I'm rebuilding my beautiful 1939 R O Harrison with Osgear ends at the momen t. It has been re-enamelled in what the enameller calls eau-de-nil - it's a pale pastel green - with cream seat tube panel, and I'm very pleased with the colour scheme. However, the bike and I are not speaking to each other at the moment. I worked on it the day before yester day, and thought I'd fit an R O Harrison chrome stem I'd bought separately. Wrong! The stem is simply too large in diameter for the steerer tube. A search through my period stems revealed that all my other handlebar stems wouldn't fit, except for a new old stock 1930's Reynolds twin bolt. It went in for a few inches, then stopped. Stupidly, I thought a couple of taps with a light mallet would encourage it, and it's now jammed, without having gone much deeper. I wasn't been able to get to grips with it yesterday (58th birthday, so otherwise engaged) and I'm dreading finding out that it's well and truly stuck.
Oddly, I've had the same problem with my 1946 Holdsworth, in that case an A&P steel stem, which Hilary had to get a friend of his to remove for me. I've since bought the correct steel Holdsworth stem, with matching lug pattern, at great expense, and THAT won't go in the Holdsworth's steerer tube either. What's going on? I'd assumed that the internal steer er diameters would be standard. Hilary suggested that I use a French diameter stem, or track down someone with a suitable expanding reamer, and have the steerer on each bike opened out. I hate old bikes.
Has anyone else experienced this problem? In each case, the steerer is int ended for a head clip type headset.
Weymouth, Dorset, England