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Old 06-19-08, 05:00 PM   #1
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Advise on touching up chipped paint?

Hello, Thanks for reading!

Fortunately or unfortunately, both of my bikes are steel. I have an old 2003 Giant Boulder (that I ride in the rain and have sunken more than the value of the bike into for commuting purposes) and a 2001 Bianchi Eros that I am completely in love with and only emerges from climate control when it is between 65 and 85 degrees and under 24% relative humidity (I exaggerate of course--a little).

The paint on the Giant (Gigi) is badly scratched resulting in gaping wounds that show significant rust within. The Bianchi (Biancha) has just a few (hopefully) superficial chips that seem not to have made it all the way down to the steel.

I am a terribly obsessive person and have scoured every available source of info to try to find the best course of action for touching up the paint in the best possible way. The options I have uncovered so far are:

1)nail polish--clear (to weatherproof while not risking any further unsightliness resulting from mismatched paint) or colored

2)model paint e.g. Testors

3)car paint

4)hardware store--"Rustoleum," etc

5)factory paint (call up the bike manufacturer)

So basically I am wondering 1)what is the best way to remove rust? 2) will I invariably do more harm than good trying to make the bikes look better (and therefore stick to clear nail polish)? 3) (if the last answer is no) Can I do a REALLY good job, and if so, what kind of primers, application methods, sanding/filing, base coat, top coat, etc. do I need to employ to make it perfect?

I am, as you might expect, not as particular about the Giant and am willing to use it as a test ground for just about anything before even thinking about touching Biancha.

Thanks for reading a particularly long and perhaps neurotic post. I really apprectiate any input,

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Old 06-19-08, 05:50 PM   #2
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I use 0000 steel wool and/or a brass wire brush (available at your local hardware store) to remove any rust. These will not scratch your existing finish. I will then dab the touch up paint with the tip of a toothpick, or a Q-tip - staying only within the confines of the chip or scratch. Forget about trying to feather out the touch up paint. You must decide if you want to touch up with a lacquer (which is what nail polish is), or an enamel (Testors). I have used both, and they both do the job. After the touch up dries, I buff it with the 0000 steel wool again. Strangely, I have found that a pearl white nail polish which seemed to match my bike color did not match as well as a flat white Testors. So yes - you need to experiment. I have not tried anyting with the clear. You might find a clear enamel will lift up a fresh base lacquer touch up job, but again, I have not done anything with clear.
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