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  1. #1
    Live Deliberately. davidmcowan's Avatar
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    How to remove rattle can paint job

    I rattle can painted an old frame I have and now, years later, I'm hoping to remove it without affecting the paint job underneath too much.

    Best suggestions for doing that?

    Paint thinner?

  2. #2
    Rolling along fas2c's Avatar
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    I have a Trek that I bought cheap and the PO sprayed it black. I found that using some Goof Off and a rag will take off it pretty easy. I would guess Mineral Spirits would do the same. Just beware that you will lose any decals that had been oversprayed more than likely.

    I only tried the downtube on one side but it worked easy enough.

  3. #3
    Single-serving poster electrik's Avatar
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    There are various paint-strippers you can apply to the frame

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    Paint stripper will take off everything.

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    Senior Member Grand Bois's Avatar
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    Did you sand the frame before you rattlecanned it?

  6. #6
    Live Deliberately. davidmcowan's Avatar
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    I didn't sand it. I'm hoping that the original paint job might stay intact. Is there something I can do in removing outside layer that won't effect the inner one?

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    Senior Member Grand Bois's Avatar
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    I'd try Goof Off.

  8. #8
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    If the rattle can was lacquer, not enamel, lacquer thinner or acetone will take the the paint off. However, if the paint underneath is also soluble in the lacquer thinner or acetone, it will also come off. I would test a small spot- maybe over spray on the steerer tube on the fork to see if it will affect the original paint.
    Quote Originally Posted by marengo View Post
    And I thought Trek was the Trek of bicycles

  9. #9
    Live Deliberately. davidmcowan's Avatar
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    cuevelo, it was cheap hardware store paint does that help identify what it was made of? I know the original paint job was on a Novara Aspen and likely had whatever protectant they put on top of the paint job but I'm also worried I may strip that.

    I originally did this to "uglify" the bike but now I'm looking to sell it off and I'm certain this pissy paintjob will affect resale.

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    I have found Lestoil, yeah you heard me, is a great paint remover when the paint is a cheap spray job.

    I collect antique telegraph equipment some of which had high-class paint jobs, and when some slob oversprays it with his $1 spray paint from WalMart, I've successfully removed it using a toothbrush and good old Lestoil right out of the bottle, without damaging the original paintjob. It might be tedious. but it does the job.

  11. #11
    Senior Member SneakyKing's Avatar
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    mineral spirits will most likely effect the under paint as well, have you considered just sanding and re painting? It may be possible to just take off the spray paint then apply a new clear coat which also comes in a rattle can.
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    If you still have the can it will say on it. I would just try a small spot of your paint job. Do something like a dropout where the paint will likely come off anyway.
    Quote Originally Posted by marengo View Post
    And I thought Trek was the Trek of bicycles

  13. #13
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    Any stripping compound is likely to affect the paint underneath. If your determined to retain the finish below, you could wet sand with 400grit to get most of the rattle can paint off then follow up with 1000 and finish up with compounding or polish. This will require alot of patients and you'll probably end up with carpel tunnel afterwards, lol. I was a car detailer for 8yrs and worked on special projects similar to yours. Suffice to say, the customer was very pleased, but my hands were never the same. If someone has a better idea, I would love to hear it.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Grand Bois's Avatar
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    Mineral spirits most likely won't have any effect on the paint underneath, but may not have much effect on the rattle can paint either. I clean all of my bikes with mineral spirits.

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    Rolling along fas2c's Avatar
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    I will again recommend Goof Off. It is working for me with only light rubbing w/ a paper towel. In 5 minutes I removed all of the spray paint from one side of the downtube. A toothbrush would most likely be of help too. My origional paint is untouched, but the decals are having the graphics removed, in the one that I encountered. The graphics may have been removed by the PO. I don't know. but the black spray paint is gone leaving the nice blue paint underneath.

