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Old 02-26-08, 04:21 PM   #1
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How to remove lacquer + old decals?

I recently bought a bike which has been nicely resprayed but with the previous owner's name on downtube, seat tube & headtube. It's a nicely painted Harry Hall 531C frame. I want to remove theses decals. There is one coat of lacquer - see photo. I took it to Visual Impact (Bristol, UK) who do Argos's decalling. They suggested I phone Argos which I'll do tommorrow.

Has anyone done this? I don't want to respray the entire frame. Just want to remove the lacquer from over the decals, then peel the existing (vinyl) decals off. Then affix new Harry Hall decals from Visual Impact and apply fresh lacquer over top - with a brush? Applying and then peeling off some sticky backing in the shop brought some of the single coat of lacquer off and showed how delicate the decal underneath was. Suggestions appreciated. Steve

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Old 02-26-08, 05:42 PM   #2
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this gets brought up ALL THE TIME!

ok here we go again,......

in short, YOU CAN'T. (notice the period?)

99% of the time the decals get placed directly ON the basecoat, and then get clearcoated, so there's NO CLEARCOAT under the decals, which means when you remove the decal you will rip off alot of that basecoat (if not all), which leaves a defect, which when clearcoated over, will be VERY NOTICIBLE.

you can certainly try, but I (after nearly 30 years at this) I only had ONE work where I could remove JUST the topcoat, then the decal, and re-clearcoat it, and have it be a transparent (un-noticible) repair, but that was a factory powdercoat, that had been just shot with spraycan paint with NO cleaning or sanding or anything, I basically used a scotchbrite pad to remove the flaky peeling clear, and then the home made decals, once the powdercoat had all of the spray clear off it, I scuffed it some more, and clearcoated it.
(if yours is like that, it MIGHT work, IF your careful)

but more than likely if you REALLY want to do this, you'll have to strip the frame, and then re-paint it.

sorry for the hard news.
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Old 02-26-08, 06:48 PM   #3
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The clear layer on top most likely isn't "lacquer", it's probably a urethane or similar clearcoat and will be very difficult to remove without badly damaging the color coat.

Apparently it doesn't adhere well to the vinyl decals as your experiment with the sticky tape shows but I expect it's adhesion to the base coar is much better.
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Old 02-28-08, 10:00 PM   #4
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If it is in fact laquer it will reactivate or soften when thinner is placed on it generously with a rag. If it is urethane nothing short of stripper will touch it. Most factory and professional work will be urethane, a lot of aftermarket/amatuer work will be enamel or laquer.
I agree that it is a tough scenario to get the decals off without damage to the basecoat color. Assuming there is a clearcoat between the color and decaling layers, and it is in fact laquer, you could concievably 'polish' the clear off to expose the edges of the decals. Once they are exposed you should be able to start to peel, then try to even it out. The weapon I would choose is a medium scotch brite and a laquer soaked rag backing it. (Note, best to wear a rubber glove as laquer can dry skin excessively and have some other adverse effects.)
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