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Steel and a clear coat?

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Old 07-02-06, 05:10 PM
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cradduck
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Steel and a clear coat?

I am thinking about taking my bike down to bare steel, cleaning it up, and then paint with a clear coat. I might still paint the lugs black to give some contrast. Has anyone tried this or, better yet, does anyone have any pictures of a similar finished product they could post?
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Old 07-02-06, 05:36 PM
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I haven't tried it, but I have seen raw steel polished to a degree that gave it a lustre that rivalled chrome plating.

I think the job was done with buffing wheels and tripoli compound, then rouge. Very pretty it was.
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Old 07-02-06, 07:13 PM
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Originally Posted by FlatTop
I haven't tried it, but I have seen raw steel polished to a degree that gave it a lustre that rivalled chrome plating.

I think the job was done with buffing wheels and tripoli compound, then rouge. Very pretty it was.
It's possible, but no matter what it was polished with, it had to be sealed with something, or else it would rust in a week.

-Kurt
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Old 07-02-06, 07:38 PM
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If you clear coat over bare steel, you will eventually get rust under the clear coat. And it will look like a dog's ass.

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Old 07-02-06, 10:28 PM
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I have a "mystery" frame (Claude Butler, Holdsworth??) that I picked up awhile ago, and along the way someone did what you plan to do. Yikes! Exactly what AZ B posted, crazy ass spider web of rust. Don't do it.

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Old 07-02-06, 10:29 PM
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Just do it. Sand all the way to 1000 grit or even higher and then get the tripoli, white and then jewelers rouge with different wheels for each one -muslin/soft cotton/felt. When it does rust and becomes too much of a hassle to deal with you can always just paint it for real and you'll have an awesome finish. You're not losing anything by trying.
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Old 07-02-06, 10:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Az B
If you clear coat over bare steel, you will eventually get rust under the clear coat. And it will look like a dog's ass.

Az
What he said! A lot of work for nothing.
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Old 07-02-06, 11:21 PM
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Originally Posted by roknroll
except the cost of supplys...
...plus lots and lots of (lost) time...
it will rust
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Old 07-02-06, 11:40 PM
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If you're going to go to all the trouble polishing then you may as well just consider it preparation for the plater and go for chrome.

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Old 07-02-06, 11:54 PM
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Dogs ass my ass! Clean off the old paint and scuff the frame with a red Scotchbrite pad. Then have a clear POWDERCOAT put on the frame. After that, you can paint the lugs/dropouts or whatever with black. Then use a similar type paint clear coat and you won't have a frame that looks like a "dogs ass"!
Ventana mountain bikes used to do that to their aluminum frames and even used "candy" colored clear.
AWESOME EFFECT!! (sorry, no pictures to post, but trust me, I've been finishing bike frames for 30 years)
 
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Old 07-03-06, 02:37 AM
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I just went and searched and came up with this product called Permalac. Who knows?
Seriously,
Once you do all the work to get it to that perfect chrome-like finish and oil/wax/polish it and ride it around looking all sweet and ****
I doubt if you're going to be pissed even if you have to spend an hour every month rebuffing it out to take care of surface rust. I wouldn't even bother with a clear coat. The process of buffing and all is quite enjoyable and relaxing. Don't know enough about powdercoating to comment.
True decorative chrome plate will cost hundreds but atleast you've done the finishing yourself so perhaps little less?
Nickel plate is nearly the same look since chrome is actually put over nickel (and copper) and costs much less, I would assume.

Cost of supplies is $50 and most of those supplies will last a good while. No special tools are required for the buffing but a corded drill. You can even make your own wheels very simply.
It's a neat skill to have.

I've been toying with the idea of buying a junker/cheap vintage bike just to do this stuff to. You probably have to be an artist to find it fascinating. I'd like to take a cheap, fugly bike and drill, reshape and then engrave the entire chrome-like frame and components with calligraphy. I probably won't as it would take months but I may try on a few individual pieces sometime down the road.


