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Necessary to clear coat a chrome frame?

Old 06-01-05, 02:42 PM
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chicagoamdream
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Necessary to clear coat a chrome frame?

I just discovered (thanks to an earlier post on here) that my early 80s Raleigh racer has a completely chrome frame under the aging paint. Awesome. I'm going to strip it this weekend.

As it is (and was sold), the rear triangle and the fork are chrome, and as near as I can tell, that's what the rest of the frame is too, only painted over. However, it seems to me that they might have some kind of clear coat or protectant on them? Will it be necessary for me to clear coat my frame once I've taken the paint off?

Thanks,
CAD
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Old 06-01-05, 03:11 PM
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If it's CHROME, I wouldn't think so...but if you road-ride with it, I'd say clearcoat it anyway, to protect the chrome. Goodness knows I worshop the reflective metallic, and if I had a whole bike of that shimmering beauty I'd want it SECURELY protected.
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Old 06-01-05, 07:16 PM
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When you get it stripped off,tell us how it looks,I'm interested in knowing---sam
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Old 06-01-05, 07:32 PM
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How do you plan to strip it?
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Old 06-01-05, 09:36 PM
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I missed it... which Raleigh model do I now have to start lusting after?
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Old 06-01-05, 10:36 PM
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Chrome plating is actually a two or a three part process. the first or second stage electroplates nickel onto the metal, this is polished and is what give the object its shiny look. Chrome goes on clear, and seals the polished surface. And chrome is harder than the back of my head, so is tough to scratch (not, however, impossible, especially when you get horizontal at 25mph). But I digress. Chrome is the clearcoat. This must be an American Raleigh? A lot of the early American Raleighs were fully chromed (the Prestige comes to mind). I too would like to see how it turns out. We need some pictures, please.

Oh, and you can get many varieties of Raleigh stickers from

https://www.yellowjersey.org/ralfilm.html

or

https://www.classictransfers.co.uk/Br...transfers.html

There is also a site in England that specializes in old bike transfers, but I can't locate it...Anyone?
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Old 06-01-05, 10:50 PM
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In concept, clear-coating over chrome sounds ideal. I have tried it recently, and quite possibly due largely to my own lack of painting proficiency, ended up with a less than satisfactory result. At the best, the coating made the chrome much less lustrous - which I thought actually defeated the whole point. I ended up spending hours removing the clear coat.

I would suggest that a very good wax will produce at least as good a result. You'll need to re-apply it periodically, bu then again, you'll have to clean your ride off from time-to-time anyway.
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Old 06-02-05, 10:35 AM
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Thanks for all the advice so far...keep it coming. I figure a little more background might keep interest going.

As you can see from the pictures, other than "Raleigh" the only thing the frame says is "Racing USA" and "Competition." From what I garnered from this post:

https://www.bikeforums.net/archive/index.php/t-102678

Raleigh USA made a couple of levels of "Racing USA" bikes in the early 80s, and the Competition was at the top of that. The stickers identify it as "Raleigh 555" steel (which, I think I read, is Raleigh-branded Reynolds?). I don't know what it came with originally, but it's got Sugino cranks and Suntour shifters on the downtube.

I'm planning on using one of the chemical paint removers I've read about on here (any specific recommendations would be very helpful). The paint comes off with a good scrape of a fingernail, so I'm not anticipating much problem with that.

I bought the bike from a guy on Craigslist who just listed it as a Competition...I was hoping it would be one of the older Nottingham ones with a bunch of Campy on it, alas. But this rode really well, and this recent discovery makes me very enthusiastic indeed.

Just for the record, is there ANYONE who doesn't think I should take the paint off of it? I'm 99% sure that it's going to be really cool, but you know what they say; once it's gone, it's gone. I'm just entertaining opinions.

USAZorro, thanks for the wax tip--as you guessed, if I'm going to do this, I want it to shine .

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Old 06-02-05, 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by chicagoamdream
Just for the record, is there ANYONE who doesn't think I should take the paint off of it? I'm 99% sure that it's going to be really cool, but you know what they say; once it's gone, it's gone. I'm just entertaining opinions.
Count me as one. I grew up near East L.A. - I've seen enough chrome to last me a lifetime........ I think chrome is best used sparingly, as a highlight to the overall look. But then again, I'm a minimalist - less is more.....

John D.
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Old 06-02-05, 11:59 AM
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Originally Posted by USAZorro
I would suggest that a very good wax will produce at least as good a result. You'll need to re-apply it periodically, bu then again, you'll have to clean your ride off from time-to-time anyway.
Chrome polish choices abound at the local car parts emporium......

