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Preserving Patina?

Old 04-12-21, 06:36 PM
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Preserving Patina? (Pics Added)

Quick question. What are some methods or recommendations for protecting a 50 year-old frame that has a bit of surface rust and other typical wear and tear? Best way to clean up as much rust as possible? What is best for final coating of the frame? Thanks!




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Old 04-12-21, 08:12 PM
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Old 04-12-21, 10:47 PM
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I think we're going to need to see some pics.
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Old 04-12-21, 11:30 PM
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Here's what I would do if the rust isn't too extensive.
Clean and dry the frame, lightly sand the rust areas with steel wool then spray them with Krylon Rust Stop then spray the entire frame with Krylon clear coat.
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Old 04-13-21, 12:40 AM
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Pics might be helpful, but this is my general advice:

1. Strip frame
2. Clean and degrease frame/fork
3. Soak frame/fork in oxalic acid bath (approx. 24-36 hours with a dilution of about 1 tablespoon per gallon of water)
4. Apply wax (I avoid cleaning/polishing wax unless paint has dulled)
5. Rebuild with new grease/bearings/cables as needed


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Old 04-13-21, 04:59 AM
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Originally Posted by merziac
Rub with popcorn?
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Old 04-13-21, 05:36 AM
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Originally Posted by nlerner
Rub with popcorn?
It's like media blasting, but easier on the paint. Extra butter is a good idea.
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Old 04-13-21, 06:27 AM
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Originally Posted by gaucho777
Pics might be helpful, but this is my general advice:

1. Strip frame
2. Clean and degrease frame/fork
3. Soak frame/fork in oxalic acid bath (approx. 24-36 hours with a dilution of about 1 tablespoon per gallon of water)
4. Apply wax (I avoid cleaning/polishing wax unless paint has dulled)
5. Rebuild with new grease/bearings/cables as needed

What wax do you recommend?
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Old 04-13-21, 07:14 AM
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Originally Posted by jonwvara
It's like media blasting, but easier on the paint. Extra butter is a good idea.
I did read on the Internet that Orville Redenbacher got his start in frame refinishing.
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Old 04-13-21, 07:42 AM
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Originally Posted by nlerner
I did read on the Internet that Orville Redenbacher got his start in frame refinishing.
He did the Wright Bros. frames, didn't he?
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Old 04-13-21, 07:51 AM
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oxalic acid bath may not be needed at all. For surface rust only - it can be neutralized without soaking the entire frame. When you pull the BB check for internal rust, if none is present, I would not OA bath the entire frame.

But all answers are general responses without seeing the frame detail pics.

Last edited by Wildwood; 04-14-21 at 10:51 AM.
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Old 04-13-21, 11:00 AM
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Thanks for the suggestions - I appreciate them. I probably won't be using the Reddenbacher method since I swore off popcorn a couple years ago, and I know that I'd end up eating the stuff before I got it on the frame. I also don't want to do the whole "dip the frame" method unless I really have to. My other vintage projects have all entailed stripping the frame and doing a complete respray, but this is going to be a utility bike (not a restoration) that will eventually become my pavement/gravel "fishing bike". (More on that when I get it done.) Any more ideas are welcome!
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Old 04-13-21, 12:02 PM
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Originally Posted by nlerner
Rub with popcorn?
You might be on to something.
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Old 04-13-21, 03:16 PM
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Originally Posted by mechanicmatt
What wax do you recommend?
Any quality car wax will work.
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Old 04-13-21, 03:40 PM
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I've seen the guy on the "BikeIt UK" YouTube channel use a product called Kurust for neutralizing/converting rust before doing touch up painting over it. AFAICT, it's not sold in the US, so at the moment I'm waiting for it to arrive from Merry Olde. I'll post results when/if I see it. Apart from that, I had pretty good results with Meguiar's Scratch-X on a 1989 Schwinn Circuit that had dulled, but not faded paint and no rust to speak of.
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Old 04-13-21, 04:44 PM
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Any bike that old likely needs to come completely apart for a thorough cleaning and relube at the very least.
I like the idea of just polishing off the rust a bit and giving it a coat of clear gloss. It'll preserve the decals and original paint. I'm not sure if Krylon is the best or not, some rattle can clear paints will yellow with age. I've used clear lacquer in the past but not from a rattle can, as well as Dupont auto finish from the paint shop, which I normally have around the garage anyhow.
I wouldn't worry about soaking the whole frame unless you open things up and find its a rusty mess inside. chances are you just have a few rusty scratches that need to be addressed.
You could spot clean the rusty spots with some Evaporust, then polish the original paint up as best you can with some light polish but saving the decals is tough when trying to get gloss back out of old paint like that, especially if its pinstriped. The clean and clear method may be your best option to preserve the decals and any pinstripes.
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Old 04-13-21, 05:09 PM
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My 2 cents - donít do anything permanent unless youíre going to spring for a full repaint/powder job. IMO most paint touch ups look like crap and are worse than leaving as is.

