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Old 07-11-09, 11:06 AM   #1
bergermeister
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Remove top layer of paint?

So, I'm not hopeful about the answer, but figured I'd ask anyway...

Anyone have any luck removing the top layer of paint to expose the original paint? I bought a bike with a crappy repaint job and just wanted to bring out the stickers/logo painted underneath, then have the rest powder coated.

I've tried sanding, brass wire, rubbing compound, and a careful chisel. These methods work, but are very tedious and unless you're very careful, tough not to go all the way through to bare metal.

Thanks for any advice.
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Old 07-11-09, 11:48 AM   #2
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I've had success removing a poor rattle can paint job with a 3M chemical paint stripper; left the original paint intact and you have to be careful on the decals.
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Old 07-11-09, 01:03 PM   #3
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Sometimes you can lightly sand and use a paint thinner on the top layer to reveal the bottom layer but it is tedious and challenging. It may be possible to strip the paint, mask the decals with high temp masking and powder coat the frame but I doubt it. And if you could, it would look like crap. What kind of bike? What kind of decals?

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Old 07-11-09, 02:40 PM   #4
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Maybe WD40

I've heard WD40 can remove rattle can paint without harming the original paint but I am not sure of this. It might be worth a try.
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Old 07-11-09, 03:12 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by bergermeister View Post
, then have the rest powder coated.
Can't .. or shouldn't, powdercoat over paint of any kind!

If you decide to go powdercoat, the frame will be blasted clean, then coated.
Decals can be added later and then cleared over with automotive clear paint.

You CAN paint over powdercoat, but you can't powdercoat over paint.

Good luck with that!
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Old 07-11-09, 11:51 PM   #6
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I've heard WD40 can remove rattle can paint without harming the original paint but I am not sure of this. It might be worth a try.
WD40 is unpredictable to a degree-- I've found it will work on rattle can paint (at least the cheap stuff you see in the big box stores), but it will damage some types of factory vintage paint too (especially hand pinstriping). It will also create "grease spots" on some vintage paints as well. Then again, I've found certain types of rattle can paint resist WD40. I guess it's hit or miss. I'd avoid that method I guess, just because it can cause some real problems with certain factory paints.
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Old 07-12-09, 11:05 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by bergermeister View Post
So, I'm not hopeful about the answer, but figured I'd ask anyway...

Anyone have any luck removing the top layer of paint to expose the original paint? I bought a bike with a crappy repaint job and just wanted to bring out the stickers/logo painted underneath, then have the rest powder coated.

I've tried sanding, brass wire, rubbing compound, and a careful chisel. These methods work, but are very tedious and unless you're very careful, tough not to go all the way through to bare metal.

Thanks for any advice.
Acetone, it turned this:














into this:












without harming anything! orig paint is fine as are the orig decals>
The orig paint was already chipped and scratched underneath the rattle can paint job, but orig is orig, no matter what.
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Last edited by ilikebikes; 07-12-09 at 11:08 AM.
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Old 07-12-09, 04:10 PM   #8
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What kind of bike? What kind of decals?

vjp
Thanks for the comments to all. I will try the acetone and/or paint thinner to see what comes out.

The bike is an old tandem Peugeot with a mixte rear and some interesting components like super champion competition rims, TA cyclotouriste cranks, lyotard pedals, etc. It had a respray at some point, and I started sanding just to see what brand the bike was. I considered preserving the small lion area decals on the seat tube with tape and having the rest blasted and powder coated. Still weighing options, but will likely just coat it all.
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Old 07-12-09, 04:47 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by ilikebikes View Post
Acetone, it turned this:into this:without harming anything! orig paint is fine as are the orig decals>
The orig paint was already chipped and scratched underneath the rattle can paint job, but orig is orig, no matter what.
I wouldn't really know, but it's possible that the old paint was enamel and the topcoat was lacquer. Enamel plasticizes in addition to hardening by solvent evaporation whereas lacquer hardens purely by solvent evaporation, implying that it is more susceptible to solvents. I suspect that enamel would not have come off or if it had, it would have only come off with the base coat. Just a guess.
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