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  1. #1
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    restoring a bike - Paint: alternative if primer is not available

    Hi guys, I'm restoring a bike and I stripped old paint and sanded the frame. It is ready for priming and painting, but there is one little problem.. I can't find a primer spray anywhere. Before you point out where I can find it, I live in Egypt; here there is NOTHING. believe me I searched everywhere. There is a primer that comes in a tin can which can only be applied with a brush. That thing is terrible. I know i need a primer.. but what would you recommend I do if I can't find it (I also can't ship it cuz it's flammable).

    Would painting/fine sanding the frame multiple coats (4-5) be an alternative to priming? if not, I'd appreciate any suggestion

    I'm painting it white btw.

    thanks for your 2 cents in advance

    Rami

  2. #2
    Spoked to Death phidauex's Avatar
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    There are a few brands of paint that are intended to go directly on a bare metal surface, like Rustoleum, but they aren't going to look as good.

    I'm 100% sure that primer is available in Egypt - it is a crucial component of all manufacturing of all kinds - you may just need to be more creative about where to get it. Are there shops around that paint cars, furniture or appliances? You may be able to take your frame in and have them spray a coat of primer on for a few bucks (or buck-equivalents). The quality of any paint job is rooted in the prep work - if that isn't done well, the paint will never look good.

    -Sam

  3. #3
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    Hi,

    I can't believe car spare parts shops don't sell spray primer,
    car spray paint is next to useless without it, though
    Rustoleum /Hammerite does come in flat white.

    rgds, sreten.

  4. #4
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    +1 - They *must* use primer in car places there - I've seen (on TV etc.) cars in Egypt that people have kept running since like the 50's using bits of scrap and various kludges, so I would imagine that they have some well-stocked auto shops.

  5. #5
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    yes you are right, primer is available in car paint shop.. but they use high air pressure/canister thing. strangely enough they don't sell spray primer. the thing is I was hoping I'd find something I can do myself at home, cuz I'm concerned those guys at the car paint shop are used to painting big bulky car surfaces and would mess up the details/lugs on the bike by over coating it.

  6. #6
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    I'd look into finding a car place that's known for doing tidy jobs for people who really care about detailing their cars, and then have a word with the guys who are doing the spraying, and tell them of your concerns.

    Don't forget to mask off all the areas with threads, like the BB, headset etc..

  7. #7
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    OK, i took it to a "good" car paint shop for the primer job... he did a TERRIBLE job haha.. running, dripping and inconsistent. Well seeing as this was my only option, I just thanked the man for a job mmm "done", and I hope in 24 hours i can smooth it out properly with wet sandpaper. at least it is primed.. better than nothing right!

  8. #8
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    Bloody hell - and this is a shop that does good-looking jobs on cars?!

    It's not *that* different spraying car parts and a bike frame, surely?

  9. #9
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    well it's kinda different.. this guy is probably used to spraying large surfaces which he just dumps primer all over. cylindrical shape of the bike and lugs with fine details is something they're not used to... it's not that bad, the paint runs can be buffed out with sandpaper i suppose

  10. #10
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    Yeah - I guess.

    It's not *just* large, flat surfaces that get sprayed on cars, though, surely? They also have some irregularly-shaped parts that get done in the course of doing a whole vehicle?

    Maybe he/she just didn't take painting a bike seriously.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Ronno6's Avatar
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    The main problem facing painters unaccostomed to painting bike frames is there are areas where many tubes arrive at the same intersection, most notably the seat lug and the bottom bracket. Each one is the intersection of 4 tubes, each one needing a coat of paint. Throw in the fact there are acute angles to get into, and round tubes to cover on all sides, and you have the prescription for too much paint, hence runs.
    Been there, done that.
    Bike frame painters are adept at applying paint to those areas only once, and feathering coats from the main tubes as those applications overlap the paint from the lug areas.
    Primer shouldn't be that difficult as it usually requires sanding prior to topcoating. Just be careful and try to avoid sanding through the primer down to bare metal.
    The real pain is clearcoating, where feathering/overlapping of paint in those areas must be done while the paint is still really wet in order to avoid dry-spray areas.
    Ya gotta move quick! Clearcoat is no fun to sand!