Strip it down to the bare frame and fork, wash, lightly polish (previously mentioned Scratch-X works well). Give it a couple coats of automotive paste wax. Reapply wax occasionally to maintain. Itís lasted this long with less care than that.
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Old 04-13-21, 06:15 PM
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Originally Posted by C9H13N
My 2 cents - donít do anything permanent unless youíre going to spring for a full repaint/powder job. IMO most paint touch ups look like crap and are worse than leaving as is.

Strip it down to the bare frame and fork, wash, lightly polish (previously mentioned Scratch-X works well). Give it a couple coats of automotive paste wax. Reapply wax occasionally to maintain. Itís lasted this long with less care than that.
Agreed. In any case, the existing paint looks good--definitely at the light end of the patina scale, by my standards, at least.
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Old 04-13-21, 06:23 PM
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Rust is grey hair on a vintage bike. If you dye it, no one seriously believes you have grayless hair...

Clean, polish a bit, and enjoy the small bits of patina!!! Each rust spot has a story to tell!

Do not take my advice by the way...powdered butter flavoring for popcorn is my secret polishing ingredient!
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Old 04-13-21, 09:29 PM
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From the suggestions so far, I think I have a plan of attack. The frame has been stripped - bottom bracket is off, headset will be next. First, the grease, oil, and grime will be scrubbed off with degreaser and Simple Green. Second, I’ll work on the rust spots to the extent that the paint isn’t further damaged. Third, I’ll try a light rubbing compund to smooth out the remaining finish, followed by a polishing compound to really smooth things out. Finally, I’ll apply a few coats of wax. I think that’s about as finished as a “fishing bike” should be.
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Old 04-13-21, 09:49 PM
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For small rust spots try Brownell's Oxpho-Blue. It's the best cold blue I've tried (the Oxpho-Blue liquid, not the cream or paste based stuff). Mostly for firearms but works on any carbon steel to remove and neutralize light surface rust. I'd usually wind some fine steel wool around cotton swabs, dipped in Oxpho-Blue, and lightly rub the rust spots to remove the excess while simultaneously blackening the bare steel to prevent further rusting.

I wouldn't treat an entire frame with the stuff, but to minimize rust on a bike that I just wanted to knock the dirt off of and protect against further rusting, it should do fine.
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Old 04-14-21, 12:26 AM
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I use Metal Prep from POR-15. It has phosphoric acid, which will leave a rust-proof protective layer. Once I've cleaned the area and removed the loose rust, I lightly scrub the area down with a soft paper towel wetted with Metal Prep. It doesn't appear to harm the existing paint but the bare metal turns a dark grey. I have a fender on a car I'm restoring that I stripped to bare metal and treated with Metal Prep about 6 years ago. I did nothing to it afterwards and there's still no rust.
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Old 04-14-21, 10:42 AM
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Patina treatment

I recently got a Motobecane that had basically been sitting outside for about 30 years, and considered a repaint. However, I got it from the original owner, and I wanted to instead try to honor that heritage. So, I basically spot treated rust in the bare spots, polished the whole frame and then used a 2K clear coat (the kind that is in the spray can, that has the hardener you can mix in, then need to use in 24 hours I think.). Then wet sanded and polished the clear. I took some artistic liberties with the Champion Team decal I added, by mixing the original black script with gold in the bare metal areas. I like it, but others may not...




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Old 04-14-21, 11:27 AM
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Without any serious flaky rust, i dont do anything with frame. I dont ride it in the rain and keep it in a dry place, so its unlikely it will get any worse.
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Old 04-14-21, 04:10 PM
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I’m also building up a ‘patinated’ bike. I’m planning to apply a coat of boiled linseed oil after I’ve cleaned the frame.
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