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Clearcoating decals

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Old 01-16-11, 09:03 AM
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BlueDevil63 
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Clearcoating decals

I have done a couple of restorations now involving new decals. The problem I am confronting is how to preserve said decals. Now many vintage Italian bikes didn't have clearcoated decals, which is why I am having to replace them in my restorations, but I would like mine to last. I don't really want to clearcoat the whole frame. I have heard of various folks brushing on clearcoat just over the decals and about 1/8" border around the decals. I had a suggestion to use marine spar varnish but then several folks told me it has a yellowish tinge and never really dries hard. So any suggestions besides a good coat of wax? Could I just brush on a coat of urethane clear coat? Thoughts?
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Old 01-16-11, 09:51 AM
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Hello BD63,
First a disclaimer. I can't answer this question. But I'm sure you'll get a lot of input, and I too am interested in hearing the responses. I believe you need to clarify, however, if you are referring to actual water slide decals or the new reproduction type that I believe, are vinyl or something. I think someone recommended spar varnish because it does have a higher solids content and fewer solvents than other clear finishes. That's why it does not completely "harden" and why it is the preferred finish for bamboo fly rods; it stays somewhat flexible. In a relative sense, compared with other clear finishes. And yes, it will tend to yellow over time. I can only recommend, for what it's worth, that you try out some different options if you have any left over decal material that came with your replacements. I might tend to airbrush some clear poly urethane over decals applied to a painted test surface and see if the solvents lift the vinyl edges at all. Good luck and please keep us posted.
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Old 01-16-11, 10:13 AM
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Yes I left out some info. Specifically the decals I am talking about are the ones from Cyclomondo in Australia. I believe these would be called waterslide but they are not the same as the old kind I don't believe. The decals usually have a clear top carrier sheet, a printed decal layer and then some paper backing sheet. The application process involves removing the backing paper, wetting the back of the decal, wetting the surface and then applying the decal to the surface. Once dry you carefully peel off the carrier sheet, leaving just the decals. You do not soak the decals in water like the old water slide decals I used to put on plastic models. Nor are they just vinyl stickers. The decals directions say they are clear coat friendly and can be coated with a urethane clear coat. Now that you mention it using an airbrush to apply a more or less standard urethane clearcoat just on the decals and a small margin may be the way to go. Spray would be better than brush. Of course I don't have an airbrush but I never need much of an excuse to buy more tools
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Old 01-16-11, 10:17 AM
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I've had very good luck with the clearcoat on the right. It goes on smooth and dries fast. It will not lift your decals. This is not the time of year to use it, though if you live in the northern hemisphere. Wait for warmer weather. For better flow, I use the old modeler's trick of warming the can in a basin of warm water before use.


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Old 01-16-11, 10:49 AM
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Ah, interesting. I haven't used Cyclomondo's decals yet but have my first set coming. Interesting process. I might PM you about it. An airbrush would be handy , to keep things under control. I always worry a bit about the masked edge, however. Making it invisible. The thought of trying it out on one of your fine bikes , BD63, makes me shrivel up like a spider on a hot stove!

Grand Bois. Is that brand a proprietary brand name from a specific outfit? Or generally available. Not sure I've seen Dupli-Color before.
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Old 01-16-11, 11:04 AM
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his decals are vinyl with adhesive back, not waterslide. You can apply them on a wet surface to facilitate positioning.

Many vinyl decals are applied on high use applications with what we call an edge sealer, sort of like brushing on a clearcoat over the edge. Decals never fall off from the middle, but the edges.
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Old 01-16-11, 11:09 AM
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The paint that I suggested to you works well on Cyclomondo's decals. They are not waterslide, by the way.



Make a little effort and you'll find Dupli Color yourself.
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Old 01-16-11, 11:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Grand Bois View Post
The paint that I suggested to you works well on Cyclomondo's decals. They are not waterslide, by the way.



Make a little effort and you'll find Dupli Color yourself.
Thanks you for the clarification. They didn't seem the same as the old waterslide decals I put on models but I didn't know what they really were. My ignorance shows through
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Old 01-16-11, 11:41 AM
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Originally Posted by thenomad View Post
his decals are vinyl with adhesive back, not waterslide. You can apply them on a wet surface to facilitate positioning.

Many vinyl decals are applied on high use applications with what we call an edge sealer, sort of like brushing on a clearcoat over the edge. Decals never fall off from the middle, but the edges.
Thanks I guess that is what I really want. I don't really want to clearcoat the whole frame (just because I don't have the place to do it right now and I don't want to strip down the bike again) and worried about how to blend things in if I just used a spray can and masked off the decal area or just clearcoated the seat tube or something. So I thought something to just seal the edges would be the trick and this sounds like what I want.
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Old 01-16-11, 01:14 PM
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I'd suggest a tiny little detail brush and clear fingernail polish. A very thin line just at the edge of the decal may give it that little bit of longevity, keeping the water and dirt from lifting the edges.
I think I'll be applying my 531 decals before the clearcoat as I've never done that before and want to try it out.

Edge sealer is used on airplane decals and even some truck decals
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Old 01-16-11, 03:16 PM
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Make a little effort and you'll find Dupli Color yourself.[/QUOTE]

Aye aye Captain!
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Old 01-16-11, 03:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Grand Bois View Post
The paint that I suggested to you works well on Cyclomondo's decals. They are not waterslide, by the way.



Make a little effort and you'll find Dupli Color yourself.
was this painted using dupli-color? if so, WOW!

i've painted a frame before (twice, first white, then black) using dupli-color with great success.
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Old 01-16-11, 03:59 PM
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It's Dupli Color, it's their acrylic enamel not the lacquer touch up paint.
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Old 01-16-11, 04:01 PM
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I think the Seal-It Pen on this page might be just what I want for this quick fix. In the spring I will consider clearcoating.

http://www.signsupply.com/accessorie..._for_vinyl.asp
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Old 01-16-11, 07:19 PM
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I have not had any severe changes in color after using Acrylic clear coat on my water slide decals or even the vinyls - I tried using the Seal-It pen but I can't say it really helped - The rattle can acrylic clear sprays on different, not as thick as Enamel, not as thin as Lacquer - Over spray was not a problem and after drying 10 days, a wax and polish, all was invisible - BUT - I have only done this on one bike and its only been six months...
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Old 01-16-11, 09:54 PM
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I've used some acrylic artist media by brush before. Water based, dries clear but supposedly dries to plastic...
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Old 01-16-11, 09:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Grand Bois View Post
The paint that I suggested to you works well on Cyclomondo's decals. They are not waterslide, by the way.

Make a little effort and you'll find Dupli Color yourself.
DAng, that looks GREAT!
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Old 01-17-11, 01:01 AM
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I've clear-coated once over existing decals, no wet-sanding and simply masked off the decals, shot hobby clear from Michael's craft store, and then let it dry. I rubbed it out with compound lightly and it turned out OK, but didn't seem to seal and protect the decals all that much.

I had a frame painted, then decaled, then 4 coats of clear, and I doubt those decals will ever have a problem.

I'm pretty confident the DupliColor scheme works just fine.
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Old 01-17-11, 11:40 AM
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Neato post. I, too, am a fan of spray paint. Don't knock till you try it.
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