1947 CWC "Rat Master"

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Hello everyone!
First of all, yes, i know this name was used probably a thousand times for rat look CWC builds :D But it just fits so well, i don't see why should i stop from having it :D
However, before i have finished with my first Roadmaster i already got my second. That's what you call bike bug had bitten me hard, isn't it? Actually it always was like that, just until lately i didn't know how to source older bikes from US.
While building my first Roadmaster i have kept wondering, how would it actually look if i made it rat style? First of all if i allow myself to use more modern parts i'd make it easier and cheaper for myself. Then of course i won't need to stay close to original looks and come up with something cool. I have always admired those old ratty CWC builds i see on this forum, so when i had an opportunity to get a beaten-up rusty frame for cheap i couldn't miss it.
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So, this is my starting point. It had been repainted at least three times. The deepest paint layer is red, then it was another red on top, and then black, that is almost completely chipped away. I also see small traces of other colors, but anyway this whole thing is coming off intensively, leaving rusty surface and some not-yet-rusted metal. What a perfect setup for some boiled linseed oil work! I have recently discovered this method and i see a great opportunity to practice it here.
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Unfortunately during the transportation the top of the original headset was lost. But the bottom is still present together with those nice cups, so i hope i can figure something out here. The kickstand is not functional but it looks repairable. Right drop-out on the fork is rusted away. I think i will try to custom make a new set of dropouts here, but i may as well just replace it with another fork.
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The rear dropouts are bent outwards, but i hope it won't be critical. I don't really want to bend them back because i am afraid to brake the frame. The original tensioning bolts are still here.
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Considering the shape and the number of the frame i believe it is built in the spring 1947. By the way, i have recently made the PDF vector version of CWC frame number chart, originally designed by Phil from the CABE. Feel free to use it. The file is attached under the post.

I am planning to use this set of Felt wheels on it. I have scored it last year, mainly to get those beautiful whitewall fatti-o tires, that get extremely hard to find lately. I'd post a better picture of this wheelset when i'm at my garage next time.
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So, as you probably get it by now, i am onto a classic Rat Rod build, and it feels great already! :D I'd keep you folks updated!
 

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Thanks for the clear serial number chart. Now I can zoom in and see each month! A bike I sold awhile back was probably Jan or Feb 47 with a J99 number. Yours is probably April or May 47 with the A57 number.
Coppertooth:
16jemie.jpg
 
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Thanks for the clear serial number chart. Now I can zoom in and see each month! A bike I sold awhile back was probably Jan or Feb 47 with a J99 number. Yours is probably April or May 47 with the A57 number.
Coppertooth:
View attachment 124553
Of course, you are right! Beautiful bike you have made! I love those 3g wheels a lot. Also great job on the sprocket.
 
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Was cleaning up the frame today preparing it to linseed treatment, and noticed the rear triangle is a bit out of center. I have tried to spread it a little and move one side, and appears the frame is actually broken at the bridge between chain stays and quite badly bent around the dropouts. I'd have to straighten it and weld it back together.
Good news are the kickstand came off.
 
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Was cleaning up the frame today preparing it to linseed treatment, and noticed the rear triangle is a bit out of center. I have tried to spread it a little and move one side, and appears the frame is actually broken at the bridge between chain stays and quite badly bent around the dropouts. I'd have to straighten it and weld it back together.
Good news are the kickstand came off.
It shouldn’t be a big deal. A lot of these old girls need a little surgery sometimes!
 
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Ain't got no fancy jig or frame geometry measuring tools, but a straight welding table, a set of clamps and an eye. But as the sign at my school workshop says: "The eyes are for making by the eye". So, in other words, just enough gear to perform the surgery that @Rat Pilot was talking about :)
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It is not at all perfectly straight now, but it is pretty close to it, for the bike that is almost 80 years old. I also have widened the stays a little bit in the process, so the Nexus hub would fit, and hopefully i have made enough space for the wheels i am intending to use.
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One tensioning bolt came out of the dropout after some WD-40 bath, but the other one unfortunately broke, though i have made it loose. The guy who works in out workshop offered some help by tig-welding some steel rod to what's left from the bolt, and hopefully that'd be enough to take it out.
 
