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  1. #1
    Senior Member datlas's Avatar
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    best and easiest source for touch-up paint?

    Sorry if this is a naive question, but searching the forum suggests the best, easiest, and most inexpensive method to find touch-up paint is, ahem, nail polish.

    Now for a modern carbon fiber frame this might make sense, but I am doubtful that a steel frame would be protected from rust, etc by nail polish....but what do I know? I don't use the stuff on my nails.

    Please let me know if this is a good way to go....should I go to the hobby shop or the drugstore to get my touch-up paint?

    Doug
    1986 Alpine

  2. #2
    Tilting with windmills txvintage's Avatar
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    I'm planning on using Testor's model paint for a couple of touch ups. Automotive touch up pens are an option as well.
    Last edited by txvintage; 07-20-08 at 06:43 PM.

  3. #3
    Veni, Vidi, Bici gridplan's Avatar
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    I like paint markers that you can get at just about any hobby store. They're about the size of a pen, but you shake them like a spray can. Some of them have very fine tips that are good for detail work. Like nail polish, they come in a wide range of colors. I think paint markers or nail polish would be fine though as far as keeping moisture out.
    Big hitter, the Lama.

  4. #4
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    I was a little suspicious about Testors model paint enamel, too. (I mean, honestly, the stuff I used to paint my model of the USS Forrestal in the 4th grade??) But the Vintage Trek website suggested it—at least for Trek's Dupont Imron paint—so off I rode to the hobby shop. The guy—obviously into terribly intricate, impressive, difficult-to-assemble models in a big way—takes one look at my bike, an '85 "Race Blue" Trek, and says "wait here". He comes back with a small bottle of Testors "French Blue". "That's your color", he says. Looks a little dark to me, so I ask him if maybe I should get a lighter blue to mix 'em. "Nope… that's all you need." Took it home and, sure enough, it was a perfect match. I was impressed.

  5. #5
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    You would be surprised at how well nail polish of the appropriate colour works. I've used it for years, and some 10 years old touch-ups on my steel road bike are still very well-covered. But if you want more, just match as closely as you can with Testors model paint.

  6. #6
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    I like clear nail polish because the bike does not look WORSE after I touch up little scratches and nicks. With paint, I always make it look worse, and simply draw attention to the amazing numbers of scratches and nicks on my bikes.

  7. #7
    DRF aka Thrifty Bill wrk101's Avatar
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    Hobby Lobby, model enamel, less than $2 per bottle.

  8. #8
    Senior Member datlas's Avatar
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    Thanks for the tips....i will have to find a good hobby shop near me and ride there sometime to see if I can get a good color match (it somehow seems "wrong" to drive for bike-related activities).

    Doug

  9. #9
    Non Tribuo Anus Rodentum and off to the next adventure (RIP) Stacey's Avatar
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    What's important is your color match.
    Testors (enamel) or nail polish (lacquer) is immaterial as long as you have a spot on match.

  10. #10
    Senior Member due ruote's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stacey View Post
    What's important is your color match.
    Testors (enamel) or nail polish (lacquer) is immaterial as long as you have a spot on match.
    +1 I've had good results with both. Sometimes it's hard to get the exact color, though, and in my experience a slightly lighter touch-up will be less noticeable than one that's darker than the original paint.

  11. #11
    Senior Member datlas's Avatar
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    As a follow-up query, if one has small rust spots (like a few mm in size) how necessary is it to use a primer before using the touch-up paint?? I was hoping to brush down to shiny metal, add a dab of naval jelly, and then put on the touchup.....is that a good strategy??

    Doug

  12. #12
    Senior Member Grand Bois's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by datlas View Post
    As a follow-up query, if one has small rust spots (like a few mm in size) how necessary is it to use a primer before using the touch-up paint?? I was hoping to brush down to shiny metal, add a dab of naval jelly, and then put on the touchup.....is that a good strategy??

    Doug
    You must use primer.

  13. #13
    Senior Member datlas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dirtdrop View Post
    You must use primer.
    ok thanks...next dumb question, can I use "testors" primer or whatever they have at the hobby shop??

  14. #14
    Vintage French Bike Fan
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    You want an etching primer. Testor's won't likely sell that. A good start would be Rustoleum's rusty metal primer (it's orange). The can is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay more than you need, but if you use a fine point model brush and cover with Testor's lacquer that should be a substantial repair.

