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Paint removal without chemicals or blasting method preferred?

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Paint removal without chemicals or blasting method preferred?

Old 12-01-19, 12:12 PM
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jdawginsc 
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Paint removal without chemicals or blasting method preferred?

Polling folks here. Going to refinish a steel frame with yucky layers of paint. Do not wish to use chemical paint remover or blasting...

Which has been your favorite "physical" method? And what do you like about the method?
1. Wire wheel and drill
2. Abrasive wheel and drill
3. Heat and scraper
4. Sandpaper and several years...
5. Other
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Old 12-01-19, 12:59 PM
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I prefer paint remover.
P1010773 on Flickr

Stripper and scraping.
P1010772, on Flickr

The below is a Trek 610 which had Imron paint. Very difficult to remove. even with a liquid chemical, it is hard to get to all the crevasses. Using a tooth brush helps. I don't know how you can effectively get to some of the areas without a stripper.
After the stripper process, I followed up with a wire wheel on a drill. Use only a brass wire as steel will remove steel.
Abrasive wheels can remove steel as well.
Heat and a scraper is injury prone as well as melted paint will stick to whatever is below it.
P1000805, on Flickr
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Old 12-01-19, 01:16 PM
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Your timing is impeccable, I just started a strip last night, cleaned and wire brushed all the grimey spots, used the zipper die grinder with roloc abrasive disc to zip a few bare metal lines in it for inroads.

Used foam sanding block to expand on those, scrub off some of the rust and breakup the top glaze, you could get a lot of paint off with these but a huge amount of elbow grease would still be expended.

A needle scaler would probably work for this but again detailing would be a slog.

Wiped it down with brake and carb clean to soften it BUT still going with stripper and will still have a lot of detail work getting it out of all the nooks and crannies. Going to get the frame good and hot to help the stripper and maybe use less, maybe.

Just don't see any way around it.

This is a nasty task and unfortunately calls for nasty measures.

If you have unlimited free time it is doable but still too much work imho.
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Old 12-01-19, 01:17 PM
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I like a wire wheel on an angle grinder. The grinder has a switch not a trigger so it stays turned on after you turn it on, it's more ergonomic to hold, it's spinning faster than most drills will go, and the bearings in an angle grinder are more suited to the side loads that a wire wheel will be putting on the tool than a drill's bearings, which are mainly for thrust loads so it won't wear out. I've used one to remove areas of a Joe Bell paintjob (really thick hard paint) on a cracked frame. It worked pretty well.

There are cup-shaped wire wheels and disc shaped wire wheels for different surfaces, and you should be able to buy a cheap set from Harbor Freight or something for less than $15.

If you are having trouble with crevices, heat those areas up with a propane torch until the paint bubbles or changes color, then the wire wheel doesn't need to do as much work.
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Old 12-01-19, 01:17 PM
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If you don't want to use chemicals or media blasting, then forget it. Cherish the blemishes as "patina".
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Old 12-01-19, 01:28 PM
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Originally Posted by wrk101 View Post
If you don't want to use chemicals or media blasting, then forget it. Cherish the blemishes as "patina".
Hmmm...interesting thought.

Of course, I could just fill spaces, scuff up the existing paint, spray some primer and paint on top!
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Old 12-01-19, 01:31 PM
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.
...I use chemical stripper as well, then clean up the details with a wire brush and sanding. If I could find someone here who would do it cheaply, like with dip tank full of stripper, I would happily pay for the service. There's a powder coater who will do bike frames who charges 40 bucks to media blast prior to coating, but will only do that for jobs you contract to powder coat. At this point I prefer to paint myself, because it's a more controllable medium.
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Old 12-01-19, 01:32 PM
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I definitely use stripper. Well ventilated to the max. I stripped a Fuji Ace last weekend. Coated it with stripped and left it in my enclosed back porch with all windows open. Direct sunlight there so it gets warm during the day. Scraped it the next morning and used small amount of stripper again on hard to get to areas. Finished it about two hours later. By the evening I had the frame and fork sanded down to 600 grit wet. I will probably go to 1200 wet. Not sure about what finish to do at this point.
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Old 12-01-19, 01:35 PM
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Originally Posted by jdawginsc View Post
Hmmm...interesting thought.

Of course, I could just fill spaces, scuff up the existing paint, spray some primer and paint on top!
...if the existing paint is solidly attached, this works fine. You lose some detail around the lugs and pantographing (if there is any). You can use a self etching primer for added bonding with the old paint. Most paints have an overcoat window, where bonding will be best if you apply the overcoat within a certain time frame. Self etching primer might (or might not) help in the case of a very old, well cured under surface.
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Old 12-01-19, 01:37 PM
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I will also say that an angle grinder is cheaper than you might think! My $10 Harbor Freight one has served me for 7 years. Sure it heats up and vibrates like mad, and I had to replace the cord once, but it gets the job done.

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Old 12-01-19, 02:02 PM
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The Roto-Stripper drill attachment worked for me in the past, back 30yrs ago. Still very labor intensive, it is like blasting. Chemical strippers probably easier. I'll do sanding and chemicals, starting with a heavy sandpaper to break the top layers. Slop it up, wait, wire brush, heavy steel wool, lighter wool to finish up. I'll do fine sanding and whipe with thinner before painting.
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Old 12-01-19, 03:34 PM
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Dry Ice Blasting
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Old 12-01-19, 03:54 PM
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I know you didn't want to do this, but for $40 my local powder coater will media blast a frame. Every nook and cranny is clean metal when through, and the surface is perfect for paint or powder to adhere to.