  16. #16
    Senior Member BCRider's Avatar
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    You'll definetly want to sneak up on this starting with the most mild of options and working up. You can try mineral spirits but I agree that it's unlikely to work. But apply and let soak for an hour or more with reapplications where it seems to be drying out. It MAY leach through and break the bond allowing the old finish rub and flake off since you didn't sand the original finish. If that doesn't work I'd go with the suggestions for Goof off and Lestoil since they worked for others. Again allow some time to soak if it doesn't work right away. It's highly unlikely that you'll dissolve away the rattle can paint. If it does then that's a bonus. What you're mostly shooting for is to get something that gets under the rattle can paint and breaks the bond so you can wipe off the top coat.
    Model airplanes are cool too!.....

  17. #17
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    There are typically 2 types of paint in rattle cans.

    The first is lacquer and dries by evaporation of the carrier/solvent. Lacquer can be dissolved with lacquer thinner, acetone, toluene, mek, or fast naptha.

    The second is enamel/alkyd based and cures when the carrier dissolves. The paint cross-links at a molecular level when exposed to oxygen and is not readily dissolved by re-adding the carrier(typically mineral spirits). However, some can be softened with mineral spirits an some can be dissolved with denatured alcohol.

    I would try mineral spirits, denatured alcohol, lacquer thinner, acetone, toluene, or fast naptha in this order. Don't mess with mek, nasty stuff. This is likely the least destructive to most destructive on a baked enamel base coat. These should all be available from Sherwin Williams.

  18. #18
    Senior Member BCRider's Avatar
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    Mike, you're jumping from two realy benign solvents, mineral spirits and alchohal, right to the really nasty stuff. Any of your options from lacquer thinner on up will definetly peel or dissolve the original paint. While I agree that there's not a lot of middle ground I'd be willing to try the Goof off and Lestoil mentioned earlier before moving to the more aromatic and aggresive options.

    BTW, "lacquer thinner" is a soup of acetone, toluene, xylene, MEK and/or maybe even some of that fast naptha in varying combinations depending on the supplier and cost point. I found this out talking to some autobody painters that really knew their stuff a few years ago.

    Another BTW for those reading in, acetone is a common ingredient in many of the more aggresive paint removers. If they have a strong aromatic smell it's likely acetone
    Model airplanes are cool too!.....

  19. #19
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    Post 1970, the majority of finishes on factory produced metal products sold to the public were alkyd, baked enamel, lpu, pigmented catalyzed varnishes and waterborne pu. Lacquers went out of style as a factory finish because of the dry time and VOC release.

    Lacquer thinner on a rag will usually not remove factory finishes but may temporarily soften or dull the finish. It will however remove the majority of spray paints out there because they are lacquer based.

    FWIW I owned an engineering services business and for several years we specialized in surface coating testing for several furniture, floor manufacturers, plumbing fixture manufacturers as well as for the US Navy until I sold it 3 years ago. I have a fairly broad knowledge of surface coating systems.
    Last edited by MikeWinVA; 01-15-10 at 01:49 AM.

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    Hi friends, here i am {banned, scumbag, spammer**with a new information scam and crap, just check out the details here {link removed** will surely {more crap**, Stay safe cheers
    Last edited by Allen; 01-15-10 at 11:31 AM.

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    Removing spray paint

    The truth here is that Laquer thinner will take the paint off without hurting the original paint. I had a nephew spray paint a white car red from head light to tail light. Simply dampend a rag in laquer thinner and wiped it off like I would wipe off a juice spill. Later, I had a spoiler I tried to color match to a car. After a year or so, the paint faded and I resorted back to the Laquer thinner trick I found. Sure enough, it went right back to the original paint underneath. Just wear gloves and be aware of the fumes and the flamability of the solvent.

  22. #22
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    I've used plain Ezy Off oven cleaner to remove a few rattle can messes, but you have to experiment as it will attack some original paints. It won't touch most powder coated or acrylic coatings.
    Goof off takes a lot of elbow grease and depending on the type of finish below, it can damage original paint and decals. Mineral spirits or paint thinner most likely won't do anything but waste your time. If the rattle can job is well adhered, you may only want to remove the majority of it, then finish up with some polishing compound and buff away the rest of the surface paint.

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