There's a lot to be said for perseverance. Sometimes it simply amounts to beating your head against the wall with nothing good to show for it except a bruised forehead. Other times, the end result is pretty glorious if somewhat destructive. In this case, it was getting Lorena's seatpost out of her cyclocross bike. What seemed like a pretty mundane part of stripping a bike down for repaint turned into nearly 8 hours of frustration, broken tools, and finally, success. A seatpost should never look like this after removal:
We've sent the frame back to Gunnar to get it repainted because well-used bicycles eventually show off that use in the form of chipped paint, scratched decals, and rusty dropouts. Especially a cyclocross bike. I started stripping components off the bike right after Thanksgiving and everything went pretty well with a few exceptions:
Corrosion on the inside of the aluminum headset spacers had them somewhat stuck on the fork steerer tube and so I had to ruin one of the spacers with some Channel-Locks to get it free. (To be fair, it was probably the first time in 7 years those components had been removed.)
The always-scary bottom bracket only required two people to break it free instead of the four people to get the one out of my cross bike.
When the seatpost wouldn't budge using the seat for leverage, I removed the seat and clamped the head of the seatpost in a vise and tried to use the frame as a lever. It simply twisted the head of the seatpost inside the seatpost tube. At that point, the seatpost was ruined so I tried clamping the tube itself in the pipe jaw part of my bench vise for better bite. This is the result:
No matter how hard I clamped, the jaws just gouged deeper. As a last resort, I cut the seatpost off and proceeded to spend hours using a hacksaw blade to make radial cuts. The first few hours I simply held onto the hacksaw blade using a rag before I noticed a chunk of scrap wood that I figured would be a good handle for a hacksaw blade. This made things a lot easier but I still had to make two radial cuts to eventually chisel out a quarter of the post. The chiseling process involved breaking the chisel off in the frame and breaking a tip off a screwdriver to while trying to get the chisel out. (Spoiler: I got it out.)
I was never so relieved when I noticed the seatpost start moving as I tried to collapse it inward. At that point, I cut a little notch in the end of it with my Dremel so that I could use a hammer and screwdriver to beat it out far enough to get a good grip with my bench vise. Once in the vice, a little rocking of the frame was enough to twist the seatpost out... And there was much rejoicing.
Now, we just wait until the end of January or first of February for the frame to be sent back to begin it's next seven years of service. The new seatpost that goes into it will definitely get more regular attention. Then again, if not, at least I know the exact procedure for getting that one out.
Moral of the story: Go pull all of your seatposts right now before you forget.