Rolling out frame tube dents

I always wanted a Austro-Daimler Inter-10 and was surprised to see this one out on the curb for trash collection in the summer of 2004.


But of course the reason that it must have been in a serious garage space conflict with the previous owner. Giant ding on the downtube and a big handlebar ding as well.
As bad as the dents were, the frame was still in alignment, which made me think it was a static bump to the downtube that did the bike in.

So the frame got stripped, but I couldn't trash it - instead, up to the attic for FIVE YEARS!

I'd tried to fill in frame dents in the past, but the main problem is that it raises big eyebrows on the curved edge of the tube that are raised above the tube surface.
I'd heard of  rolling dents in the past, but finally decided to get a pair of Bicycle Research frame blocks in the appropriate size and try recovering the frame myself.

They're widely available, but I found the best price on http://www.bicycletool.com
These have also been recommended and have an even better price!  Paragon Machine Works
I needed a 1" dia for the top tube and a 1-1/8" for the downtube.

I couldn't find much on the web on how to do it, but what I did was:
1) Clean the dented area
2) Lube the tube and block with white grease (or whatever).
3) Clamp the tube lightly in the block in a well mounted vice.  Since the tube is oval thanks to the big eyebrows that the dent made, you start the tube oval spreading the two block pieces apart.
4) Then you start rotating the frame in the block, tightening the vice very slowly as the eyebrows get worked down (and if you're very lucky, the dent is pushed back out).
4.5) My big dent was so big that I had to work the frame back and fourth over the dent as I rotated it.
5) Eventually, the block split meets and the tube section is as round as it's going to get.
Here's a couple of warnings that I've gotten:
Don't try to straighten a bent frame by rolling out a bubble or wrinkle - like the one that forms under the neck after a front end crash.  That frame is seriously weakened and is trash.
Also, if the dent is close to the ends of the tube it could very well wrinkle instead of being worked out. That means the frame is toast as well.
6) There will likely be some filling to do after your work.  Braze and silver solder are recommended by lots of folks, but I've been told that many professional shops use polyester body filler.  I used liquid steel and spot putty myself, and managed a pretty good test by wacking the top tube handlebar dent good during assembly when the bike fell over!

One of the things that kept me from trying earlier was the idea of having to do a complete repaint on the frame.  I don't like repainted frames - and as much as I like Austro-Daimler, the frame probably isn't worth it, and one of the neat things about the A-D paint is the neat candy coffee-burgandy they finished many of  them in.
One night I was looking at some old Raleigh bikes and I realized that the contrasting color bands that Raleigh did on their top and down tubes with the make and model names would naturally COVER the two places that were dent prone.  What a neat idea for making a frame easy to maintain!

I did my paint with Krylon spray cans. I found the double gold pinstripe on a card at AutoZone.
Repro decal sets are available, and that will be next.

So here's a bunch of photos:
Rock it back and fourth. Slowly close the vice as the dent gets worked down.  
I've been told it's possible to just squeeze the dent out without rocking and without as much damage to the paint.  I haven't tried it yet.


Here's the giant dent after getting worked down.



Here's the two handlebar dents:


Rock, tighten, rock tighten, rock, repeat:


Here's what they looked like


The small one was just about gone.

Time to fill


Here's a couple of the frame after paint:
Maroon in the sun, coffee in the shade

Here's the giant dent


Here's what it looks like now.  It rides like a DREAM   Here's a link to a few detail shots of the bike


If you have more hints, tips or links to add - please send me mail by clicking here!

Rode it for my 63 miles @ 63 Birthday Ride