10/13-UPDATE. Arg. It's rainy and humid today--going to have to wait on that second coat of lacquer. I'm outta here for 3 weeks. See you in November!
Ah, the end is in sight! All my parts and tools for the reassembly have finally been purchased, and today I put on the first lacquer coat, or clear coat. With the exception of one area on the frame which dripped a bit, it went on really well. I had buffed out the paint to a dull matte finish as recommended before the clear coat, and I was really happy to see the clear coat bring back the gloss and deepen the color. For the buffing, most everything I read said to wet sand with extremely fine sandpaper, but that made me nervous, so I used my "0000" steel wool (dry) to do the job, and it seemed to work fine.
I'll do the second lacquer coat tomorrow (24 hours, says the can). Then, I'll be away from the project for about three weeks (got actual work to do). When I get back, the clear coat will be nice and hard and I'll buff up the finish with some car wax and start putting it all back together. We'll see if I can remember where everything goes!
PS--I'll be in Chicago for about a week coming up, and I hope to snap some photos of old bikes around the University of Chicago while I'm there to post when I get back--love to see old bikes getting used!