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  1. #1
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    White Nail Polish Over Scratch?

    Some ***hole dropped my bike today while he was unloading his neighboring-bike from the bike rack, and now there's a 0.5 square centimeter sized scratch in my fork. Pretty small, but noticeable and its biting away at my soul.

    The fork is pure white by the way, so can i take a little white nail polish to cover it up? But i've heard that nail polish ends up looking terrible, or something. Should I just ignore the scratch, or will nail polish be ok?

    Thanks everyone.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Jed19's Avatar
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    I took my bike to a hobby/model shop when shopping for touch-up paint. Testors enamel paint, at about $1.50 for a small bottle, was the solution.
    Regards,

    Jed

  3. #3
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    Nail polish is almost always a ketone (acetone, MEK) soluble lacquer (words: nitrocellulose, acetyl or butyl cellulose and so on); sometimes they include some aromatic solvent (toluene, xylene) stuff. Totally harmless to metal frame bikes (steel, aluminum, titanium), and almost totally harmless to fiber reinforced polymer (carbon/graphite-epoxy) frames (you’d have to soak the frame in the solvent over night to cause damage). Check the nail polish label to see if a major ingredient is a ketone or aromatic (usually toluene). If so, use it, and if you don’t like the effect wipe if off with a rag wet with lacquer thinner and try again. Maybe try one of the clear coat nail polishes to start with? OK, I’m assuming that your frame maker/painter used enamel, which is mostly impervious to lacquer solvents. To find out, try a bit of your preferred lacquer thinner on an area of your bike that you don’t care about and see it damages the original finish. If it softens/comes lose = lacquer, if nothing (other some minor rag staining = enamel). Testor’s is usually an enamel and thus harder to remove/change if you don’t like it. Positive side; enamels usually hold up better to aging and wear than lacquers.

  4. #4
    Chainstay Brake Mafia
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    if you want it to look good you'll need to wet sand the scratch down, then paint, then wet sand/use rubbing compound.. otherwise it will look like you painted over a scratch with nailpolish

    the color also might not match

    it's a bike. it will get scratched.
    1986 Diamondback Apex ~ 1988 Diamondback Ascent EX ~ 1989 Jamis Dakar ~ 1989 Specialized Stumpjumper Comp
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  5. #5
    Senior Member mulveyr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Remedemic View Post
    Some ***hole dropped my bike today while he was unloading his neighboring-bike from the bike rack, and now there's a 0.5 square centimeter sized scratch in my fork. Pretty small, but noticeable and its biting away at my soul.

    The fork is pure white by the way, so can i take a little white nail polish to cover it up? But i've heard that nail polish ends up looking terrible, or something. Should I just ignore the scratch, or will nail polish be ok?

    Thanks everyone.
    Life gets a whole lot more pleasant and simpler when you don't worry about scratches on a machine that should be spending lots of time out in the elements.
    Knows the weight of my bike to the nearest 10 pounds.

  6. #6
    Senior Member brian3069's Avatar
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    Get a bottle of Testors bright white and a bottle of cream. Mix them to match your paint. The only person who will notice it is you. Don't forget to use primer first.

  7. #7
    Senior Member tanguy frame's Avatar
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    Drop it on the other side to make it even. Next time get an unfinished Ti bike if scratches eat your soul. Come on - there are starving babies in Biafra.
    -Tanguy Frame

  8. #8
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    is your bike new? The first time my Surly got scratched, I freaked out. Now each scratch is just another mark of maturity. I do cover the scratches with black nail polish...black frame. It's not a perfect match but I forget it's there unless I'm looking for it, not to say it's that inconspicuous cos you CAN tell. Mostly I do it cos I hate the look of rust. I say just go for it or don't go for it. Either way, it won't matter to you soon enough.

  9. #9
    Senior Member justadude's Avatar
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    if it's a steel fork, maybe apply a primer and enamel to prevent rust
    "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." - Jesus, Matthew 6:21, KJV translation.

  10. #10
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    You need to be careful when painting over existing paint. As a rule, enamel is safe over most other paint. Be careful using acetone or lacquer based paints as they will soften the original paint. It is best to get the touch-up paint for your specific frame, if possible.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by justadude View Post
    if it's a steel fork, maybe apply a primer and enamel to prevent rust
    available at any hardware store? Well, I asked my LBS about it and they gave me black model paint. I think it should be fine.

  12. #12
    Chainstay Brake Mafia
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    Quote Originally Posted by justadude View Post
    if it's a steel fork, maybe apply a primer and enamel to prevent rust

    i just use clear nail polish to seal small scratches
    1986 Diamondback Apex ~ 1988 Diamondback Ascent EX ~ 1989 Jamis Dakar ~ 1989 Specialized Stumpjumper Comp
    1993 Trek 8300 Composite ~ 1993 Diamondback Axis Team Titanium ~ 1995 Diamondback Apex

    Join the Chainstay Brake Mafia!

  13. #13
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    I've used nail varnish on my bikes for years and i've even mixed colours to get a better match, i find the finish is acceptable, much better than a nasty scratch which draws the eye, but never perfect.
    Colnago CX-1 Record 11sp. Carbon Epic Expert 29er

  14. #14
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    Folks have been using nail polish successfully for at east half a century, so go ahead if you can match the color. Unless it's a show bike, you should only care about rust protection, and camouflage, not an actual perfect match, so don't waste your time sanding or otherwise making this simple act a ritual.

    It's a bike, if you use it it'll get scratched, the sooner you accept this the happier you'll be.
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  15. #15
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    I use automotive touch-up paint. A lot of auto supply stores have a display with small bottles of paint in hundreds of colors. I found one with a brush and a pen applicator included.

  16. #16
    incazzare. lostarchitect's Avatar
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    If it's the kind of bike that you can't deal with a scratch on, why on earth are you putting it in a bike rack?!
    1964 JRJ (Bob Jackson) San Remo Plus, 1989 Trek 520, 2000ish Colian (Colin Laing), 2013 Velo Orange Pass Hunter

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