I had planned on doing the second clear coat today, and even started on it, but the first piece I coated (the front fender) got all bubbly and cracked and spotty-looking. I think I must have put on a too-heavy coat, but I decided not to push my luck with the other parts. So, instead of doing two coats of clear coat on everything, I'm calling it good with just one. Tomorrow, I'll buff off the botched clear coat on the front fender and then try to reapply it more smoothly. I put a coat of Turtle Wax on everything else, which will also act a protecting layer. Then, I took off the masking tape from the bearing cups and head badge and started putting the whole thing back together. As you can see below, I got the fork and handlebars, the seat, and the crank put back on the frame.
Nothing too technical here. I just put the seat back on so I could flip the bike over later to work on the crank, fenders, chain, etc.
Here's how I put the fork and stem on: 1) pack the bottom bearings of the fork and set on the bottom bearing race; 2) insert the fork into the tube and let the frame rest on the fork; 3) grease the bolt and expansion wedge on the stem and pack the top headset bearings; 4) insert the stem into the tube and tighten the stem bolt.
Tips on the process: 1) don't tighten the bearing races too much, just enough to hold the bearings in the cups. If you tighten the races too hard, they won't turn freely; 2) same goes for the stem bolt; it should be tight, but not so tight that it affects the steering of the bike; 3) try to line up the fork and handlebars with each other and with the frame; you can fine-tune once the bike is ridable, but the straighter everything is now, the easier it will be to make fine adjustments later.
And then, the crank. Pretty straight-forward: pack the bearings and grease the cups, lightly tighten the bearing race on the left (non-chain) side, and put the hardware back on. Again, when you tighten the nut on the outside of the left side, don't make it too tight, as this will push the bearing race into the bearings and affect the turning of the crank. Remember, the nuts and the bearing race on the crank turn counter-clockwise so they won't spin off while you're riding, so they don't have to be made too tight.
So, there you go--clear as mud, right?