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:41: it’s exactly like my roadmaster’s frame, but I never got to know the year exactly.
 
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I noticed now that you have a spreadsheet. this spreadsheet what would be the year of my bike? her number is C36088
 
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I noticed now that you have a spreadsheet. this spreadsheet what would be the year of my bike? her number is C36088
Your frame is 1944 indeed. Here is the website explaining some differences in frames to help dating them. And here is the frame number chart by Phil from the CABE that i have recently redrew into the scalable vector version.
 
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Your frame is 1944 indeed. Here is the website explaining some differences in frames to help dating them. And here is the frame number chart by Phil from the CABE that i have recently redrew into the scalable vector version.

Thanks for that! I have 3 CWC frames that I’ll use That chart to ID.
 
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So, i have taken the frame back to the garage after straightening it and tried to test fit the rear wheel.
IMG_5314.jpg


Unfortunately there is just not enough clearance for the Felt rim. The tire rubs on the seat stays no matter where in the dropouts i put the wheel.
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But going down from 50mm Felt rims to about 35mm Electra rims does the trick. Same tire clears everywhere, even on the end of the dropouts.
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I don't really like how those black Electra wheels i have look here. I was really into this fat red rims look. Though i have a nice set of blue Electra rims i have powdercoated for another project and ended up not using them.
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That is how it looks in comparison to that black wheel.
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Looks kind of cool. It now really makes me think, whether i should lace those blue ones up, or buy some nice anodized red rims. There is a last set available locally, i have tried those rims on my other builds and they are just so awesome too.
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Not sure if anodized part would look as sick as the painted red, but anodization tends to fade after years, and this faded look would surely fit the bike great, i'd just need to wait for a few years :D

What would you guys suggest? Red anodized or blue powdercoated? I'd be happy to hear your thoughts.
 
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Oh, almost forgot. I have done some steel wool work over the paint with some wd-40 to smoothen it, and then degreased it all with white spirit. The frame is prepared for BLO finish now.
IMG_5322.jpg
 
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Matching red to red is difficult, if they are close, but not close enough, they can really clash. Unfortunately, I think the too fat black ones work best, but the blue ones are ok
 
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Matching red to red is difficult, if they are close, but not close enough, they can really clash. Unfortunately, I think the too fat black ones work best, but the blue ones are ok
I already have like 3 different reds on this frame, so i thought even if i add another red it won't be too bad. If i go with blue it leaves me almost no space to add another color there while keeping it balanced, for example my dark green fork from another roadmaster may not fit at all then. Black is the good option, but i like my bikes more bright, and i believe those nice white wall tires look really cool on brightly colored rims. So i agree on your point, but i still want to search for more options with this build :)
 
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Tried a set of 346 Basman forks on. Seemed to be a good idea, since those forks come from a bike that was taken out from the fire. So they have this cool burned look to them that would fit the build. However, the modern big diameter legs on this fork just overweight the frame so much visually.
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I may try another set of triple tree forks with smaller legs that i got in the mail today. Or otherwise i am now thinking that a reproduction Schwinn blade fork inspired fork i was at some point intending to use on my other Roadmaster may fit here well too. I may clean off the paint on it and leave it to rust a little.
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I've had some free time and bought some large drills lately, so i used this moment to work on the original fork i got with this bike. The fork was bent and damaged badly, so the only way to go with it was to completely remove the steerer tube, together with the crown race fitting place, and fit another one instead. This is more difficult repair then just replacing the steerer top leaving the crown race and i did it for the first time. The welds are not nice, for some reason those metals didn't want to weld well together. Maybe too much contamination with brass from brazing? I don't know. I've managed to replace the steerer, though it may still use some straightening. But considering it is either that or completely trashed fork i don't mind it not being the prettiest.

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Now my idea is to cut some custom dropouts to attach to the existing fork legs, then i consider this one fixed.
 
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