Chain guard on Thursday. The inside had not yet been dealt with yet.
I started with the smallest and rustiest body component: the chain guard. This thing was nearly covered in surface rust and where it wasn't, the paint was all peeling off due to all the little pits of rust forming. I spent all of Thursday just sanding the outside smooth, trying to free it of pits. Thankfully, the sheet metal was still very solid and wasn't even close to rusting through.
On Friday, I finished up the chain guard and thoroughly washed it in soapy water. After making sure it was dry, I set up cardboard so I could start spraying it with primer. Meanwhile, I worked on sanding the front fork. It was still very structurally sound but was again pitted all over with rust. I did the best I could getting rid of these and it literally took all day to do this. Raleigh made some really durable finishes back in the day, as is evident by the relatively small amount of rust after more than 50 years of hard use. I was so tired just from sanding that I had to call it quits after finishing the fork. I wish I had a sandblaster to help, although I don't know if that would be the best choice. There are also those chrome press-fittings that would need to be covered, too. You know, I'm actually not completely sure I'm doing this right, either. My non-existent budget does affect this and I'm pretty much just running on gathered knowledge and some advice. I have started to just hope that with my finish, the metal will be less exposed to the elements than it would have been if left unrestored. If all goes well, large chunks of paint don't start falling off afterwards. As they say, preparation is 95% of the resulting finish.
Aftermath of washing sanded parts. The WD-40 grime mess from flushing the hub on Day 1 still repels water.
The chain guard after a few even coats of primer.
I am aware that Raleigh used a chemical technique called "Spra-Bonderizing" to ensure extreme paint durability and rust resistance, so I know this new paint job won't last as long. I went into this project knowing that I was just trying to extend the life of this bike, specifically the metal surfaces, a little further because the original paint had so many severe battle scars that were likely aggravated by my winter riding. I'm hoping my paint job will survive until I actually make enough money to buy proper tools, fully disassemble the bike to its last little piece, and have someone professionally paint it. Investing in tools also means that I'll have to continue working on bikes to make it worthwhile but that isn't a worry since I'm pretty sure this hobby isn't going to die anytime soon.