built in '46 and they were the original owners. It sounded like he built the house after coming home after WWII.
I didn't know the guy, but I heard of him and I think he used to buy parts from a buddies bike shop back in the day. They told me if he were still alive he would have been 98 this year, so its not likely his environment was the cause of his demise.
I didn't find any painting equipment, but here were several small air compressors, one in the garage, a small one in the breezeway, and another medium sized compressor in the basement, large enough I suppose to run the blast cabinet. I'm not sure what he was glass beading or sand blasting, but that whole corner was covered in dust. The one area of the basement was covered in sawdust, and that was tracked all over the house. He had a table saw, router table, and radial arm saw down there too, it looked like he used sawdust to absorb the oil on the floor. There were also hundreds of jars of cut up inner tubes. Someone had sat for hours cutting up old inner tubes into rubber bands. There's at least three bushels of inner tube rubber bands. Just looking at the pile of jars that got unloaded yesterday from the trailer I counted 477 mayonnaise jars full of rubber bands and other small parts. I'm sure that's not all of them, it was only what came out of the four barrels I wheeled out of the trailer yesterday.
I'm not even close to being through the first load. I'm just trying to free up some space and sort of triage the stuff to try and compact it a bit. I've already filled two huge barrels with trash and two more with scrap metal. Rusty bearings, bent axles, crushed low end bike fenders, rotten tires, and old cables have to go. The pile of good parts though is growing pretty fast. Just the new Sturmey Archer parts alone made it worth the trip.
There's likely a lifetime supply of SA and ND parts here. But I do see there's a few things missing in the assortments, there's almost no ND axle nuts, and there's very few SA AW axles. There's plenty of hub shells, and all the other parts.
There's also a four huge boxes of disassembled freewheels, a box for each brand, Suntour, Atom, Rigina, and Cyclo.
I found four boxes of old hand grips, each one having been cut off with a razor blade. Not a one of them were of any use. But there were 9 boxes of good used grips though. There are also a lot of odd single grips with no mate. My guess is he cut the first grip off, then saved the second one. There are few dozen new grips as well.
There was also a huge box of used bar tape, the old plastic kind. At first thought I figured that may just be trash but some of it may be usable in a pinch. Especially some of the odd colors. I also found 11 boxes of foam bar grips, the kind used in the 90's on so many bikes.
There's two 55 gallon barrels of greasy, used bike chain. That's also not counting the dozens of gallon jugs with chain that's soaking in either oil or solvent.
My first gut reaction is to dump the dirty chain but with good US made chain being hard to find these days, I may have to deal with sorting through it.
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Old 06-25-20, 07:03 PM
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OMG!................ "Someone had sat for hours cutting up old inner tubes into rubber bands. There's at least three bushels of inner tube rubber bands. Just looking at the pile of jars that got unloaded yesterday from the trailer I counted 477 mayonnaise jars full of rubber bands and other small parts" WOW! ,,,,,, (and I thought I had problems).
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Old 06-25-20, 11:20 PM
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Originally Posted by ramzilla View Post
OMG!................ "Someone had sat for hours cutting up old inner tubes into rubber bands. There's at least three bushels of inner tube rubber bands. Just looking at the pile of jars that got unloaded yesterday from the trailer I counted 477 mayonnaise jars full of rubber bands and other small parts" WOW! ,,,,,, (and I thought I had problems).
I felt sure that "477" was a typo(?).

Are the rubber bands still good???

477 jars wouldn't take hours. It would require rest days.
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Old 06-25-20, 11:32 PM
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Come to think of it, I have a few good-sized boxes of various old, dirty cassettes and chains, which would have value if it was all clean.

Does anyone here know of an economical (mostly time-wise) way of bulk-cleaning these parts?

I've tried soaking in various solvents but I find that the deposits vary quite a bit in their chemistry such that some of this stuff does not respond to various solvents.

I've even considered using a hot-tank setup followed by a fixture that would let me use my pressure washer on them.
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Old 06-26-20, 05:08 AM
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Originally Posted by dddd View Post
Come to think of it, I have a few good-sized boxes of various old, dirty cassettes and chains, which would have value if it was all clean.


