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Remove paint off of... Paint

Old 11-02-15, 06:48 PM
  #1  
tronnyjenkins 
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Remove paint off of... Paint

I picked up a Bianchi that someone painted some lizards on. I'm not sure what kind of paint it is specifically, but I was wondering what would be best to try that won't hurt the original paint? Would fingernail polish remover be ok to try first in case that's what it's painted with?
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Old 11-02-15, 09:16 PM
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Hopefully some one can be more helpful but I believe that fingernail polish remover is basically acetone though maybe diluted and if it is fingernail polish, which is common, you are in luck. In my experience acetone has not hurt vintage paint, don't get it near decals or any stickers.
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Old 11-03-15, 05:31 AM
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Whatever you decide to try, check out its effect on your underlying paint in an inconspicuous area first. First, do no harm.
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Old 11-03-15, 05:45 AM
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I've gotten ATV's and dirt bikes that have had rattle can paint jobs on the plastic which is pretty easily removed with a rag and lacquer thinner, which had little effect on the plastic. I'd guess it would be most dependent on what type of paint was used to paint the lizards but most any high quality solvent based paint should stand up to a little lacquer thinner but will likely require some polishing and wax afterwards. Of course it would be best to test on the original paint somewhere inconspicuous first, good luck.
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Old 11-03-15, 06:31 AM
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I'd try chipping it off with something hard, but won't scratch the original paint...like a sharp piece of hard plastic. Rubbing compound might even take it off.

Dan
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Old 11-03-15, 06:42 AM
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A lot of unknowns here, like how much paint needs to be removed and how patient are you. Keep in mind that - short of a whole new paint job - there's no going back if you ruin your original paint.

Flip the bike over and put a dab of nail polish remover on the underside of the bottom bracket shell. Watch for any softening or lifting of the factory paint (assuming that's what the bike finish is). If the paint reacts in any way, immediately wipe with a wet sponge.

If the paint is unharmed, try a dab of your remover on the least conspicuous lizard. If the unwanted paint softens, try lifting or scraping with your fingernail. If this method shows promise, make a scraper out of a plastic eating utensil and CAREFULLY proceed with scraping at an acute angle, as if you were removing paint from glass. If this method succeeds without harming the original paint, and you have a small area that's clean, wipe it immediately with a wet sponge to remove the acetone.

If the nail polish remover shows promise with the lizards but only slowly, try straight acetone. Repeat the testing on the BB shell in case the stuff is too strong for the original paint.

No success with any of this? Talk to a custom car painter and pick their brains. However, don't rush into anything just because they recommend it - always test a method cautiously first. As Andy says, primum non nocere.

Last edited by habilis; 11-03-15 at 06:46 AM.
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Old 11-03-15, 06:56 AM
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Not all finger polish remover has acetone, in fact most don't. Buy some acetone and lacquer thinner from Home Depot and try a small spot. Return the solvent that didn't work. Good luck with your project.
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Old 11-03-15, 07:45 AM
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Check out this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G7gebO5paEE

A lot depends on the composition and condition of the original paint, and whether it was every waxed. Your success depends largely on there being no chemical bond between the old paint and the new.
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Old 11-03-15, 08:33 AM
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If it was my bike, I'd try polishing compound.
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Old 11-03-15, 08:42 AM
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My experience with polishing compound is that it works on all surfaces it is applied to, including the original paint. At the edge between the new and original, there is often a "step" that is the layer depth difference. This is where the polish creates a ghost of no impact creating a halo effect.

Bottom line I wouldn't use Polishing compound. The chemical approach would be my choice.
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Old 11-03-15, 08:54 AM
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Originally Posted by blakcloud View Post
Not all finger polish remover has acetone, in fact most don't. Buy some acetone and lacquer thinner from Home Depot and try a small spot. Return the solvent that didn't work. Good luck with your project.
Acetone is the most common finger nail polish remover. There are a few out there that contain ethyl acetate but most use acetone.