    Karl

  15. #15
    Senior Member datlas's Avatar
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    Update: On my ride home from work today, I stopped by a small hobby shop. I luckily found a color that is reasonably close to mine (probably "95%" match - not quite right but good enough for my purposes).

    I tried it on a few scratches and non-rusted bare areas of my frame, and it looks ok.

    And the good news is that for the 1/4 ounce bottle (testors high gloss enamel), the guy let me have it for $1. I am in cheapskate heaven!!

    Now I have to find an inexpensive 1/4 ounce bottle of etching primer and naval jelly for the rust spots....any ideas?

    Doug

  16. #16
    Senior Member RobbieTunes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by datlas View Post
    ...

    Now I have to find an inexpensive 1/4 ounce bottle of etching primer and naval jelly for the rust spots....any ideas?

    Doug
    Go to an auto body paint supplier and ask if he has a sample of etching primer.

    Wal-Mart has a rust remover, cheapo, in a white bottle. It works well with a Q-tip or toothbrush. Follow the directions. And remember all this is so much easier with a frame free of other parts.

    If I use nail polish to touch up, I smooth it out and then mask off the section well and shoot some hobby clear acrylic over it, very little.

    I've had good luck with Testor's, and also Duplicolor automotive touch-up paint (also at Wal-Mart and lots of other places). Burgundys, silver metallics, black and some whites, in particular. Good applicator makes me look more dextrous than I am.

    And sometimes, like A. Winthrop and JunkYardBike have told me, sometimes, you let it ride and ride it.

    Robbie ♪♫♪...☻

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    ...or maybe you did, and that's why you're so mad.


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  17. #17
    Senior Member Grand Bois's Avatar
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    For anybody that has a white Peugeot, Duplicolor white wheel paint is a close match. It's acrylic enamel, not lacquer like their touch up paints. That means it's more durable. The stays, seat cluster, fork and part of the head tube on my PA10 have been repainted and nobody spots it. I use white rubbing compound after the paint cures for a few days to even out the gloss.



    Last edited by Grand Bois; 07-21-08 at 10:26 PM.

  18. #18
    Senior Member datlas's Avatar
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    Thanks again for the tips....if I use cheapo or an etching primer, can I skip the naval jelly step???

  19. #19
    Non Tribuo Anus Rodentum and off to the next adventure (RIP) Stacey's Avatar
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    Why are you hung up on Naval Jelly? Naval Jelly is a chemical rust remover which should be neutralized prior to finishing. If you are able to remove the rust via mechanical means (sandpaper, etc.) the Naval Jelly now has nothing to do. Just curious, not berating.

  20. #20
    Senior Member datlas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stacey View Post
    Why are you hung up on Naval Jelly? Naval Jelly is a chemical rust remover which should be neutralized prior to finishing. If you are able to remove the rust via mechanical means (sandpaper, etc.) the Naval Jelly now has nothing to do. Just curious, not berating.
    Stacey, the reason for the hangup is that I have a rust spot on my down tube (from brake trauma/handlebar turned too far) and several months ago, I sanded it down to bare/shiny metal....and then painted it....and after a few months the rust returned under the paint. Now I did not use primer, just paint....but still I am concerned about the rust recurring, and the suggestion I have heard is to use naval jelly....but I am open to trying with just primer and paint, if you think that would work for my purposes.

    Doug

  21. #21
    Non Tribuo Anus Rodentum and off to the next adventure (RIP) Stacey's Avatar
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    I'm assuming you didn't wipe the area down with spirits before painting either?

    I'm not a painter, but I stayed in a Holiday Inn. Either way, chemical or mechanical the rust has to come off, the metal cleaned and preferably etched and primed (See self etching primer above) then painted in a low humidity environment with a compressor and paint ***. A quick scuff with sand paper, a dusting and a shot w/ a rattle can just won't do it.

  22. #22
    Senior Member Dilberto's Avatar
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    BUMP - How should I do this frame?

    Sorry, to revive a dead thread - but I am debating if I should touch up or do a full strip/repaint?





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  23. #23
    Senior Member Cog_wild's Avatar
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    finger nail polish, cheap and comes in a whole lot of colors with free little brushes you never have to clean.