That's what the professionals do to prep a frame.
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Old 12-01-19, 03:56 PM
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Consider vapor blasting it doesn't damage the base material. I am lucky to have a company that provides this service near my home, Vapor Blasting USA, good stuff.


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Old 12-01-19, 03:58 PM
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Originally Posted by jdawginsc View Post
Hmmm...interesting thought.

Of course, I could just fill spaces, scuff up the existing paint, spray some primer and paint on top!
I'm trying a slightly modified version of that, having used some 180 and then 320 to get down to the primer, but not bare metal...
On my extremely paint challenged Rossin Ghibli, I've gone to bare metal in many areas, to do rust prevention, but I have tried to keep as much original paintwork intact as possible. I have not been able to find a half inch grid, so can't repair any stenciling. the only one I found so far is 3/4 inch.
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Old 12-01-19, 04:02 PM
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Originally Posted by merziac View Post
Your timing is impeccable, I just started a strip last night, cleaned and wire brushed all the grimey spots, used the zipper die grinder with roloc abrasive disc to zip a few bare metal lines in it for inroads.

Used foam sanding block to expand on those, scrub off some of the rust and breakup the top glaze, you could get a lot of paint off with these but a huge amount of elbow grease would still be expended.

A needle scaler would probably work for this but again detailing would be a slog.

Wiped it down with brake and carb clean to soften it BUT still going with stripper and will still have a lot of detail work getting it out of all the nooks and crannies. Going to get the frame good and hot to help the stripper and maybe use less, maybe.

Just don't see any way around it.

This is a nasty task and unfortunately calls for nasty measures.

If you have unlimited free time it is doable but still too much work imho.
And I have my frame out, ready to start shortly. I will not be doing a complete strip, so sandpaper for me.
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Old 12-01-19, 04:06 PM
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Originally Posted by jdawginsc View Post
Hmmm...interesting thought.

Of course, I could just fill spaces, scuff up the existing paint, spray some primer and paint on top!
I'm trying a slightly modified version of that, having used some 180 and then 320 to get down to the primer, but not bare metal...
On my extremely paint challenged Rossin Ghibli, I've gone to bare metal in many areas, to do rust prevention, but I have tried to keep as much original paintwork intact as possible. I have not been able to find a half inch grid, so can't repair any stenciling. the only one I found so far is 3/4 inch.
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Old 12-01-19, 07:53 PM
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Originally Posted by scarlson View Post
I will also say that an angle grinder is cheaper than you might think! My $10 Harbor Freight one has served me for 7 years. Sure it heats up and vibrates like mad, and I had to replace the cord once, but it gets the job done.

is the angle grinder the reason for the lug having a ton of angles now?
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Old 12-01-19, 08:10 PM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
is the angle grinder the reason for the lug having a ton of angles now?
That would be considered multi-faceted...
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Old 12-01-19, 11:29 PM
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Originally Posted by 02Giant View Post
That would be considered multi-faceted...
Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
is the angle grinder the reason for the lug having a ton of angles now?
Hawww, you all are too much.

I posted on this a while back, if you didn't see it. This was my Holdsworth/Claud Butler resurrection. Couldn't give up my trusty commuter after it cracked up on me due to inadequate bronze penetration under the lug. I did use a grinding disc to get rid of lug that wasn't brazed to the frame tubes, and it wasn't pretty but it got the job done! I ride it every day. Unless I skip a day.

In all seriousness though, that's the Joe Bell paintjob it removed, with the cup-shaped wire wheel. Some damn fine paint, I was sorry to see it go.

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Old 12-01-19, 11:31 PM
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Ummm,... ever heard of sarcasm or sardonic humor?
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Old 12-01-19, 11:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Bad Lag View Post
Ummm,... ever heard of sarcasm or sardonic humor?
Who me? That's why I laughed!!
Sorry if I was too much as well. I was considering not showing that picture because it might make the thread go off-topic because there's too much going on.
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Old 12-02-19, 01:39 AM
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Originally Posted by jdawginsc View Post
Hmmm...interesting thought.

Of course, I could just fill spaces, scuff up the existing paint, spray some primer and paint on top!
^THIS^

Unless it's a terrible, flaky paint job that can't give you a solid base, consider it an underprimer for your primer. Smooth out the rough spots, clean and scuff it so new paint will stick, and otherwise let it be.

Unless you are going for a powder coat finish. Then pay your powder coat guy to blast it. He'll make short work of it and not charge too much.
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Old 12-02-19, 02:15 AM
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When I painted some frames back in the 70's I had access to a large sand blaster cabinet. It made quick work of the paint but you had to be careful around the "shore lines" of the lugs to prevent eroding the brazing material and leaving an undercut.

Another thing that I found that worked great was the dip tanks that radiator repair shops used. It was some kind of hot liquid that would strip the paint off in several hours. Don't know if that is still done since now days many radiators of made of aluminum, not copper.

3M makes a product called Safest Stripper Paint And Varnish Remover. There are no fumes and you can use it without gloves. I've had mixed results.

https://www.3m.com/3M/en_US/company-...4857497&rt=rud

Imron and similar paints plus powder coat are hard to remove.

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Old 12-02-19, 02:21 AM
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I don't want to step on anyone's post but im.wondering if this can spread to removing cromovelato. I have a frame Id like to expose to chrome.
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