Paint and stripping...
I think my Paramount will be torn down for overhaul and paint soon. I am wondering what the best way to go about this is. I'm a mechanic so I have all the tools to take the bike down, but what I am more interested in is where I should go for painting.
I had a frame powdercoated once and was not to impressed with the durability, finish or quality. I want to treat this old steel girl right and get actual paint laid but don't know where I could get it done. I'm in Grand Rapids, MI if anyone knows anything local. I was thinking of having an auto shop do it but am afraid the cost/quality could be prohibitive since I have no "ins" at any body shops and don't know if they would have the know how to paint a bike.
I was wondering about stripping the existing paint. I was thinking of using a angle grider with a wire brush wheel. Anyone think this could be too agressive w/ the lugs? There is some rust on the edges of the lugs and the grinders done a good job on auto body work I've done. I plan on using an automotive epoxy filler to fill in the small rust damaged areas. After grinding I would go back and finish the frame with a good treatment of fine steel wool.
I want to do this right so input is appreciated. Painting myself is not an option since I want durability and high quality!
I'm surprised you had problems with powdercoat - PC is usually extremely durable since it's baked on. I work for Herman Miller in Spring Lake; all of our stuff is powdercoated and holds up very well.
I'd have to guess that wire brushing would be awfully aggressive - I'd research having it chemically stripped, or possibly sandblasted. Automotive paint shops can mix up any color your want in spray cans, so that might work for you. Another alternative might be marine paints - a 2-part linear polyurethane like Awlgrip would work, provided you have a good clean frame to start with, and do the whole primer routine.
I had the frame of an old BSA motorcycle powder coated, and I was really impressed with the result. Just a couple caveats; it's a fairly thick finish, so you have to be sure to mask any threaded holes, and beware of any other areas that were a tight fit. It's very resistant to scrapes and scratches, but direct impacts -- like a hammer blow -- will make it chip like bathtub porcelain.
I'm suprised you had bad luck with the powder coat. My brother-in-law does PC work and I've seen him lay down some gorgeous stuff with some outstanding durability. I've seen some poor work as well, so check around if this is an option you'd consider at all. As for having a body shop paint it...you might get a break if you aren't real specific about color...like go ask if they will give you a break on squirting it when they have something in the booth in a color that's close enough for you. I can't give advice on stipping, but I'd think that chemical stipping would be best too.
Has opinion, will express
Good old paint stripper, applied with a wide art brush, sections at a time, worked for me.
Takes the frame down to primer first, then a second application will take it back to bare metal. Usually, you will find very little in the way of grinding or sanding was used on the original frame. The remover means you don't have to work into little nooks and crannies around lugs and the bottom bracket. Wash off with suitable thinners, such as acetone.
If you use a wire brush or sandpaper, you might get scuff marks that will appear through to the final finish, unless the powder coat is thick enough, or you apply several layers of primer and finish back with 1200 or 2400 wet (as in water and dishwashing detergent wet) wet-and-dry paper.
The process, of course, requires patience.
I'd consider applying several coats of clear finish irrespective of whether you go the powdercoat or spray paint route. It adds a degree of durability, I've found, including a little bit more resistance against chipping, and helps maintain the gloss.
The last frame I painted was with a couple of cheap cans of spray enamel over several coats of reasonable quality metal primer, then topped at the end with several coats of clear. Worked well on the MTB considering the lack of care shown by the person I lent it to for 12 months.
Unfit, fat and forty
Could a hot-air gun work? I have used it on all sorts of apint removal but never on a bike. Could be worth a try.
Glass bead blasting does and excellent job and will not damage the metal as long as the pressure is low and the nozzle is held at a good distance from the metal. Masking tape will protect any areas you dont want stripped, and the beads leave a nice surface for priming
I agree with the glass beads, although there are a rich varety of blast materials one can use, some very aggressive, some only slightly so (crushed walnut shells, for example, or even common baking soda).