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Frame Restoration (rust & paint removal and reapplication)

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Frame Restoration (rust & paint removal and reapplication)

Old 07-05-20, 11:25 AM
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Frame Restoration (rust & paint removal and reapplication)

I made an earlier post inquiring about rust removal, thinking that I would only be touching up areas where the paint was worn away on my steel, David Scott Centurion Iron Man from the late 80's.. From the pictures I posted, it was suggested I strip the frame as the areas were too large to effectively cover with any touch-up operation. I have no prior experience stripping and painting bikes, but have an interest in doing so, but also weariness of potentially ruining my bike. I neither have a great familiarity with bike mechanical work and therefore lack perhaps essential tools, for instance, from what is available in my garage I don't seem to be able to remove and reinstall my threaded headset or my bottom bracket(were I paint my bike, could I cover those parts I wish not to be painted or is it always better to avoid such a risk?), and for applying paint I don't have a pressurized sprayer. However, from what research I've done (https://www.sheldonbrown.com/paint-prep.html) and what's been given to me on the forums, the general procedure seems:

Removal of Rust - Sand paper then application of phosphoric acid
Stripping of Paint - Any recommendations on paint stripper for Steel frame bikes?
Priming - Sanding with emory cloth to abrate the surface in preparation for primer spray
Painting - I would be using a spray can

Does it seem I have an adequate idea of how to proceed, is it an issue that my bottom bracket and headset are still intact, is there any general advice one who is more experienced than I could give? Thank you very much for any information or suggestion contributed!

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Old 07-05-20, 12:33 PM
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You don't have a rust problem IMO. If you want to paint it all, then paint it. If you want to clean and touch up those areas to prevent rust from getting out of control and damaging the frame, then clean it off an touch it up.

There is no big mystery to dealing with rust and painting a piece of steel. Just use the manufacturer recommendations for the product you use.
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Old 07-05-20, 12:49 PM
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I wouldn't bother, that looks fine to me, maybe a little touch up on the chainstay....

If you are gonna do it, you'll have to find some really good paints. Manufacturers have access to really good primers and stuff that your average layman can't get a hold of. In my experience painting frames, rattle can paint makes a nice looking but not very durable finish. I've tried both acrylic and alkyd-resin based sprays and they always chip much easier than the original paint.

Powder coating is something you might want to look into...

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Old 07-05-20, 01:11 PM
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I suggest using chemical stripper for as much of the paint removal as you can. The brand I am using currently is Jasco. I find roughening up the shinny surfaces first with a quick sanding helps the stuff bite better. Only after as much stripper paint removal would I go to mechanical methods. Shoe shine sanding with production cloth (emery cloth), 80 grit works for me will finish the vast majority of the surface, down to bare steel. But it will be the drop outs, braze ons and lug shore likes that will take the longest. For these the absolute best way is a sand blaster. Otherwise a lot of time with awkward and short hand strokes with various rolled up or folded against a knife edge pieces of cloth will be needed. A lot of time. If you can I would strongly suggest seeking a commercial outfit that does paint, powder coaters comes to mind, that will do this last bit of paint removal. But care needs to be taken as many commercial outfits don't appreciate the thin wall and delicate aspect of bike frames. By doing as much of the paint removal before they blast the rest you minimize their need to dwell on the thin stuff. (The PC guy I work with charges $50 to strip an entire frame, well worth it IMO. Less if the frame is mostly already clean).

Once cleaned a coating of a rust inhibitor, like Navel Jelly (phosphate) should go on ASAP. And then primer the same day if at all possible. You will use far more primer/paint then you will think because so much will be blow by. This and that with the non flat surfaces with lots of complexity at the joints will make for a challenging job to get even and consistent thickness. It's easy to have more paint of the joints then the tube centers, as example. I strongly suggest some practice on a junk frame.

All paint/primers have a specific window or recoating with no sanding between the layers. But once this time window goes by a recoat without the prep of sanding will result is poor adhesion. Of course if there's drips that need sanding the paint will need to be hard enough to sand, and not just gummy about. This means that the whole layer with the drips will need sanding. Different paints will harden at different rates then other kinds do.

The common hardware store rattle can paint is a single stage kind, shake up the can (best if also warmed by hot tap water) and squirt. Car paint shops often have a two stage version in spray can. The can has the color and the hardener and are mixed by breaking an internal barrier then shaking. This type will harden chemically to a stronger coating but the can has to be used within a window of time or it will get clogged as the paint in the can begins to cure once the two parts are mixed.

I'm sure others will have their advice too. Andy
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Old 07-05-20, 09:17 PM
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As you noted the headset and bottom bracket are still in the frame. These should be removed before stripping the paint and repainting and the threads and headset seating surfaces cleaned before reassembly. This is easy for a well-equipped bike shop and nearly impossible without the special tools and skills for the job.
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Old 07-05-20, 10:27 PM
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...if those photos are your only problem areas, a complete strip and repaint (with new decals) would be a waste of your time and resources.

I don't have any photos of touch up restorations I've done, but in general, for an area like a stay or that top tube, it's better to mask off at both ends of the tube/stay, and spray the whole frame member with as close a color match as you can get. The preparation for this is usually sanding and roughing the entire frame member, and smoothing out the area where paint is missing, so you get a smooth surface for the primer and color paint over that. The heavily rusted areas like the cable guides can be sanded on the outside, cleaned on the inside with a roiund chain say file of the proper diameter, and then treated with one of many products (Rustoleum makes one called rust converter) that leave a paintable surface. Or if you get it clean enough, just go with primer.

Stuff like the cable guides, the small area on the edge of the head tube lug, etc are better covered with a small brush. If you're using spray paint, just spray out some of it in a pool on a piece of cardboard, and use that liquid paint to load your brush..

You kind of get better at it as you progress. Any paint you put on that is not up to your standards is best removed quickly with a rag and acetone or mineral spirits. Let the area dry offf for an hour or a day, then try again.

The spot on the down tube will be the hardest to do. You want to get a close color match in a spray paint, then mask the decals, but don't spray right up to the edge of your mask, You want to feather the paint in before you get that far.
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Old 07-06-20, 06:44 AM
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I suggest value in a search over on the C&V Forum. You will find many pages of recommendations on materials & techniques on similar projects.
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Old 07-06-20, 08:48 AM
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I would maybe touch up the lug and cable tunnels, but the chain stay would get black athletic tape carefully cut ends to cover the chips.
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