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Protect Vinyl Lettering From Abrasion

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Protect Vinyl Lettering From Abrasion

Old 08-06-23, 11:29 AM
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Protect Vinyl Lettering From Abrasion

I'm having a bike painted professionally, but the painter has indicated he will not clear-coat over vinyl lettering, which is what I have already purchased for the job. I've used these 2 mil premium vinyl letters before, on my down-tube, and my leg or shifting hand abrades it. What would protect it best; once I get the frame-set home; sealant, brush-on clear coat (to go on just the letters) or a spray clear? If one of these products (or something else) is recommended, should I have the painter refrain from clear-coating? Or should I dispense with the vinyl and go for a proper, factory decal set (one is available)?
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Old 08-06-23, 11:39 AM
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Your painter is worried about the clear coat bubbling or wrinkling the vinyl decals. And probably doesn't want to be responsible for destroying what you paid big bucks for. You do have to be careful of such. I wouldn't brush it on either, you'll get too much clear coat on it at once and it'll wrinkle or bubble. Better IMO, to give several very light SPRAY coats of clear to build up a coating on the decals slowly. But that will look dry and grainy and be rough feeling and maybe not as transparent or clear looking. But once you get several layers, you should be able to properly spray it wet and that'll all clear up.

Maybe if you tell the painter you are okay if they get messed up and you'll bear the cost of replacing if needed then they'll give it a try. If you have some other decals to sacrifice and try on a test piece, all the better.

You might be able to find a clear coat that won't wrinkle the decals. But it might look funny if you can't spray it on.

Last edited by Iride01; 08-06-23 at 01:21 PM. Reason: Added "spray" to clarify whether brushed on or sprayed on.
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Old 08-06-23, 12:27 PM
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Talk to the vinyl decal manufacturer about a recommended clear coat that can be used without wrinkling them.
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Old 08-06-23, 06:39 PM
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You say a proper decal set is available? But yet youíre considering brush painting clear coat on a professionally painted frame??

Isnít the answer obvious?

Last edited by smd4; 08-06-23 at 06:44 PM.
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Old 08-07-23, 06:46 AM
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Let me get this straight: You asked a question soliciting opinions?
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Old 08-07-23, 06:49 AM
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Originally Posted by smd4
Let me get this straight: You asked a question soliciting opinions?
Ok. You have not answered my primary question. What is your experience using brush-on clear coat over vinyl decals?
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Old 08-07-23, 06:51 AM
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It's possible to clear coat almost anything if you do like Iride01 said
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Old 08-07-23, 06:55 AM
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Originally Posted by 1989Pre
Ok. You have not answered my primary question. What is your experience using brush-on clear coat over vinyl decals?
You deleted your primary question. But I digress.

Zero. Because I would never defile a professionally-painted frame in such a manner.

How is it possible to have so much contact with vinyl lettering on a downtube that you're wearing through it? I can't even imagine such a scenario.

Last edited by smd4; 08-07-23 at 06:58 AM.
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Old 08-07-23, 07:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Steel Charlie
It's possible to clear coat almost anything if you do like Iride01 said
Yeah, I just want to give the down-tube decals a little protection, especially the first 2-3 inches up near the right shifter. The brush-on worked on one bike, and laid down flat. I think I'll just be careful and see what results I get. With no spray over the decals, I can always remove them and start again if I am unhappy with the way it looks.
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Old 08-07-23, 07:36 AM
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Originally Posted by smd4
You deleted your primary question. But I digress.

Zero. Because I would never defile a professionally-painted frame in such a manner.

How is it possible to have so much contact with vinyl lettering on a downtube that you're wearing through it? I can't even imagine such a scenario.
As you can see, the thin, black border has been mainly erased on that last letter: M. Also, the silver has been worn down to a flat grey with some white showing. Tell me why the brush-on clear would be harmful or ineffective.
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Old 08-07-23, 08:00 AM
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Originally Posted by 1989Pre
As you can see, the thin, black border has been mainly erased on that last letter: M. Also, the silver has been worn down to a flat grey with some white showing. Tell me why the brush-on clear would be harmful or ineffective.
I still can't imagine how this is happening. The lettering near the top of the right shifter, much closer to where your hand would be, is in much better condition. Are you sweating on the lettering?
I don't give a flying fig if you want to brush paint clear coat over vinyl letters. It's your bike. If you think brush painting looks good, have at it. I've seen vinyl lettering withstand far, far greater abuse.
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Old 08-07-23, 07:54 PM
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It can be done if you want to do it yourself. It'll probably be necessary to scuff up the areas you're intending to put the decals on prior to application of the decals and clear coating. Also, if it's a metal flake paint, don't even bother. Don't sand a metal flake paint coating. I doubt many would go with a metal flake, but I'm throwing that out there. You might want to confer with the painter on what a suitable formulation clear coat you can use with his/her paint as well as to the necessity of scuffing. I wouldn't bother with a brush, but it's possible to get a decent result with a rattle can. Good luck with it.
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Old 08-08-23, 04:28 PM
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Originally Posted by LPaul
You might want to confer with the painter on what a suitable formulation clear coat you can use with his/her paint as well as to the necessity of scuffing. I wouldn't bother with a brush, but it's possible to get a decent result with a rattle can. Good luck with it.
I did talk to the vinyl decal source owner and he said that "many of his customers got a good result from a spray poly or lacquer". I'll do what you are recommending and talk to the painter, Yellow Jersey, and see what he thinks of that. I'm not using a metallic finish, just a gloss Lilac).
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Old 08-08-23, 06:10 PM
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Originally Posted by 1989Pre
I'm having a bike painted professionally, but the painter has indicated he will not clear-coat over vinyl lettering, which is what I have already purchased for the job. I've used these 2 mil premium vinyl letters before, on my down-tube, and my leg or shifting hand abrades it. What would protect it best; once I get the frame-set home; sealant, brush-on clear coat (to go on just the letters) or a spray clear? If one of these products (or something else) is recommended, should I have the painter refrain from clear-coating? Or should I dispense with the vinyl and go for a proper, factory decal set (one is available)?
Use proper transfers that can be clear coated without looking crap. Or use the vinyl letters over the frame builder's clear coat and replace them if they get scruffy. If wear is limited to a particular area you could protect it with helicopter tape.
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