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#890046 09/04/22 8:21 pm
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DavidW Offline OP
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Hi all,

Long time lurker, first time poster. My apologies if this has been covered, but I can't seem to find anything using the search function. I have a '56 Clubman with a beat up tank and I'm hoping to get it restored - dent removal and interior cleaned and sealed and then refinished if necessary. I'm in the northeast US. I'm wondering if anyone has any experience having this work done or would have any recommendations. I'm attaching some pics (hopefully.)

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David

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David, Thanks for upgrading to Premium. Look to the right just under your display name there is a hourglass, click on it to do your serach.
Good luck

Last edited by Morgan aka admin; 09/04/22 9:06 pm.

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David: I do not have a source for the repairs but are you looking to restore the chrome or just have it painted silver?

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Ross Thompson (Ontario, Canada) was THE place to go in North America but he retired around 2017 I believe. Before I sent a tank to Ross I looked around and found a couple of places in England that advertised as capable of that work. Best bet might be look up a few places in the back of Classic Bike mag or comparable and ask around this site to see if any of them come highly recommended. If you want it back to original it has to be stripped of paint, de-chromed, fixed, polished, re-chromed, polished and then painted. There are a lot of steps.
If you want all silver (non-original) there would be less steps and money saved.

Last edited by Dave - North of 60; 09/05/22 1:32 am.

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1957 BSA Gold Star - work in progress
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DavidW Offline OP
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I'd like to bring it back to original so I understand it'll be quite a process. I'll check out Classic Bike, thanks, although I'd love to avoid sending it overseas.

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Unfortunately, Ross Thompson passed away a few years ago.

He did several jobs for me. In my opinion, he was the best tank restorer in the world.

Last edited by Irish Swede; 09/05/22 11:35 am. Reason: Mis-spelled word.
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While you are looking for a tank restoration shop why not start working on it, will save $$ in the long run. Remove the paint....the fact that it was painted all silver suggests to me that there may be more damage that you can't see....bondo, lead fill, etc. are real possibilities. Can also tackle the inside - I just used vinegar to clean out an old (Mercury marine) gas tank, worked like a charm and cheap. Lots of YouTube videos for instruction. Don't have to worry about the paintwork.
Completing the above will give you a better idea of the task ahead.
Long ago, when first purchased, my DBD had a beautiful black lacquered tank...it looked fantastic (but not original).....one day I just couldn't stand it and started with paint removal...the horrors that were revealed!! At least three generations of Bondo, lead fill, brazing and evidence of grinding. Dent count of around 17...looked like it had been used as a soccer ball! I sent it to Ross. He told me the metal was too thin due to grinding on the right side, right dab in the middle of the chrome panel, he had to cut out a section and weld in a new piece. I was super skeptical of what that would look like...but when the tank finally returned (he also looked after chroming, painting and hand-lining) it was immaculate. As good or, more likely, better than brand new. He did amazing work!

Last edited by Dave - North of 60; 09/05/22 5:41 pm.

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1977 Hercules GS175
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As above, you need to confirm that the tank is worth restoring. I had one tank that was too deeply pitted to re-chrome, the chromer said that it would be too difficult to re-chrome. I acquired the tank I use now from Supreme Motorcycles in Leicester about 20 years ago. It had been opened up underneath on one underside, the dents had been knocked out I bought it nude. I had it chromed by Nuneaton Fine Finishers in Bedworth. Getting it painted took me a while as it sat in my bedroom wardrobe whilst other work was done. The painter had to gently blast the chrome to etch it where the paint was going to go to get proper adherence and a local artist who does custom tank work did the pinstripe.
All in all a lot of work. When I lived in the Midlands over 30 years ago there were many people around that could do this work for a reasonable fee, now there are many fewer.
As Dave says, strip it and find out what you have first, the fact that it is already painted all over is a red flag.

Last edited by Neil1964; 09/05/22 8:30 pm.
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I guess the photo's aren't that great, but it's not painted all over. the sides are chrome, and that's where the dents are. I guess the best thing to do will be to strip the paint off regardless to see what else is going on.

