1939 Firestone Flying Ace


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Mr. Monkeyarms

Finally riding a big boys bike
Oct 30, 2018
456
1,273
Colorado
#1
Happy Thanksgiving!!
I have had a pretty crazy year. Work has a tendency to consume me, had a car accident in May that I probably should not have survived and got my Daughter married in September. With 3 days off last month and decided to take advantage of a long weekend and decent weather. Instead of traveling to enjoy time with my family, I would hole up in the garage (with my other loved one's, Lol!) and attempt to build another bike and get some much needed therapy....

I picked up this one year only project from a friend and member of the Denver Old Bikes Club at Veloswap last year. It was updated in the early '50s judging by the Bendix lever operated 2 speed wheelset with New Departure front hub. It had girls handlebars and the seat is pretty jacked up and missing upholstery.
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It was also barn painted when last fixed up. The original paint had been stripped before the new paint was applied as well.
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I considered my options as to how I want to make this a rider again and decided to sand the brush marks out of the barn painted and try to replicate the original paint scheme by adding ivory stripes between the ribs of the tank and the darts in the chainguard. I will then blend the new paint and any newly exposed metal to match the age of the bike.

Got the bike broke down.
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Started sanding the frame and got the front triangle done before calling it a day to have some Thanksgiving dinner. Need to finish the frame, the right side of the tank and chainguard in the morning. Should be warm enough to get some paint on them and they can cure while I sand the rest of the parts. Want to have that done tomorrow.

Cold, rain/snow on Saturday will be spent cleaning/rebuilding hubs, bottom bracket and headset. True wheels Sunday and assemble.

That's the plan anyway. Should get a coat of wax on the paint too. Plus all chrome parts were brush painted with silver paint that needs to be removed. Looks like decent chrome underneath.

This is pretty ambitious to get done in a long weekend so we will see. If needed, I have a garage full of parts so Plan B through ??? may need to be employed to have a rider at the end of the weekend. And after some much needed Garage Therapy a big smile!

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Krakatoa

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
Oct 12, 2016
3,297
4,727
Warren, RI, United States
#3
First time I have seen the inside of that tank style before thanks for posting! Can you get a few more pictures especially the tail end where it goes past the seat tube, in the one picture it looks like the end of the tank is cut off?
 

Mr. Monkeyarms

Finally riding a big boys bike
Oct 30, 2018
456
1,273
Colorado
#4
First time I have seen the inside of that tank style before thanks for posting! Can you get a few more pictures especially the tail end where it goes past the seat tube, in the one picture it looks like the end of the tank is cut off?
I will get some better pictures tomorrow that show the tail end of the tank. It's essentially part of the frame. Only the right side comes off.
 
Likes: Krakatoa

Mr. Monkeyarms

Finally riding a big boys bike
Oct 30, 2018
456
1,273
Colorado
#5
So, have you ever had one if those builds that doesn't go the way you planned?:relaxed:

I want to the garage all excited to get back to work. I wiped off the residue of the wet sanding I started yesterday to see that there were a few areas under the house paint that actually had original paint hiding.:oops: I decided to try removing the house paint to see what was left of the original paint and tried every method I could think of and any other hint I could find on the Cabe. Some if the house paint came off using packing tape. Some flaked off with a
fingernail. Goof off, iven cleaner, mineral spirits, acetone did nothing. The only thing I found that worked took off ALL paint, including the little original paint that was left. I have a small scraper (going very slowly)that would remove the house paint and leave what little original paint that was left. And what was left is in very poor shape. Slightly better than dust. I kinda understand why someone tried painting it. Only got part of the frame scraped.

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Sorry for the poor pics. My phone doesn't take good pics in low light. Basically, the brown areas are what's left of the Dayton Carmine (Maroon) original paint.

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(Inside of tank wiped down with oily rag)

I'm a bit embarrassed that I didn't realize there was any original paint left. All the exposed areas are clean metal that I thought was brush painted. Not sure what direction to take now but think I will continue the laborious task of removing the rest of the red house paint to try to save the little original paint that is left.

Any suggestions? I'm an experienced bike guy but a bit stumped at the moment.
 
Last edited:

Mr. Monkeyarms

Finally riding a big boys bike
Oct 30, 2018
456
1,273
Colorado
#6
Ok! Quick update for those of you left watching. A couple pics of the frame around the seat post cluster to show how the tank is attached to this unique Huffman as requested by Krakatoa.
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Now to where I left off yesterday. With the surprise of finding some original paint under the house paint I tried several methods to remove the house paint without disturbing the original with limited success. The original paint is so dry and frail, drastic measures were taken to save as much as possible.

Illustration of exposed original paint.
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As you can see, what little is left is in bad shape.

I would have proceeded with my original plan but the paint on the left tank lifted with tape when I was masking to paint the ivory stripes. Hence trying to remove the house paint to expose what's left of the original. Some pics outside....
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Then a couple after wiping the revealed areas with an oily rag to see what it will look like in the end and to illustrate the color change from sun damage in what's left of the original paint.
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Time to get back to work finding more original paint.....

