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  1. #1
    Out of breath again. suntreader's Avatar
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    Is paint important?

    I've seen a number of threads that deal with paint/finish, touch-ups, etc. on old bikes. I was wondering how important the paint job really is?

    I'm in the process of rehabilitating my 1983 Schwinn World touring bike. After all these years there are definitely some blemishes and rust spots in the finish. However, the bike itself is mechanically sound and, hopefully, will last many more years if I take care of it. I have cleaned and wiped the blems, so I don't think they will get much worse. Overall, the bike looks pretty good and rides well, so I'm not ashamed to take it around the neighborhood.

    Except for cosmetic considerations, which I admit are important if one is trying to restore a really nice bike, it is "mission critical" to restore a paint job on an old bike?

    If nothing else, isn't there a certain panache when you blow past someone on your beater bike?

  2. #2
    Humvee of bikes =Worksman Nightshade's Avatar
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    "it is "mission critical" to restore a paint job on an old bike?"

    NO, it's not important to "restore" the paint. However, it
    IS important to have a complete coverage paint job of some
    type/color to protect the frame from rust. Other than that
    enjoy your bike, mate.

  3. #3
    H23
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    It is not critical if you don't care about the appearance. However, you should eventually halt the rust areas by cleaning them off and applying spray paint or touch-up paint.

    A total re-paint or powdercoat will cost you 200 USD or more, plus your time to totally disassemble/re-assemble to/from the bare frame. Also you have to have the frame bead blasted to take the old paint off.

    You could do a DIY paint job, but if you want a perfect "new bike" appearance, the painting should be done by a skilled painter. I did a DIY paint job once. It looks okay and it protects the frame, but it does not look like a "nice bike".

  4. #4
    Glutton for Punishment
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    Quote Originally Posted by suntreader
    If nothing else, isn't there a certain panache when you blow past someone on your beater bike?
    Only if you're suffering from some sort of inferiority complex.

  5. #5
    Senior Member giant99's Avatar
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    Im doing a Raleigh as a winter project a 531 frame Im talkin it down to bare metal. And going to put a clear finish on it. Ive striped everything off it. I sanded the forks so far by hand than to get the scratches out I buffed it. The forks shine so bright its a shame I have to clear coat it.

  6. #6
    Out of breath again. suntreader's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by giant99
    Im doing a Raleigh as a winter project a 531 frame Im talkin it down to bare metal. And going to put a clear finish on it. Ive striped everything off it. I sanded the forks so far by hand than to get the scratches out I buffed it. The forks shine so bright its a shame I have to clear coat it.
    Glossy clearcoat should not affect the shine too much, should it?

    Are you going to sandblast any part of the frame? I've read elsewhere that sandblasting is the best way to clean the frame completely, but it also requires significant follow-up sanding the get the bike ready for painting.

  7. #7
    Seņor Member USAZorro's Avatar
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    "Im talkin it down to bare metal"

    I talk to my projects a lot, but it doesn't have this effect.

    Actually, It sounds like you'll have quite a conversation starter on your hands. What are you doing with the sections you've masked off?
    The search for inner peace continues...

  8. #8
    Glutton for Punishment
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    "Im talkin it down to bare metal"

    Look into some breath mints.

  9. #9
    Senior Member giant99's Avatar
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    Ya Ya what ever. he he This is a first for me. Im going to stick with the sanding, the forks were nt tooo tuff. The frame is really scratch up so Im taking everything off. I found this in a pile of bikes at the scrap yard I work at. Ive never even road it. But I read in how they were a good frame so we"ll see.

  10. #10
    Out of breath again. suntreader's Avatar
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    Good news! This evening I ran into a friend who owns a manufacturing company that has its own paint shop. He said he would be glad to make his paint room available to me on the weekends. He will even have his paint manager, who has fourteen years automotive painting experience, train me in the painting process until I am proficient. All I have to pay for is the paint itself.

    The best deal I could find on powder-coating was $100 per bike. Although this is quite reasonable compared to what H23 mentioned, it's still more than I want to pay on "project" bikes.

    Does anyone know what brands/formulations of paint work best on bikes? I figured that a high grade of auto paint and clearcoat might do well. The paint cost would not be a major factor because the small amounts needed to cover a bike.

    Any constructive thoughts would be appreciated.