Does anyone here know of an economical (mostly time-wise) way of bulk-cleaning these parts?


I've tried soaking in various solvents but I find that the deposits vary quite a bit in their chemistry such that some of this stuff does not respond to various solvents.


I've even considered using a hot-tank setup followed by a fixture that would let me use my pressure washer on them.

I get very good results from soaking parts in diesel fuel. I usually just soak one set of bike parts at a time. Place parts in a sealed rubbermade primary container with about 1-1/2 liters diesel. Then, place sealed container inside a larger plastic secondary container (plastic kitty litter tray) . Wear eye protection & use elbow length nitrile gloves & toothbrush to scrub parts. Does an absolutely amazing job removing corrosion. However, it's a little tricky with anodized parts. I usually just give anodized parts a quick rinse. If you let anodized parts soak for a few days it doesn't harm the finish but, it can actually change the color of the finish.
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Old 06-26-20, 07:29 PM
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Originally Posted by dddd View Post
I felt sure that "477" was a typo(?).

Are the rubber bands still good???

477 jars wouldn't take hours. It would require rest days.
Not a typo, in fact there's likely more since I've not gone through more than 3/4 of the barrels and more than half the boxes he had packed, let alone boxes we packed up during the move.
At first, we all sort of looked at each other when we saw all the cut up inner tubes and jars of 'rubber bands', but then I thought, "They must have eaten a lot of mayonnaise".
There's other jars too, all sizes, the walls of the garage and the shelves in the basement, plus dozens of boxes are full of jars full of parts. So far, everything in the jars is either new, or has been cleaned.
I found one box of small relish and pickle jars that were full of chain links, one with rivets, one with inner links, one with outer links, and a set of these jars for every type of chain. imaginable that it appears he took apart and sorted out in jars. The good thing is, I'll likely never have to hunt for a master link again.

Some of the mayo jars full of rubber bands are pretty old, the kind that have the brand molded right into the glass, and some are plastic. We stacked the jars in boxes and a couple of 55 gallon drums, We started out kind of rough sorting things but soon realized we just needed to pack and load the truck fast and get it done. I only had the trucks for the weekend.

Most of the cut up tube bands seem fine, but they were sealed up in jars. Some of them look pretty old, the older jars have mostly big tubes cut up, likely old balloon tire bike tubes. The one in the pic below looks like road bike tubes. I actually pulled that one out of the mix so I could band up some of the loose spokes he had marked with paper bands or masking tape.

I didn't get to spend any time today on the pile but did get rid of a few of the bikes. The scrap pile is also growing.
Frames with dents or obvious damage or rust are getting tossed, so far about 40 have hit the scrap pile. A few had welds and repairs, but a few are super clean. There's a few Raleigh Sports frame with down tube dings that may be fixable, the dings are very light. A lot of them have kickstand damage from over tightening. There's a full 50 gallon Rubber made trash can full of complete Sturmey Archer AW internal assemblies. Each one is clean and in a zip lock back.

Not only is there a lack of handlebars, there's very few saddles, but there are hundreds of seat posts. The pile of chain guards would fill a pickup bed.



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Old 06-26-20, 07:54 PM
  #22  
repechage
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Originally Posted by dddd View Post
Come to think of it, I have a few good-sized boxes of various old, dirty cassettes and chains, which would have value if it was all clean.

Does anyone here know of an economical (mostly time-wise) way of bulk-cleaning these parts?

I've tried soaking in various solvents but I find that the deposits vary quite a bit in their chemistry such that some of this stuff does not respond to various solvents.