That said, acetone probably isn't the best choice for removing dried paint. The paint used to paint the frame is tougher than a home paint job for various reasons. I found a bike for my daughter that had parts of it which had been rattle can painted. Goof-Off did an excellent job of removing the rattle can paint without harming the original paint.
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Old 11-03-15, 10:12 AM
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Denatured Alcohol will work on latex paints and usually will take off the newest layer such as your lizards before attacking the base layers. Most likely your Bianchi's original paint is not latex though but test a small area first. After you're finished wipe off the surfaces with some mild detergent or even just water to remove any residue. I believe products such as Goof Off and similar sell different formulas for different paints as well.
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Old 11-03-15, 10:22 AM
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I think factory paint jobs are typically polyurethane or epoxy and are highly solvent resistant when cured, while your lizards are more likely to be sign painting enamel, house paint or artist's paint and susceptible to things like lacquer thinner, or citrus oils like goo-gone. The one thing you should definitely avoid are actual paint strippers like methylene chloride, which will definitely attack the factory paint. If you are wary of solvents you could try a 3M decal stripping wheel. This is an abrasive disk for a drill that is used to remove stickers without attacking the underlying paint. It might not work on the painted lizards, but it is unlikely to damage the factory paint.
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Old 11-04-15, 12:39 AM
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If the lizards are done in a sign painting enamel I think your best bet is Meguiar's Clear Coat Safe Rubbing Compound. (maroon bottle with a yellow dodge challenger on the label) This stuff is different than most compounds out there in that the cutting is more chemical than abrasive. Gentle agitation over the graphic, (with some patience), will probably remove it without damage to the underlying finish. (apply with a microfiber towel) Once the offensive reptile is removed, you will probably do the remainder of the frame when you see the possibilities of the product. One Shot striping enamels, (and other sign paints), are generally removed from hardened painted finishes with the lowest, cheapest, non-optioned grade of Easy-Off oven cleaner you can find. Spray on small area, let sit for 10-15 seconds, hose off with strong stream of water. Repeat. Don't let the cleaner dry, don't let it work for more than just a few seconds, and make sure to thoroughly rinse after each application. It's a crap shoot, no guaranties on how other paint may be affected. If the sign paint has been on for a long time, sign enamels can swell original finishes outward in the location/shape of the applied enamel paint. In other words, if the painted-on lizard goes away, that area may look like the original bike finish was sprayed OVER the lizard. I think i've heard the term "expressed" used for this problem. All this aside for a minute, if the graphic is just about any other type of paint, I think the Meguire's will handle it. If it is a sign paint, the Meguiar's is likely to be the least detrimental to the original factory applied finish. I would give it first shot at your project. Available at most any auto parts store. THIS PRODUCT, is the only compound I'm aware of that works like this, (with minimal or non-existant abrasiveness).
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Old 11-04-15, 09:06 AM
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Someone tried to personalize their bike - not always such a bad thing. Is this a rare or high-end Bianchi? Do the lizards have any artistic merit? Do they seriously detract from the appearance of the bike? Are you worried about resale value, which usually is way below the purchase price when new? Factor in these considerations before deciding that the critters must go. There is always the chance of doing more harm than good.

Sometimes a priceless work of art is damaged, and conservation experts restore it to perfect or near-perfect condition. We mortals have no idea of the time, patience, skill, and technology involved.

Last edited by habilis; 11-04-15 at 09:10 AM.
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Old 11-04-15, 10:30 AM
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Originally Posted by habilis View Post
Someone tried to personalize their bike - not always such a bad thing. Is this a rare or high-end Bianchi? Do the lizards have any artistic merit? Do they seriously detract from the appearance of the bike? Are you worried about resale value, which usually is way below the purchase price when new? Factor in these considerations before deciding that the critters must go. There is always the chance of doing more harm than good.

Sometimes a priceless work of art is damaged, and conservation experts restore it to perfect or near-perfect condition. We mortals have no idea of the time, patience, skill, and technology involved.

Thanks for this comment and all the others. It is indeed a very nice frame, 1990 Bianchi Mondiale. The paint is actually in great shape and I'm making progress on the reptile removal. I feel kind of bad because it actually does seem that someone did work very hard to paint them on. Maybe I'll leave one as a tribute to the original owner. I feel like five is too many though, haha.

So far I've tried-
Goo Gone- it didn't even touch it
Fingernail polish remover with acetone (thanks dear)- it has been working very slowly
Nu Finish auto polish- it's great for after the acetone and buffs it to a crazy deep polish.

It's probably going to take hours to get them off... but the frame is worth it. Plus I have day off.


...Back to work
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Old 11-04-15, 10:32 AM
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This took probably 20 minutes.
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Old 11-04-15, 11:24 AM
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Originally Posted by tronnyjenkins View Post
Goo Gone- it didn't even touch it
Be aware that Goo-Gone and Goof-Off are two different products. I stumbled across the Goof-Off when I was actually looking for Goo-Gone to remove adhesives. The Goof-off works very well for removing adhesives and worked quite well for removing paint. Goo-Gone is more like Simple Green.
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Old 11-04-15, 11:33 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
Be aware that Goo-Gone and Goof-Off are two different products. I stumbled across the Goof-Off when I was actually looking for Goo-Gone to remove adhesives. The Goof-off works very well for removing adhesives and worked quite well for removing paint. Goo-Gone is more like Simple Green.
In my experience, Goof-Off works far better at removing adhesive than Goo-Gone. Never tried the former for paint removal whereas I've always trusted Goo-Gone NOT to remove paint. Goo-Gone is great for cleaning grease that accumulates on cabinets around the kitchen stove, though, something most household cleaners fail miserably at.
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Old 11-04-15, 11:37 AM
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Originally Posted by tronnyjenkins View Post


This took probably 20 minutes.
Congratulations on your success! And thanks for posting your experience and the products/methods you used. The lizard is cute, but it's definitely not the Sistine Chapel.
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Old 11-04-15, 12:19 PM
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Lacquer thinner ended up being much easier (still took probably an hour+), but I got them off. Left one small one that I at least know how to get off down the road if I ever sell it.
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Old 11-05-15, 08:55 AM
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Originally Posted by joejack951 View Post
In my experience, Goof-Off works far better at removing adhesive than Goo-Gone. Never tried the former for paint removal whereas I've always trusted Goo-Gone NOT to remove paint. Goo-Gone is great for cleaning grease that accumulates on cabinets around the kitchen stove, though, something most household cleaners fail miserably at.
I doubt that Goof-Off would remove original paint if the frame painter knew what they were doing. I did find it to work on rattle can spray paint, however.
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Old 02-01-16, 09:21 AM
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Got all the lizards off...
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Old 02-01-16, 10:23 AM
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Originally Posted by tronnyjenkins View Post
Got all the lizards off...
Mind telling us what worked best?
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Old 02-01-16, 01:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Crankycrank View Post
Mind telling us what worked best?
Lacquer thinner and elbow grease. Didn't seem to hurt the original finish.
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