  24. #24
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    Reviving again in order to clarify a few things in this thread:

    Self-etching primer is sold in a spray can for a reason; it's a great product for a full frame home paint job. It is absolutely unnecessary for a small touch up. If you are spraying it into a cup and then brushing it on, you are using it wrong. The product is meant to be sprayed on very lightly prior to using a standard metal primer. It will also absorb moisture in the air, and should be covered with a base coat asap if you do use it on a project.

    Naval-jelly is an acid. Using naval jelly will "etch" the metal and help the paint to adhere. It serves the same purpose as self-etching primer. It's highly amusing to see one recommended while the other is discouraged... but hey, that's the internet for you!
    Applied to the surface, the jelly does not need to be neutralized (but excess should be wiped off per manufacturer instructions). [I've coated the entire inside of a frame with the stuff and rinsed it out with standard tap water prior to applying frame-saver after the frame was dry; there is no need to wash out a frame with baking-soda or any other neutralizing agent].

    There are better products than naval jelly available that are usually located on the same shelf. Grab a rust-reformer which is a white milky looking liquid that will convert the rust using the same action (phosphoric acid to black ferric phosphate) as the naval-jelly and will also leave a paintable surface which doesn't require a primer and is sealed against moisture. The excess can be cleaned off with acetone once it has dried. We used this product on pumps in a salt-water environment at the bottom of an aircraft carrier without any additional top coats of paint; it does the job. That said, naval jelly will be fine too, but, it is recommended to use a primer with it. FWIW, I find that the Loctite brand (sold at Ace, Home Depot, etc.) works better than the Rustoleum brand sold at Walmart.

    @datlas, if you are able to seal out moisture after removing the visible rust, there shouldn't be a need for any additional rust-proofing. A good primer/paint will seal out moisture. Rustoleum makes a rusty-metal primer which can be used on a heavily rusted surface (visible rust). The benefit of a rusty-metal primer is that it has zinc added into the paint which is a sacrificial anode; the zinc will oxidize instead of the steel... stopping the rust cycle. For most cases, the "clean-metal primer" will be sufficient to seal out moisture without the added zinc. If you had rust after painting, it is due to moisture under the paint (or the paint itself was allowing moisture to pass).

    Testors enamel or standard nail polish will adhere without a primer, this is not a necessary step (but it may be helpful to seal out moisture)... especially on a bigger chip. I probably wouldn't even bother on any chips smaller than a pencil eraser.

    Speaking of pencil erasers: grab some 600grit sand paper and use a hole-punch to make small sanding discs. Use rubber cement to attach these discs to the top of a pencil eraser. Use that to prep your work area. For the most part, I just use rubbing alcohol to remove any light surface rust but I love the pencil trick.

    The best applicator is a clean tooth pick dipped 1-2mm into the model paint. Place the tooth pick in the center of the chip and allow it to flow by capillary action into the chip. Several coats may be necessary (keep them as light as possible until the chip is filled). After it has dried for a few days, use a 2000 grit sand paper to level everything out (you can buy this in the automotive dept of walmart). Wait a month, then top with a wax finish.

    @Dilberto, if you are happy with the color and want to maintain the decals... just touch it up. Otherwise, give the frame a good cleaning, scrape away any loose paint, and start with a few layers of filling-primer. On an aluminum frame, it doesn't matter so much. If it was a steel frame, I'd suggest a full strip if there was any possibility of hidden rust.

    Again, sorry for another revival... my first post here too. Some of the bad info in this thread was rubbing me the wrong way.

    Current Restoration Projects: 1998 Schwinn Paramount / 1977 Motobecane Super Mirage

  25. #25
    Keener splendor TimmyT's Avatar
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    I've been known to bring a fork into stores, particularly drugstores and beauty shops, to find the right nail polish.

    Quote Originally Posted by headloss View Post
    Speaking of pencil erasers: grab some 600grit sand paper and use a hole-punch to make small sanding discs. Use rubber cement to attach these discs to the top of a pencil eraser. Use that to prep your work area. For the most part, I just use rubbing alcohol to remove any light surface rust but I love the pencil trick.
    Thanks for the tip, I guess. I'm anal, but I'm not this anal.
    Quote Originally Posted by Craigslist View Post
    Note to you BLOWHARD MORONS out there: The fork is not bent. Most PEUGEOTS of the '70s forks DID NOT line up with the head tube angle. This is normal. The last pic is from the 1972 Dutch catalog showing this EXACT MODEL in diagram. Keep your comments to yourself......
    It's pronounced, "Co-burn."

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