If it seems interesting enough to think about extensively and ask questions regarding the process on a forum
it's worth doing.
You're not going to ruin the bike. At worst you have a clean bike to paint. Nothing much lost and experienced gained.
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Old 07-03-06, 11:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Dr.Deltron
Ventana mountain bikes used to do that to their aluminum frames and even used "candy" colored clear.
AWESOME EFFECT!! (sorry, no pictures to post, but trust me, I've been finishing bike frames for 30 years)

Well, I bow to your experience, but as you have said, the frames you have seen are Aluminum, and powdercoating of bicycle frames industry wide has been less than fifteen years.

When fillet brazed mountain bikes were the "sh@T" in the early 90's, many builders would show buffed, cleared frames at Interbike to best display the beautiful joinery. Every one that I have ever seen since has had rust veins underneath.

ymmv

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Old 07-03-06, 12:00 PM
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Dr.Deltron,

At NAHBS (first one) I was talking to e-RICHIE and he had one of his steel frames (he
doesn't work in anything else) polished and shot with clearcoat to show brazing, filing at
lugs etc. I believe that he was asked if that would last and he said no that it would rust
underneath.
so, two questions for you:
Is a wet clear coat porous ?
what's different between powder coat and a wet coat of clear?

thanks,
Marty
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Old 07-03-06, 01:11 PM
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Originally Posted by lotek
Dr.Deltron,

At NAHBS (first one) I was talking to e-RICHIE and he had one of his steel frames (he
doesn't work in anything else) polished and shot with clearcoat to show brazing, filing at
lugs etc. I believe that he was asked if that would last and he said no that it would rust
underneath.
so, two questions for you:
Is a wet clear coat porous ?
what's different between powder coat and a wet coat of clear?

thanks,
Marty
Hi Marty,
To start with, a bare steel frame needs to be finished PRONTO! Rust can develop very quickly, albeit slower on polished steel than say bead or sand blasted. I've had blasted frames show rust in 30 minutes. Blast on a clear, dry day.
A's; QUALITY wet paint clear (Imron, Deltron & the like)is not porous, but 3 coats insures adequate coverage. The difference is ADHESION! Wet paint is not designed to adhere directly to steel substrates. Powdercoating IS! Another point of interest; if you only powdercoat a frame, the tendancy of the powder when being baked is to pull back from sharp edges, such as lugs and braze-ons. Surface tension dynamics. That is where rust will most likely start, due to the thin layer of material along the edges. To insure optimum protection, a quality wet paint clear can be shot OVER the powdercoating. No scuffing or sanding is needed, just clean the frame completely with wax & grease remover. With that process you get the best of both worlds, nearly impervious powdercoat with the high gloss polishability of clear paint. Also good on titanium. And you can apply decals to the powdercoat & seal them in with the paint. Just did that to a Litespeed Ti frame last week. Turned out beautifully!!
Hope that was insightful!
Dr. D
 
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Old 07-03-06, 01:53 PM
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Why would someone powder coat and then wet coat a titanium frame? Doen't that sort of defeat one of the biggest benefits of titanium, its corrosion resistance?

With all due respect Dr. Deltron you have given two examples of clear over base and one has been aluminum and the other has been titanium. Have you ever cleared over steel and not had it craze with rust eventually?

thanks

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Old 07-03-06, 05:22 PM
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Originally Posted by vjp
Why would someone powder coat and then wet coat a titanium frame? Doen't that sort of defeat one of the biggest benefits of titanium, its corrosion resistance?

