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Painting Over Chrome?

Old 10-27-21, 05:30 PM
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Dannyboy21 
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Painting Over Chrome?

Hey Steelheads! I just scored a Gitane TdF from Robert F in Thunder Bay. It is a beautiful bike that he bought as a frame in the early 70s and built up with some great parts (Crane, Mavic, Campy and Simplex barcons!). He also elected to have the frame-set fully chromed, because he wanted chromed lugs. The paint currently on the bike is in bad condition and I was wondering how to remove the existing paint without damaging the chrome below. Then possibly, I would like to repaint the bike. How does one go about painting over a chromed frame? Is it possible to get good adhesion? Thanks in advance for your input. And thanks to Robert and good luck to him in his move to Italia to live out his golden years!













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Old 10-27-21, 05:33 PM
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Chemical strip for sure. Then close inspection and consider Powder Coat if the chrome is worth it...
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Old 10-27-21, 05:39 PM
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What do you recommend for a chemical stripper ? One that won't affect chrome. I have used Circa 1850 super d-solver on frames with great success before but that stuff is pretty strong.
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Old 10-27-21, 06:07 PM
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I have used Klean Strip out of a s[pray can then just used water pressure to blast off the paint. No scrapping or brushing needed. If you don't get it all then just spot treat again...





But if the bike has been industrial powder coated (high temp porcelain enamel) this might not work...
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Old 10-27-21, 06:08 PM
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Originally Posted by zandoval View Post
I have used Klean Strip out of a s[pray can then just used water pressure to blast off the paint. No scrapping or brushing needed. If you don't get it all then just spot treat again...


[img]https://cimg3.ibsrv.net/gimg/bikeforums.net-vbulletin/474x474/strpper_3301a7079d7f70f227fe5011ba1718ff7e0fd905.jpeg
But if the bike has been industrial powder coated this might not work...
Looks like a paint not powder coat.
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Old 10-28-21, 03:50 AM
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Dannyboy21-

I've not painted over a fully chromed frame but my frame builder has successfully stripped and painted over two chromed forks on different bikes. One was French chrome on a 531 fork the other was Japanese chrome on a Tange fork. Chemical strip first followed by sanding to scuff up the surface to promote adhesion. Both forks have been durable with no sign of chipping or flaking.
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Old 10-28-21, 07:32 AM
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I doubt you can source a stripper that would harm the chrome, if worried get a citrus stripper, they are more work but gentle on the frame and you. I have roughened up the chrome with sanding to dull the surface and used a 2K epoxy and a self etching primer from Eastwood and both are holding up well.
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Old 10-28-21, 09:15 AM
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So, getting some good feedback. I started thinking, could I just tape off the purposely exposed chromed areas scuff sand the existing paint (feathering the chipped areas) and apply new paint directly on old. I plan to have this as a rider, no plans to sell, so I do not need an immaculate paint ... just a good paint. I am not really fond of the current black paint aside from it being rough. Thinking of the early 70s green Gitane TdF. Thoughts on painting over sanded paint?
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Old 10-28-21, 03:37 PM
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The chrome part of fully chromed frames that gets painted over is generally not as nicely finished as exposed areas. The ever so slight roughness(?) is what the paint holds onto.
Good luck - ride safe...
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Old 10-28-21, 05:17 PM
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Dannyboy21-

Typically, the to be visible areas are high polished before getting coppered, nickeled and then chromed. The other areas are not finished to the same standard. For example, on my Tange fork, the high chrome area was high polish, high shine but when the upper fork blades were stripped, the metal had been chrome but not pre-polished so the chrome looked dull and flat. No amount of subsequent polishing could match the fork lowers and a chrome strip followed by full re-polish/re-plating would have been necessary to get uniformity. It's currently unknown what prep went into the original chroming and then what prep was done before over painting. To now paint over current paint over chrome plating could be dicey since you are investing time, effort and money into something that may have questionable adhesion.
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Old 10-28-21, 05:38 PM
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If it's chrome under the paint, then something like CitriStrip will take it off with no problems. I used CitriStrip on an old Nishiki that had a chrome fork and non-chrome frame. Some parts of the frame required a bit of sanding to remove. A lot of it wrinkled and scraped off. The paint on the fork wrinkled and wiped off with very little effort exposing nicely protected chrome underneath. I painted that bike with a spray can, and the results were decent, but I've had already had a spot of two where the paint chipped on the fork.

If you're planning to paint the bike yourself with a rattle can, then I think your best course of action depends on how well the current paint adheres to the chrome. I'd probably start with some scuff sanding, as you've considered. If the paint doesn't come off in flakes when you do that, then it probably has better adhesion than you'd get with rattle can primer. In that case, definitely paint over the existing paint. If it does flake off when you sand it, then you'll need to do something more. Possibly taking it down to bare chrome and then roughing up the parts you want to paint over, followed by a very good etching primer, then a sandable primer to smooth out the surface, then paint.

I think @randyjawa has some experience painting a chrome frame. He'll recommend hand painting, and based on his results I can't argue with him.

It's a lot of work to get this right though. Immense measures of patience and sanding. If it were me and the paint flaked off when sanded, I'd send it off to be powder coated.
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Old 10-28-21, 08:42 PM
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...you won't get a real durable finish in any event, unless you are willing to use at least a final coat of 2 part urethane paint (like the stuff they paint cars with, but it comes in a mix it yourself spray can). AS a couple of people have already said, you won't be able to buy (as a dumb civilian) any sort of stripper that will hurt the chrome.

The whole masking process to keep the lugs free of paint is a little tedious, and unless you really want that look for some reason, I'd just paint the whole frame and fork one color. I would not take a chance on painting over someone else's paint, on a chromed frame, especially if it already looks rough. Given your goals as stated, for something with decent paint, as a rider, my advice would be to strip it with whatever they sell at the home improvement paint department near you, rough scuff everything on the frame and fork with some 220 sandpaper, lay on a coat of urethane primer in a color you can live with, skip the color coat, apply decals (stickers from a reputable supplier of bike restoration stickers), and then finish over those with a final coat of clear gloss glamour, like this stuff.

If you want to get fancier, you can apply a color coat or even a metallic color coat, after the primer, but before the stickers and final clear.
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Old 10-29-21, 05:54 AM
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I have painted some of my fully Chromed Centurion Pro-tour and it worked very well. just clean well with degreaser and have a good paint.
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Old 11-04-21, 12:39 PM
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Okay! Thanks everyone for some good steps to paint over the chrome. I am now deciding between the Sport Orange or Club Green.

verktyg , merziac , T-Mar randyjawa , clubman. juvela . You have all been great resources in the past. Looking at the photos provided, at the start of this thread, I was wondering if you, or anyone else, might have thoughts of year of manufacture of this Gitane TdF. My guess is 71 or 72 based on the fork crown ... but IDKS. Let m eknow what you think/know, please.

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Old 11-04-21, 03:19 PM
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You absolutely need an adhesion promoter. No need to rough up the chrome. Cromovelato anyone??
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Old 11-04-21, 03:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Alsobay View Post
You absolutely need an adhesion promoter. No need to rough up the chrome. Cromovelato anyone??
I did watch a video via Cromovelato. Definitely an interesting process.
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