  12. #12
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    good tip Ronno. When sanding the primer, is it better to do it with dry or wet sandpaper?

  13. #13
    Senior Member Ronno6's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by raminism View Post
    good tip Ronno. When sanding the primer, is it better to do it with dry or wet sandpaper?
    Wet is generally preferred, as the water keeps the sandpaper from "loading up" with sanding dust.
    It helps you get a more consistent cut. Make sure you are using a fairly fine grit. For safety sake I would
    start out with 320 for the runs and move to 600 for the main tubes.

  14. #14
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    What do you, mean if primer is not available? you are not looking very much .

  15. #15
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    He *is* in Egypt, and he ended up visiting a car paint shop (supposedly a 'good' one) who primed his frame and did a slap-dash job of it, apparently.

  16. #16
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    btw thanks alot for all the great tips

    i painted the frame two coats .. and admittedly i did a bad job the first time around...
    how do i fix the paint runs and blobs (ashamed).. do i wait for it to dry(for how long?) then sand the nasty parts and give it another coat?
    Last edited by raminism; 04-07-13 at 04:38 PM.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Ronno6's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by raminism View Post
    btw thanks alot for all the great tips

    i painted the frame two coats .. and admittedly i did a bad job the first time around...
    how do i fix the paint runs and blobs (ashamed).. do i wait for it to dry(for how long?) then sand the nasty parts and give it another coat?
    Cure time depends on what paint you used. The directions should give you a time to wait before sanding and recoating.
    I would wait at least 2 weeks, unless youused lacquer. That can be sanded and resprayed within hours of application.
    The problem with touching up a paint job comes in the blending or feathering of new paint onto areas that you do not want to recoat.You will always see the blend areas.
    If you wait the prescribed amount of time, you may try wetsanding the runs as you did with the primer, then using finer and finer paper (always wet) til it looks smooth enough. Then start with rubbing compound and progress to polishing compound and finally a cleaner wax. You may get away without having to respray. DO read up on cure time before waxing-some paints need 6 weeks to fully get rid pf all solvents and gasses.
    CAUTION! If you do a REALLY GOOD job of sanding and polishing, you may make the rest of the frame look bad by comparison!

  18. #18
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    Go to a car repair shop and ask them where they get their primer... i doubt every body rides only camels out there man...

  19. #19
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    Go to www.amazon.eg ... I'm sure they have primer. Just kidding of course, but seriously ... I'm sure someone will ship it to you.

  20. #20
    bike whisperer Kimmo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Continuity View Post
    It's not *that* different spraying car parts and a bike frame, surely?
    Actually, it's about as different as can be. A bike frame is one of the hardest things you could choose to spray, while cars are generally quite easy.

    I usually warn off anyone contemplating painting a bike for the first time, because nobody has a clue what they're letting themselves in for... many an unfinished project down that road.

  21. #21
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    It is indeed trickier than it seems and there IS a learning curve. You can see a distinct difference in skill from one half of the frame I painted vs. the other half .. I used a fan to blow the spray paint away from the inside of the apartment and towards the bike so it kinda created a mess when sprayed at 30cm.. I discovered that using the fan and spraying at a much larger distance creates an even cloud of paint that settles evenly on the surfaces...

    As for your comments regarding primer, the primer used at car paint shops is the one used with an air compressor and a spray ***; something I won't be able to do at home. I am passed this point anyway

    I am now trying to figure out how to correct the blotches and runs in the first 2 coats of white paint I just did. @Ronnno6 suggested I wait a week or so till the pain cures before I wet sand the imperfections...

    any tricks or suggestions are highly appreciated

  22. #22
    Senior Member Homebrew01's Avatar
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    Are there motorcycles repair shops there ? If they do painting, it's much more similar to bicycles.
    Bikes: Old steel race bikes, old Cannondale race bikes, less old Cannondale race bike, crappy old mtn bike

  23. #23
    bike whisperer Kimmo's Avatar
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    Bingo.

  24. #24
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    Hi guys, I wanted to thank you all for the tips and insights. Here's the final product
    image.jpg
    image.jpg

  25. #25
    Senior Member zandoval's Avatar
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    Nice - Now this bike deserves to be ridden...

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