With all due respect Dr. Deltron you have given two examples of clear over base and one has been aluminum and the other has been titanium. Have you ever cleared over steel and not had it craze with rust eventually?

thanks

vjp
Please re-read my posts, and you will find the answers. OK, sometimes I'm a sucker for numbskull questions.
FIRST; Why? Because the customer (who is always right) wanted a RED titanium frame. And paint doesn't stick to titanium very well.
SECOND; DEFEAT the benefit of titanium? Are you implying that powdercoat somehow transforms titanium to a corrosion succeptable alloy?
THIRD; OK, you got me here! YES, I have done the powdercoat/paint clear over steel. As for its eventualy suffering from rust, I can't say. They weren't my frames. And I've never had some one come back and show me rust developing under the above mentioned finish.
And don't take the numbskull comment too seriously, I DO appreciate a good laugh once in a while!
Cheers,
Dr. D (they don't call me "doctor" for nothin, ya know.)
 
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Old 07-03-06, 05:32 PM
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No Problem, I pretend I'm a Dr. on the internet also!

Cheers

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Old 07-03-06, 07:41 PM
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Dr. D

thanks for the explanation. It was very insightful (atmo) and answered
a couple of nagging questions of mine.
Yah, I've seen rust start muy pronto especially when I lived in Fla.

thanks again,
marty
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Old 07-03-06, 07:56 PM
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Originally Posted by vjp
No Problem, I pretend I'm a Dr. on the internet also!

Cheers

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Old 07-03-06, 11:48 PM
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Originally Posted by cradduck
I am thinking about taking my bike down to bare steel, cleaning it up, and then paint with a clear coat. I might still paint the lugs black to give some contrast. Has anyone tried this or, better yet, does anyone have any pictures of a similar finished product they could post?
I did that to the lugs of my fixed gear (FGG #2402). After a year the rust starts to show despite thick powdercoat clearcoat.
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Old 07-04-06, 12:43 PM
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I have just finshed striping the paint off of a '72 Maserati and was thinking of trying the clear powder coat. I am glad I read this thread. It would have been upsetting to sink the time and money into the project and have it start to rust.
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Old 07-05-06, 10:25 AM
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Originally Posted by roknroll
what is the best method for refinishing a bike so it doesn't ruse later on?
Start with a chemical paint remover. Or to avoid the mess, exposure to chemicals etc, take the frame to a furniture stripping business. Call around as some charge $30-$40, some as much as $100! Once the old paint is gone, scuff the frame with grey Scotchbrite pads. If there is rust that is not removed with the scotchbrite, you should blast with; #60 mesh sand, glass beads or ground up walnut shells.
PRIMER IMMEDIATELY! Use a primer compatible with the type of paint you plan to use. PPG DP in whatever color is closest to your desired finish color is what I've used the most of. If you don't have spray equipment, use Krylon. (avoid using laquer, it is probably the least durable type paint for bicycles) White primer under white, bright reds, orange or yellow. Black under dark green, purple etc. You get the idea.
After this first heavy coat of primer, fix all the little imperfections with ultra fine bondo. Sand the whole frame with 320 grit wet/dry sandpaper. Clean with wax & grease remover. Reprimer. Spray color(s). Spray clear. 3 coats minimum for best protection.
To spray the frame make a stand/jig. or just clamp a 7/8" dowel in a bench mounted vice. Slide the headtube over this dowel and start with the upside down first. Spray the bottom half of the frame and behind the seat tube. Carefully flip the frame rightside up by putting finger(s) in the seat tube and bottom bracket. Spray the top half of the frame. Don't forget the fork! The trick to a great finish is to spray quickly enough so that all the paint is wet at the same time. Should take 10-12 minutes to spray 1 coat on the frame. Practice your speed technique on the fork. Avoid distractions and follow a consistent pattern.
I start on one side at the bottom bracket (when the frame is upside down) then down the chainstays to the rear drop outs. From there up the seat stays to the seat cluster. Then the seat tube, on to the down tube, the head tube and then top tube. Now go to the other side and repeat. Flip the frame and follow a similar pattern. As a note I tend to hit the tricky spots first (brake bridges, bosses etc) then the length of each tube. This helps avoid runs.
Good luck & PM me if you have Q's.
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Old 07-06-06, 09:01 AM
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Thank you for the pointers, Dr. Deltron
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