John D.
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Old 06-02-05, 04:33 PM
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Originally Posted by chicagoamdream
I'm planning on using one of the chemical paint removers I've read about on here (any specific recommendations would be very helpful). The paint comes off with a good scrape of a fingernail, so I'm not anticipating much problem with that.
Just make sure that the chemicals won't tarnish or stain chrome. Try a little bit on a hidden place on the bottom of the frame before you commit to the complete frame.
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Old 06-04-05, 10:19 AM
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Well, I did it. I think I'll let the pictures speak for themselves (I haven't even polished it yet).

More details of what I used to follow.
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Old 06-04-05, 07:12 PM
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Very nice! Just hope you don't have second thoughts now.
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Old 06-05-05, 07:15 PM
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Oooo beautiful *claps hands together*


If I passed that I would definitely turn and have a second look.
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Old 06-05-05, 07:38 PM
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Originally Posted by luker
Chrome goes on clear, and seals the polished surface. A Chrome is the clearcoat.
That's nonsnse.
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Old 06-05-05, 07:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Roadmistress
If it's CHROME, I wouldn't think so...but if you road-ride with it, I'd say clearcoat it anyway, to protect the chrome.
That's nonsense.Chrome does not need a clearcoat.
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Old 06-05-05, 07:40 PM
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Originally Posted by USAZorro
In concept, clear-coating over chrome sounds ideal.
Rubbish.Chrome does not need a clearcoat.
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Old 06-05-05, 07:58 PM
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Great job! That's a really nice looking bike. I hope you enjoy riding it.
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Old 06-05-05, 08:19 PM
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Originally Posted by sydney
That's nonsnse.
what color is chrome, then, Sydney?
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Old 06-05-05, 09:47 PM
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Thanks for the encouragement and compliments, everyone. I'm extremely happy with it. Next step is to upgrade my locks..my u-bolted cruddy black Trek got stolen last year, I don't even want to think about *that* kind of attention that I'm going to be dealing with now (this is Chicago, after all, where messengers and the fixed-gear crowd have no qualms discussing what they've wrenched off of poorly-secured bikes). My friend got the rusty rear wheel stolen from a '72 Schwinn Varsity.

Anyway, if anyone comes across one of these bikes and wants to do see what's underneath the paint, this was my method (no guarantees offered or implied):

I got a can of "Klean-Strip Premium Stripper" in an aerosol can from Home Depot. After removing/covering vital components, I just sprayed this stuff on (pretty sticky, good at not running), and the paint and decals just bubbled up and I was able to scrape them off with a plastic scraper within a minute or two. The way this stuff ate paint, you could really just wipe the residue off with a rag or towel (wear good gloves, obviously). Very fast. I had the paint off and the bike reassembled in an hour and a half.

I don't know much from chrome, but it looked great straight away. I did apply a coat of Mother's Chrome Polish that I got from Pep Boys, which did shine it up noticeably.

I'm very glad that the Raleigh headbage was in good shape when I bought this bike. It's really the only ornamentation now; perfect. I'll probably start telling girls it's a custom job.
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Old 06-05-05, 09:56 PM
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Originally Posted by sydney
Rubbish.Chrome does not need a clearcoat.
You would do well to read comments in context. I actually advised NOT to clearcoat.
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Old 06-05-05, 10:03 PM
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I also by no means mean to imply that all or even most of my fine city's messengers and fixed-gear riders are unscrupulous. I'm just saying that it's a jungle out there.
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Old 06-06-05, 06:24 AM
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Originally Posted by luker
what color is chrome, then, Sydney?
Chrome?
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Old 06-06-05, 06:28 AM
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Originally Posted by USAZorro
You would do well to read comments in context. I actually advised NOT to clearcoat.
Fair enough,but wax is a waste of time too. I have a number of frames rom the early to mid ninties with various ammounts of chrome.No clearcoat,no wax, no issues.
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Old 06-06-05, 07:03 AM
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okay, okay, chrome is not clear en masse, but the chrome that you see on parts like this frame is measured in millionths of an inch - even hard chrome is still measured in this range. The chrome gives the nickel plate (which is normally slightly yellow, and subject to tarnishing) a bluish cast, so it doesn't go on completely clear. It is very, very hard, but the "Chrome" look that you see is actually very highly polished nickel. Chrome can go over other surfaces too, producing, among other things, black chrome like my Husky sockets, or flat chrome like you'll find in some military applications.
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