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Old 10-09-08, 08:28 PM   #1
EraserGirl
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preserving decals

okay race fans
today i bought a 52 year old bike that only had one owner
1956 Raleigh Robin Hood , that i named "Marian"

perfectly preserved all the way down to all the marvelous decorations
and she has a LOT.

I am terrified that when i go to wash it and in the future the decals will flake off...
and we KNOW that the do.
one person told me to protect them with clear nail polish.

What is the general consensus? i'd rather have them protected than damaged because i didn't do anything.
i am not planning on selling this bike.
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Old 10-09-08, 08:54 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by EraserGirl View Post
okay race fans
today i bought a 52 year old bike that only had one owner
1956 Raleigh Robin Hood , that i named "Marian"

perfectly preserved all the way down to all the marvelous decorations
and she has a LOT.

I am terrified that when i go to wash it and in the future the decals will flake off...
and we KNOW that the do.
one person told me to protect them with clear nail polish.

What is the general consensus? i'd rather have them protected than damaged because i didn't do anything.
i am not planning on selling this bike.
I share your caution, but don't have the answer. I've protected some much newer (1980) decals with automotive clear coat from the touch-up paint rack.

that bike is as cute as can be, and Marian (Maid Marian of course) is perfect for her. You are such a romantic!
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Old 10-09-08, 10:48 PM   #3
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experiment results
nail polish - not that good.

i tried it on a small decal that was under a screwed on cable guide
on the second pass, the decal reacted with the nail polish and smeared a little.

i would try something more docile
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Old 10-10-08, 12:08 AM   #4
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Clear acrylic lacquer.
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Old 10-10-08, 03:24 AM   #5
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EG,

My oldest set of decals are on a '62 Continental. They are yellowed, but mostly intact. I treat the entire frame with Meguiars polish and wax, the last two steps of their 3 step process a couple of times each year. I go heavy over the decals. So far they have stayed in the same shape as I found them.
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Old 10-10-08, 05:11 AM   #6
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Pretty bike

A good coating of wax like 'pastor bob' mentioned would be good. Then store it in your house out of the sunlight when you're not riding it. A bike that old and in nice shape needs to be pampered.
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Old 10-10-08, 08:46 AM   #7
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couple cents to add: most *cleaner* automobile waxes are called that because they have abrasives that "clean away" old oxidized paint and dirt. If you are concerned about what an abrasive will do to fragile old decals, you need to go *very gentle* with a cleaner wax, or find one of the few waxes that has NO cleaner feature: Mothers make one but they also make cleaner waxes so you must read the labels carefully.
As Mswantek says, usually acrylic lac, such as used for artwork, is not as aggressive as nail polish (which is really just lacquer and thinned with lac thinner or straight acetone), but you have to read those labels to be sure. Since you know the solvent in nail polish attacks your decals, you want something that does not contain acetone. I've had pretty good luck with Krylon Crystal Clear which is a spray acrylic and can be misted on with very light coats and seems to be gentle on *most*, but not all, decals. The trick with it is to use a very light coat at first and allow that, and each successive coat, to dry completely before adding more: you want the solvent to evaporate away rather than heaping solvent upon solvent.
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Old 10-10-08, 10:17 AM   #8
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couple cents to add: most *cleaner* automobile waxes are called that because they have abrasives that "clean away" old oxidized paint and dirt. If you are concerned about what an abrasive will do to fragile old decals, you need to go *very gentle* with a cleaner wax, or find one of the few waxes that has NO cleaner feature: Mothers make one but they also make cleaner waxes so you must read the labels carefully.
As Mswantek says, usually acrylic lac, such as used for artwork, is not as aggressive as nail polish (which is really just lacquer and thinned with lac thinner or straight acetone), but you have to read those labels to be sure. Since you know the solvent in nail polish attacks your decals, you want something that does not contain acetone. I've had pretty good luck with Krylon Crystal Clear which is a spray acrylic and can be misted on with very light coats and seems to be gentle on *most*, but not all, decals. The trick with it is to use a very light coat at first and allow that, and each successive coat, to dry completely before adding more: you want the solvent to evaporate away rather than heaping solvent upon solvent.
thanks
unfortunately using a spray means masking just about everything except a 1.5" decal on a dimpled fender
i did another test on another hidden area and found that one brush coat of the nail polish did not effect the decal. for the larger decorations i will be looking for a nice wax
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