BO15 Dumpster Diamond (Formerly "First Ever Build Off with a Postwar Hawthorne")

Nov 24, 2019
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Bought this postwar Montgomery Ward/Hawthorne frame at the annual Springfield, Missouri swap meet for $20 with the intention of trading/flipping it, but I had been on the fence about possibly fixing it up. Well, since I don’t feel comfortable selling/trading my stash of unwanted bike stuff right now due to the pandemic, I’ve switched gears and decided to have some fun with what I’ve got. Like that song goes, “if you can’t find the one you love, honey, love the one you’re with!”

Funny enough, I had already disassembled everything earlier this Wednesday before I even knew the 2020 Build Off had started this month. I had to send it to a local shop first to straighten the frame out, due to my lack of fabrication skills and tools. (I hope that’s not against the rules.) I was supposed to get it back Thursday, but I haven’t heard back from the shop yet. I’ll be running by there on Monday, both to check on my bike, and to see if I can get a few other parts fixed.

Here's how it looked when I bought it.
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Here’s how it looked after applying some rubbing compound on it.
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Here's one of the bends in the frame I hope to get straightened out.
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I've got a few ideas of how I want to put this bike together, but I won't have any concrete ideas until I get both the frame and forks straightened back out.
 
Mar 26, 2012
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Welcome to the best vintage custom rat rod bike site on the internet!
These build offs are the best way to get fully 'into the mix' here with other builders.

You've got a great bike to start with, hope the straightening comes out right. Keep us posted with progress!

RaT oN~!
 

kingfish254

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Great bike to start with. Welcome to the build off madness!
 
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May 14, 2013
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Welcome abord !! Get out while ya can before the Rust Junkie sets in :21:
 
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Jan 21, 2009
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Welcome!

A 50-52 Snyder made Hawthorne? Just a guess, the serial number on the bottom bracket may have the date code.
42522_a1cb05d52c72fec01eed0d63208dd373 - Copy.jpg


I just sold mine, also a tall frame as they call it.
45096_4a5ffeefa77beed75823306a42fb7d2c.jpg

While most cruiser frames are 18", that's a 20" frame. I still have the fork and chain wheel reserved for my next bike, whenever I get to my new home. I tried a BMX style fork:
red1.jpg

I then mounted one of those cheaper springers on that frame, it worked well too.
nofenders.JPG
 
Nov 24, 2019
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Broken Arrow, Oklahoma
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Welcome!

A 50-52 Snyder made Hawthorne? Just a guess, the serial number on the bottom bracket may have the date code.View attachment 119913

I just sold mine, also a tall frame as they call it.View attachment 119912
While most cruiser frames are 18", that's a 20" frame. I still have the fork and chain wheel reserved for my next bike, whenever I get to my new home. I tried a BMX style fork:
View attachment 119914
I then mounted one of those cheaper springers on that frame, it worked well too.
View attachment 119915
I'm not sure what exact year and manufacturer my Hawthorne is. Once I get the frame back, I'll snap a photo of the bottom bracket and post the serial number here. I'm still fairly new to the hobby, and I don't know all the manufacturers vs. distributors outside of some post war Schwinns.

Also, when you say a frame is 18" or 20", what part of the frame are you measuring?
 
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Starnger

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I'm not sure what exact year and manufacturer my Hawthorne is. Once I get the frame back, I'll snap a photo of the bottom bracket and post the serial number here. I'm still fairly new to the hobby, and I don't know all the manufacturers vs. distributors outside of some post war Schwinns.

Also, when you say a frame is 18" or 20", what part of the frame are you measuring?
I believe it is the end of the seat tube to the center of the bottom bracket. That dimension is commonly referred to as "frame size" in bicycle world.
Welcome to the Build-off ;)
 
Nov 24, 2019
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Tons of pictures and a decent amount of progress today!

Okay, to start off, some "before" pictures of the forks and rear fender I intend to use before I get them fixed. The forks are slightly bent at the... stem? Is that what it's called? The fender is bent and dented and rusty, and although I don't think I'll be using the WHOLE fender, I'd rather see what it looks like dent-free before I bob anything.
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Fortunately, I got my frame back today. Turns out the guy who fixed it for me lost my number. I had hoped the paint would be left untouched, but it looks like he had to use some heat to fix everything. He claims he did the best he could, though I wasn't expecting to see even more dents in the seat tube than before. Still, at least it's dented in a straight line. I paid the guy $30 for his service, bought some wheels, tires, and a special piece for another $30, and left him with some other parts to fix for me before heading to my dad's shop.
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Once I brought everything over to my dad's shop, I immediately got to work on a rough template for a custom wood tank. I used some scrap plywood and a jigsaw for the initial shaping, then a belt sander to trim it down to fit.
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I had originally planned to leave the paint alone, but that was before about a third of the paint was burnt off in the process of straightening the frame. Rather than try to cover up the scorched bits and match the patina, I instead decided to just strip the frame down to bare metal to see how I liked that. Well, I only got so much paint sanded off with the brass wire wheel on my dad's grinder before I got tired of how easily the darn thing wanted to stop on me. I did find what must've been part of the original paint hiding underneath. I might use that diamond design later...
BFtD_hawthorne25.jpg
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I don't know what you'd call the piece that sits behind the seat pole on old motorcycles, but I thought I'd try making a version of that for my bike. I also mocked up a few chain guards and a couple other parts to see what might work. So far, I'm not sure I've found a combo I like yet.
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One of the other forks I had used for mockup purposes (not pictured) had this reflector bracket that I thought would make a good mounting point for a race number. I think where this bike's going is "old school racing motorcycle," but we'll see. I've got a bunch of other parts I want to mockup, and everything's liable to change.
BFtD_hawthorne33.jpg
BFtD_hawthorne34.jpg
 

Starnger

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I like the smooth way that J.C.Higgins guard sits there!
The part of the red fork that is bent is called steerer tube, the stem is something that you put in it to hold your handlebars.
Good luck with your build! It is an interesting progress.
 
Nov 24, 2019
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I think the chain guard in the first pic fits the frame best. And I like the blue fork more because it moves the front tire a little further from the frame.
Yeah, I like that chain guard too, but I think it looks a little too straight when compared to the curve of the tank. Also, yeah, I like the blue fork too, but all that's holding it in the frame is gravity, so it's leaning more than it would had I mounted it properly. I'll just have to play around with it.
 
Nov 24, 2019
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I like the smooth way that J.C.Higgins guard sits there!
The part of the red fork that is bent is called steerer tube, the stem is something that you put in it to hold your handlebars.
Good luck with your build! It is an interesting progress.
Problem with the J.C. Higgins chain guard is that it doesn't offer enough clearance for the sprocket.
Okay, thanks for clearing that up for me.
Thank you Starnger!
 

kingfish254

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Great progress!!! Dig the panels.
This build needs a build name though. Since it is a Monkey Wards Hawthorne, how about Hawt Monkey. :D
 
Nov 24, 2019
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Great progress!!! Dig the panels.
This build needs a build name though. Since it is a Monkey Wards Hawthorne, how about Hawt Monkey. :D
Thanks! Yeah, it definitely needs a name, but I don't know what to call it yet as I don't know what direction I'm even going with it yet. All my other bikes have a name, I just need more time to think of a name for this one.
 
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