Dear CR Members, I could really use some advice from my brethren. A couple of days ago my long-awaited Hetchins Nulli Secundus arrived from England. It was first sold in 1954, and still has 95% of its original paint, which is a beautiful dark bronze (where the paint has been protected, the bronze runs to a deep burgandy). Despite foam pipe insulation on all tubes, the axle of one tightly-packed wheel rode on the downtube for thousands of miles, and has put a dent there, right through the original paint. The dent is about the size and shape of a screwdriver blade, running perpendicular to the downtube. Here's where I need your advice, or, at the very least, the assistance of any mental health care professionals who might be on the list. What do I do about this dent? I confess I am a bit anal retentive. Many of my friends would simply fill the dent with putty and touch up the paint as best they could, and forget about it. But there's something about filler that has always bothered me. In antique frames with dents I have usually have the dents filled with brass or silver. Would it be completely insane to lose the original paint on the Hetchins downtube in order to fill a minor dent in this way? When I buy a bike in the states I almost always ask that the wheels be shipped separately, in order to avoid this problem of downtube damage. But since this bike was coming from England, I tried to save a couple of bucks and had everything shipped in a single box. I've no idea why plastic caps were not placed on the axles. The transfers on this Hetchins are mostly gone (one can see only the "shadow" of the Hetchins name on the downtube), but the paint is wonderful. I wish I could keep from staring at the dent, and appreciate the bike in its entirety. This must have happened to some of my fellow collectors at one time or another. Do I need counseling? Should I seek assistance from mental health care professionals? Any advice and comfort, technical and/or spiritual, from my CR friends will be greatly appreciated.
Daniel "Maybe I think too much about bicycles" Dahlquist