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Originally Posted by DavidW
I guess the photo's aren't that great, but it's not painted all over. the sides are chrome, and that's where the dents are. I guess the best thing to do will be to strip the paint off regardless to see what else is going on.

Correct your first pics did no favours.
I am sure that the tank is worth restoring. Body filler on the painted bits is much less of an issue.
Hope that someone on your side of pond knows a good panel beater - there are some skilled people out there - somewhere!

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The two guys I know who worked on tanks (now both retired) required the tank be stripped down to bare metal. Chrome comes off easily, brass also yields to chemicals but nickel can be a real bitch to remove. I have spent many hours stripping nickel with a sanding disk attached to a hand drill. It requires a lot of patience as you want to remove the nickel and not the base metal. I have seen renovated tanks that looked really nice but the metal was so thin you could press it in with your finger. That would be OK for a static display bike but I would not want to put gas in a tank like that and go for a ride.


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Are you restoring the whole bike? If not, for the cost and time I would just use that tank. The chrome and paint looks good, it's mostly the crease that looks like it came loose in a trailer and feel on the side rail. f you do the tank make sure they are very skilled at steel work. Creases are harder to get smooth as they "stretch" the metal so getting them out and getting the steel back smooth w/o waves takes an experienced hand. You might try Steve Hall in Connecticut.


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I did a quick search on the net....saw a place called Jersey Dents in your area. Says they do gas tank repair...might be a start to your search....
In the UK found: https://www.motorcycledentremoval.co.uk/
and: http://www.cwclassic.co.uk/
I imagine there are more out there....

Last edited by Dave - North of 60; 09/06/22 6:01 pm.

1958 BSA DBD Gold Star Clubman
1957 BSA Gold Star - work in progress
1965 Ducati 250 Scrambler
1971 Ducati 250 Mk3
1977 Hercules GS175
1981 Ducati Mike Hailwood Replica
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I have a call into Jersey Dents, so I'll see what they say. The bike was restored a couple of years ago and, yes, you nailed it on the head. the bike fell over during transport and landed on the side rail of the pickup truck frown

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Then there’s Dent Hogs in Georgia. Guy does amazing paintless motorcycle fuel tank repair.

Not cheap but amazing results.

Last edited by Gordon Gray; 09/06/22 6:45 pm.

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The creases in the chrome will always be apparent no matter how good the repair is made because of the change in the microstructure where the dent was and if stripped & rechromed it will look even worse due to weird disturbances to the electrical fields caused by bending and bending back again.
If you decide to go for an all paint finish then of course you can cover it .
It is usually beter to get an old tank that was painted, strip the paint & plate than to attempt to replate an old plated tank .


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Disturbances in the electrical fields ? I own a number of chromed tanks that were worse than the subject tank and now look perfectly fine. It is definitely skilled work to metal work a tank to be re-chromed but people have been doing it to good effect for years. Lot of potential for disaster in each phase of stripping, metal working and chroming but can still be done if you can find people who know what they're doing.


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I'm with slow learner.
I have several tanks which were much worse and they were repaired locally with excellent results and are chrome plated.

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David : In this link if you scroll down a bit there is a photo I posted of a ZB34GS scrambles tank that was worst than yours and fixed by the late Ross Thompson. It is virtually perfect and too nice to paint even the center section.

Gordo

https://www.britbike.com/forums/ubbthreads.php/topics/377292/my-almost-complete-zb34a#Post377292


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Originally Posted by slow learner
Disturbances in the electrical fields ? I own a number of chromed tanks that were worse than the subject tank and now look perfectly fine. It is definitely skilled work to metal work a tank to be re-chromed but people have been doing it to good effect for years. Lot of potential for disaster in each phase of stripping, metal working and chroming but can still be done if you can find people who know what they're doing.

It depends how hard you look
polished up very shiny with a lot of wax will hide a lot of sins
To overcome the galvanic repulsion you need to start with a very heavy soap polish then a chemical copper dip then a heavy copper plate then a polish then the nickle
Albury Electroplaters do it down here but the the over riders on the Shadow were $ 1800 a piece
You are welcome to head the warning or ignore the warning.
It is your bike not mine and your money not mine .


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