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Old 09-07-11, 11:25 PM   #1
Remedemic
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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.
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Old 09-08-11, 12:45 AM   #2
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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.
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Old 09-08-11, 01:57 AM   #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.
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Old 09-08-11, 03:03 AM   #4
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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.
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Old 09-22-11, 02:31 PM   #5
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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.
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Old 09-22-11, 03:00 PM   #6
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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.
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Old 09-22-11, 03:44 PM   #7
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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.
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Old 09-22-11, 07:18 PM   #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.
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Old 09-22-11, 08:38 PM   #9
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if it's a steel fork, maybe apply a primer and enamel to prevent rust
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Old 09-22-11, 09:50 PM   #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.
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Old 09-22-11, 11:37 PM   #11
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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.
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Old 09-25-11, 03:23 PM   #12
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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
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Old 09-25-11, 04:26 PM   #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.
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Old 09-25-11, 04:32 PM   #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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Old 09-25-11, 06:37 PM   #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.
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Old 09-25-11, 07:08 PM   #16
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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?!
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