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  1. #1
    johnliu@earthlink.net jyl's Avatar
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    Nail polish to touch up paint chips? And other questions.

    I purchased a new-to-me bike. It is steel from about 1978. The paint is chipped in a few spots, a couple spots on the chainstays, the rear dropouts where the QRs clamp, and a spot on the top tube.

    The spot on the top tube was rusty: I removed the rust and painted the spot with rust inhibitor paint (POR-15). The bike is red. I was going to find some of the wife's nail polish that matches and touch up that spot. Good/bad idea? Or would Testors enamel model paint be more durable?

    The other spots are not rusty. I was thinking of painting them with clear nail polish. Good/bad idea? I don't actually want to cover up those chips: I like the patina. I just want to protect the metal.

    The frame is not noticeably rusted inside. Should I apply Framesaver? Spray WD40 inside? Or just let it be?

    I live in a rainy place (Portland) but this bike will be ridden in fair weather, except if I happen to get caught out in a shower. The bike will live in my basement which is dry.
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  2. #2
    covered in cat fur katsrevenge's Avatar
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    I've used nail polish to patch up a paint job on one of my bikes. It's held up nicely and is hard to see (and I used a LOT of polish!!). Actually, the only problem I've had with it is that the polish seems to collect dust faster. I intend on repainting it... but perhaps a coat of turtle wax would stop that dust thing.

    ..I used it mostly because I've a ton of it in the closet and it's what I'd always used on my car.
    Just one of those dirty pinko commies some people worry about.

  3. #3
    Senior Member rydabent's Avatar
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    For the best looking job of touch up, go to a hobby store and get paint closest to the color of your bikes paint. Locally Hobby Town hand a large number of small bottles of paint, almost any color you want.

  4. #4
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    Model paint or nail polish will both do a decent touch-up job if you find a good color match. My local Walmart has nail polish is a staggering variety of colors and has a low cost brand that doesn't go for boutique prices. Otherwise a hobby shop that sells model airplanes, etc. will usually have a large display of paints that are suitable.

  5. #5
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    at the LBS the new bike carton often includes a wee brush in the cap bottle of touch-up paint, it rarely goes out the door with the new bike

    [the price tag bag is too small , and too much stuff to hang off the bars for test rides], .... so

    there is a bin/box in the bike shop where they are collecting ..

    PDX and its 500+ bike-shops , you should find some, somewhere in town .. perhaps a match or close to the color.


    The frame is not noticeably rusted inside. Should I apply Framesaver? Spray WD40 inside? Or just let it be?
    you planning to strip it down to the bare frame ? that is pretty much required for framesaver jobs

    to be thorough enough , with the sloshing it all around, inside the tubes, you would need to do , for total coverage..
    Last edited by fietsbob; 04-15-14 at 08:32 AM.

  6. #6
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    you planning to strip it down to the bare frame ? that is pretty much required for framesaver jobs to be thorough enough , with the sloshing it all around, inside the tubes, you would need to do , for total coverage..
    +1 Properly done, Frame Saver requires stripping the frame down to almost bare form, perhaps only leaving (and masking) the headset cups in place.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Velocivixen's Avatar
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    Tammie's Hobbys in Beaverton has a huge array of paints in small bottles, along with an array of various size/quality brushes. I use Rust-oleum bare metal primer first then the touch up paint. Then I use a clear coat over that if I need more shine. Works out pretty well.

  8. #8
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    Nail polish if it's in your house and at hand and you won't ruin the brush (or use a little hobby brush).

    I use hobby store paint because the bikes I've touched up are blue and my kids don't have blue nail polish! Hobby stores have so many options, the little bottles (i.e. Testor's) are cheap, they have cheap brushes right there. Look for a close match, but don't be afraid to mix a few drops from a couple of bottles on a piece of paper to blend to suit.

    By the way, Michaels - a common chain - has hobby paint and brushes. Look for a lacquer or enamel.

    Me? for small chips, I've just gotten close to matching the color, and from further than 3' away, they're invisible.

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