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Mr. Monkeyarms

Finally riding a big boys bike
Oct 30, 2018
456
1,273
Colorado
#10
Thanks for the kind words guys! :) Got the frame and rest of the tank stripped of house paint. Not much original paint left.:( And what is left is in real bad shape.
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I was using the back side of the scraper and rubbing with some good pressure and it all kind of flaked off. The original paint left has kind if a waxy feel. Pretty bummed.
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I will post some better pics in better light tomorrow of where this is at the moment. Since there is so little original paint left and it's in bad shape, not sure where to take this project. Got a few ideas...

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If the house paint hadn't lifted from the other side of the tank while trying to mask it to repaint the stripes, this would be how it looked more or less. A beat up version of the original color scheme. It would have allowed the use of a fender light that is just as rare as the bike, I believe, that I've had tucked away waiting for the right project...... It would have been spectacular on this in red/white! Even had a custom reflector picked out to top it off! ;)

Got some cyphering to do now with this different direction the bike has taken from my original plan.

When I thought it had been stripped before the house paint, I considered treating it like I did to this coolest chainguard Schwinn never chromed.
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(Chrome is expensive. So I stripped the paint I didn't need and polished the steel.)

We will see. Thanks again for the encouragement and hope you are enjoying my project!
 

Mr. Monkeyarms

Finally riding a big boys bike
Oct 30, 2018
456
1,273
Colorado
#12
Quick pic of the paint stripped from frame, tank, guard and a bit of the fender.
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Please note that my camera favors the red scale of the spectrum. The little original paint left is now actually a sun faded brown. I have a new plan to deal with this turn of events that are pretty much the same as my original plan for this. With a twist. :) It will just be more rat than I had planned, plus I think I can still use the aforementioned rare fender light without looking goofy.
:):) This makes me happy! Now I need to finish paint removal and keep my fingers crossed the edges of the fenders have as much original paint as possible to help make the rest of my intentions for this bike a bit easier.
Thanks again for checking on my progress and I appreciate all the feedback and encouragement!
 

Mr. Monkeyarms

Finally riding a big boys bike
Oct 30, 2018
456
1,273
Colorado
#13
Quick update!
Wanted to mention a unique feature of this bike. The seatpost binder bolt has a recess to allow the seatpost to be inserted in the seat tube. The seatpost also keeps the bolt from turning while tightening the nut.;)
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Using a regular bolt will not allow the post to be inserted.

The back of the fork crown is stamped 129. This is my first Hufmann machine and not sure what that means. I think I read somewhere on the Cabe that it was the day of the year the bike was assembled? Maybe I'm mistaken but recall it has some meaning.
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The 9 is kinda hard to see but it's there.

Hmm, let's see, seems like there was one other thing......






Barn paint removal is done!! :):)
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I think I may leave the red barn paint on the inside of the chainguard. Really happy the stripes on the rear fender are still pretty much there. The stripes between the ribs on the tank is masking tape to simulate the stripes I'm thinking of to help pull off using the fender light I have in mind.;) Going to dry brush those stripes and the front fender stripes to match the rear. Then just need to dig out a wheelset for a quick mock up to put my mind at ease. Thanks again for stopping by!!
 
Last edited:

stezell

I live for the CABE
May 8, 2014
1,430
1,405
Clarksville, TN, United States
#15
Mr. Monkeyarms do you happen to ride with Blu and the OBC crew? Because I know Blu has a bike like yours and I think the badge is the same. I like the old aircraft badges, pretty cool. I like your dry brush idea on the striping that's missing. Looking good man!

Sean
 
Likes: bikerbluz

Mr. Monkeyarms

Finally riding a big boys bike
Oct 30, 2018
456
1,273
Colorado
#16
Mr. Monkeyarms do you happen to ride with Blu and the OBC crew? Because I know Blu has a bike like yours and I think the badge is the same. I like the old aircraft badges, pretty cool. I like your dry brush idea on the striping that's missing. Looking good man!

Sean

Thanks Sean! Yeah, Blu is a good friend and has one of these bikes. I try to make it to as many OBC rides as possible. Great bunch of guys with some cool bikes and we have a good time in our monthly rides! :cool: Thank you for your comments!

Eric
 

Mr. Monkeyarms

Finally riding a big boys bike
Oct 30, 2018
456
1,273
Colorado
#17
Pile of paint from yesterday. This is from the rear fender and carrier.
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Truss rod diameter. 35/64"
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Dug out a wheelset and mounted 26"x2.5" tires to fill the fenders for a quick mock up while playing hooky. I dislike fender gap with a passion.
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I think this is going to work!:)
 

Mr. Monkeyarms

Finally riding a big boys bike
Oct 30, 2018
456
1,273
Colorado
#19
I think I like the barn red left on the inside of the chainguard too. Maybe why is, theme and variation? I dunno, but it seems to work.
Good job!

Thank you Boris! I'm liking it myself. A reminder of what this bike looked like when I started the nightmare of removing all that barn paint and a part of the bikes history. Plus it should match the custom reflector I need!!(if you have any left);)
 

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