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Thread: Polished steel

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    Senior Member sxe fbm rider's Avatar
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    Polished steel

    I have a nicely painted bike, it's like pearl and blue, but I don't like how it looks and the decals are atrocious.. I don't want to rattle can it, I've done that to other bikes, just dont want to. What I want to do is strip it down, sand it with a light paper, and polish it. Has anyone ever done this or seen a bike like this.. I'm not exactly sure how it would look. I've seen raw bikes but never polished. Any expieriences or pictures would be great. Thanks alot.

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    Iguana Subsystem dolface's Avatar
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    don't know if this helps, but i just saw a clear-powedercoated redline ss mountain frame. it looked awesome.

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    we're here, we steer!! mrRed's Avatar
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    that'll be quite the undertaking, but will probably look really nice when its done.

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    Banned. teiaperigosa's Avatar
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    doesn't the paint (at least a few clear coats) protect the bike?

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    'possum killer chuckfox's Avatar
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    Exposed steel + oxygen = rust. You will definitely want to put a clear coat or something on it to protect the steel from oxidation. I'm not sure how well clear coat paint will stick to bare steel. The clear powdercoating sounds like a cool idea.
    Now Wheaties are cheaper than gasoline!

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    information sponge
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    I stripped the paint off a bike once and clear-coated it. Not only was the clearcoat not-so-smooth, but it started to rust pretty fast. A guy who used to work with me has this totally awesome bike known as "rusty bike" which he stripped the paint off of and left naked. This can be cool if you're into it, and as long as you periodically make sure the rust isn't going to far. He pulls the whole thing apart about once every 4 months or so and re-sands the rusty bits. It looks great. Structurally, I dunno, but it looks great.
    Philosophy and feelings don't change the laws of physics

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    I had a frame powdercoated clear a few years ago. it turned out really cool. the sandblasting gave it a metal flake look and parts of the HAZ (heat affected zone) rainbow from welding can still be seen. enough words, see for yourself


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    we're here, we steer!! mrRed's Avatar
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    one thing that can be done to help prevent rust is to get the pieces painted with a baked enamel clear coat instead of powdercoating. It provides a ridiculously strong finish, but i'm not sure how well most frames would take being heated to 350 for half hour or so. I also wouldn't really want to have to re-tap anything after that enamel got baked into a bottom bracket.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sxe fbm rider
    I have a nicely painted bike, it's like pearl and blue, but I don't like how it looks and the decals are atrocious.. I don't want to rattle can it, I've done that to other bikes, just dont want to. What I want to do is strip it down, sand it with a light paper, and polish it. Has anyone ever done this or seen a bike like this.. I'm not exactly sure how it would look. I've seen raw bikes but never polished. Any expieriences or pictures would be great. Thanks alot.
    I have done it to the lugs on my steel frame (and clearcoated them after).
    pic is here: http://www.pbase.com/wojtek_burkot/image/49244563
    Getting a shiny finish with wet sanding is easier than I thought.

  10. #10
    Senior Member sxe fbm rider's Avatar
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    Thanks for the responses.. I've been thinking it would be a lot of work, so I was thinking f just doing th lugs.. And as far as the rainbowing around the welds.. that's something I like so I dont mind that showing.. and I'm not sandblasting, I'm going to use like a chemical stripper and then lightly sand the whole thing and then buff it. Powder coating is not an option, so maybe I will just do the lugs and paint the rest to keep it manageable.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrRed
    one thing that can be done to help prevent rust is to get the pieces painted with a baked enamel clear coat instead of powdercoating. It provides a ridiculously strong finish, but i'm not sure how well most frames would take being heated to 350 for half hour or so. I also wouldn't really want to have to re-tap anything after that enamel got baked into a bottom bracket.
    I'm pretty sure that a steel frame could handle 350 (if it's fahrenheit) pretty much indefinitely. Not much is going to happen to steel unless you get it up to its final tempering temperature, which should be at least 700-800 degrees.

  12. #12
    King of the Hipsters
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    Gunmakers of a hundred years ago developed a finish called "browning."
    One strips the metal and polishes it, and then rubs it with a damp cloth, an oily cloth and a dry cloth.
    The "browner" then stores the metal in a cool, humid place and rubs it daily with the damp cloth, the oily cloth and the dry cloth.
    Over a few weeks, the metal will begin to turn brown, beginning with a golden finish called "wheat."
    Eventually, the metal will turn grey-brown, like the tools one sees on a farm.
    The surface of the metal will have a protective finish of lightly-corroded steel that will protect it, with a little maintenance with an oily cloth, from the elements.
    This method works with 4130 steel.
    Guns and bikes share the same steel.

    When I visited the Bicycle School in Ashland, Oregon, one of the instructors had made a fixie along the lines of a traditional track bike, and then had it nickel plated.
    Nickel plating looks a lot like polished steel; soft grey and darkly lustrous rather than shiny silver like chrome.
    I think it cost about $100.
    It looks beautiful.
    If I ever make a frame in Ashland, I will have it nickel plated.

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