I've even considered using a hot-tank setup followed by a fixture that would let me use my pressure washer on them.
long gone in So Cal but in the old days that is what you did- take engine parts to the auto parts store with the machine shop and they would toss them in a wire basket and hot tank them... cheap.
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Old 06-26-20, 07:58 PM
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Actually all the busy work probably made the old guy happy and feeling industrious.

last time I saw a bottom bracket cut out of a frame the kid was trying to sell the whole thing with the attached Campagnolo cranks for $15.
Hot, Hot, hot.
he was bummed I was not interested
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Old 06-27-20, 12:22 AM
  #24  
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The EPA pretty much banned all those old school parts washers around here, there was a time when every parts store and machine shop had a caustic tank and spray washer, Now all they have is ultrasonic cleaners, and bead blasters.
I have a medium sized ultrasonic cleaner but I've never been very impressed with it. Nothing works as fast as gasoline, but cleaning parts in gas is both expensive and they end up smelling like gas. Mineral spirits is the happy medium but it takes a lot of scrubbing.
When I clean heavily encrusted parts like old chains, derailleurs, and chain wheels, I dunk them in gas, then wash them in the ultrasonic cleaner. If there's any rust, I'll soak them in Evapo-Rust after degreasing them. On chrome, sometimes I'll use wire wheel cleaner, but its rare.

Your pics look like a lot of the smaller jars contain complete headsets or BB bearing sets, either new or that have been cleaned.
I also found a few jars of tubes that were cut up in 1 inch squares, so I guess he was making his own tube patches too.

Last edited by oldspokes; 06-27-20 at 06:55 AM.
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Old 06-27-20, 03:31 PM
  #25  
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My small ultrasonic cleaner is enough for me, I really don't want some huge parts tank to maintain. If I have to waste a couple of gallons of gas every so often, so be it, it beats dealing with a parts washer tank inside. The ultrasonic cleaner is okay but not great, it depends on the cleaners I use. The cleaners that work the best are likely harder on the machine and harder to clean up. Castrol Super Clean or Simple Green work the best for me but they're not much good on heavy grease. I've also used lacquer thinner in smaller containers submerged in the regular fluid but only in small quantities.
Diesel or kerosene work as cleaners but not as fast as gasoline or mineral spirits, and never in the ultrasonic cleaner. All of these have a lot of odor to deal with. I don't want that in my garage at home.

I think using jars for storing parts is pretty common, I've cleaned out a dozen places now and nearly every one has had screws, bearings, and such in jars, but this is the first with jars full of cut up inner tubes. One or two jars is one thing but someone obviously sat there and cut up thousands of them, then took the time to sort them all out and save them in jars for all these years. Not only was it a lot of work, it took up a lot of space. I'm finding more and more jars of them as well, not counting all the bands holding things like spokes and fenders together.

One barrel I just opened up is full of nothing but fender stays, mostly the round wire type, with a few flat steel, prewar type as well.
Another barrel is all seat posts, another all stems. The barrel of stems is nearly all prewar and older Wald stems. One barrel which we thought was all chain guards turned out to have about 2 ft of steel English crank sets in the bottom. I guess it was getting to heavy with the steel cranks so he put chain guards on top?
One barrel is full of lights, all sorts of misc. headlights, generator sets, tail lights, etc. There's a full barrel of what looks to be all SA AW hubs, plus the stacks of milk crates full of the same, plus other brand hubs in other various color milk crates.
As I open cardboard boxes I'm finding more hubs that were packed away in boxes marked as coming from a particular bike too.
I found several boxes of used Atom freewheels, each one had a tag on it saying what it came off of. Some chain rings are boxed up with matching chains and freewheels too, along with the derailleurs and cables from the same bike. Another box that I opened had 300 small pill bottles, each full of loose bearings, and under those was a pile of old silver teaspoons. Another box had Schwinn BB bearings all stored in old striped glasses from the 60's, all cleaned and wrapped up in newspaper. ( unwrapped a few and found a date of 1971 on one of the pieces of newspaper). In the same box was also two mayo jars full of cut up inner tubes. Another box was full of 80mm reach SR road stems, and two tubes of tooth paste. Each stem was in an old argyle sock. Maybe he was using the tooth paste to polish the stems? One jar we found, that I think came from his work area in the basement had mostly all Bendix coaster brake shoes in it, plus an old broken Timex watch, another was a mix of loose change and serrated axle washers.
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