  11. #11
    Knows Bigfoot's Momma
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    When I worked at an auto restoration shop 15 years ago, all we used was 2 part acrylic enamel. It wasn't as tough as poly paint like Imron, but safer to use, and could be color sanded. Dupont Centari was a favorite brand I remember... It's still around today, but not cheap at $100-$150 a gallon. I'm sure a quart can be had, and should be enough for a bike... Maybe a local auto paint repair place has an interesting color of similar paint they can sell you cheaply. Sometimes they order too much for a job, and the extra just sits in their paint cabinet. Anyway, I vote for acrylic enamel, or if you have the proper spray & breathing equipment, a polyurethane like Imron.

  12. #12
    Out of breath again. suntreader's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheOtherGuy
    or if you have the proper spray & breathing equipment, a polyurethane like Imron.
    This is a painting booth with breathing and air-handling gear. It's regularly inspected by our state health & environmental department, so I'm guessing that it can handle any type of paint. Thanks for the insight.

  13. #13
    Senior Member giant99's Avatar
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    Great deal suntreader. Ay bro could you run this by the paint manager? Ive been talkin to guys I know, who have half ass ideas on the the finishing part of my frame. 1.If I buff the metal the finish will peel off. If this is true Ill go with a satin finish. Also what would be a good clear coat paint that can withstand stone chips. And do I have to treat the metal before painting. Or any of you other folks who may know.

  14. #14
    Out of breath again. suntreader's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by giant99
    could you run this by the paint manager?
    I'll be glad to do more research. It may be a week or two before I go to see the guy. This is my winter project, too, so I'm just taking my time. Since I've never completely dismantled a bike before, I have some learning to do in that area as well.

    I think TheOtherGuy has a good idea about visiting local paint shops in search of leftover paint. I'm only interested in painting it a basic, opaque color such as black (original) or British racing green... something conservative. However, it would be nice to find a high grade of paint on the cheap.

    I've always heard that clearcoat is designed to be a final protective finish instead of the main paint, so it may not meet your needs. However, you're hearing this from a person (me) who has only three days of paint knowledge under his belt. Perhaps TheOtherGuy can answer that one.

    I hope you can work it out. I think a shiny steel Raleigh would look awesome... especially on a sunny day. It would definitely be easy to identify.

  15. #15
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    I don't know if you will get adequate adhesion of clear coat on a bare, steel frame. Most manufacturers put frames through a zinc phosphate, primer and colour coat process. The zinc phosphate promotes adhesion and inhibits rust. A small volume or DIY could improve adhesion by performing a phosphoric acid srub-down to clean and etch the frame. Use a Brillo or 3M scouring pad and proper precautions (rubber gloves, overalls, eye protection, respirator mask). After sitting for 10-15 minutes, the frame should be rinsed in cold water and blown dry. Do not get the acid on chrome surfaces or YOURSELF.

    As for the paint, it really is primarily cosmetic. Just think of the corrosion that is taking place inside the frame, where it is getting minimal protection from the zinc phospahte. Some of the paople buying expensive steel frames, such as Colnago Masters, are have the frames internally coated to prevent corrosion.

  16. #16
    Out of breath again. suntreader's Avatar
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    One other possible solution, but it is not cheap...

    You could buff it out, then have it clear powdercoated. A friend of mine had powdercoated steel handrails installed in his restaurant a couple of years ago and they still look about new. This was a clear satin powdercoat, but a glossy coat may be available. Unlike enamel, powdercoat bonds directly to the bare metal.

    Unfortunately, nothing will shine better than than the buffed, raw metal. I suppose you could keep the bike indoors and buff it just before you go riding each day. Of course, if you miss a few days or get caught in the rain, the results could be disastrous. (grin)

  17. #17
    Custom User Title: jallen's Avatar
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    Not exactly a bike, but I am into modding computers. Doing silly stuff like tricking them out and making them cosmetically pretty and stuff.

    I sanded one down recently to bare metal. I have been meaning to do something about it for more than a month. I had trouble with rust. Every few days there would be rust spots on it. (I keep the bare case in the garage in the meantime).

    It all changed when I used some Turtle Wax Chrome polisher on it. I coated it, left it on a couple days then buffed it clear. Since then its been a few weeks and not a single rust spot developing...

    Maybe that is something one could do to maintain a raw metal shiny cool looking bike
    Learning the ropes of mechanics on my Specialized Hard Rock Sport 2004 that I ride a bit too hard.... and upgrading parts that give me trouble on an excellent frame.

    Hacker's Emblem- What it's all about...

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