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FWIW: apparent uccess in painting zinc-plated spokes

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FWIW: apparent uccess in painting zinc-plated spokes

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Old 07-06-12, 10:04 PM
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caintuck
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FWIW: apparent uccess in painting zinc-plated spokes

The rims are early 80s aluminum Ukai. Mistakenly cleaned a dozen spokes or so about a year with an abrasive and took off the zinc plating. Been having a rust problem ever since. Got the idea to try aluminum (Al) paint. Sanded the rusty segments down to shiny steel and cleaned them well. Then I painted them with Al paint (contains primer) using a very small brush. Two coats and the spokes took on a patina very close to that of the rims. It's been three weeks and no signs of rust, and I've ridden in the rain a couple of times.

Ten days ago, I painted one of the zinc-plated spokes as a test to see if the Al paint would stick to the zinc. I cleaned a segment of the spoke (between the crossing and the rim) with soap and water. After it dried, I wrapped a paper towel soaked in vinegar around the spoke to etch the zinc. I left the paper towel on for about 20 minutes and the vinegar roughened up the zinc quite a bit. I then applied two coats of Al paint. As of now, the paint is not peeling or flaking at all.

This process is a bit time-consuming, and I now have two-tone spokes; some bright and silvery, others a dull gray. Anyway, my rust problem appears to be solved and I now know that I can paint vinegar-etched zinc with this particular paint. Over the summer, I'll probably paint all of the spokes.

The idea of using vinegar to etch zinc for painting has been around for a long time, but it was new to me.

One of these days we'll get some bright sunshine here. Then I could post a photo that will hopefully show the shine. Without the sun, the spokes look white in a photo.

uccess --> success
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Old 07-07-12, 12:06 AM
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You might want to try a zinc rich coating/primer instead. If you get the better type (94% zinc in dry form) it is supposed to be similar in rust resistance to hot dipped galvanizing.
You probably will need to find a specialty paint store that deals with a lot of exterior metal painting to get more information on what is available in your area and how best to use the coating/primer.
The zinc rich coating will likely come out looking rather dull.
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Old 07-07-12, 01:04 AM
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Yes, a zinc-rich coating was my first choice, but the big DIY stores near me didn't have it. Now that I think of it, probably should have visited my local mom and pop hardware stores, who cater to the farmers and such around here. I'll check them out for sure. A dull finish is not a problem at all; rust prevention is really the only thing I'm after. Thanks for the suggestion.

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Old 07-07-12, 09:38 AM
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Now why didn't I think of that? Great idea.
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Old 07-07-12, 10:07 AM
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I think the aluminum paint is a better idea. The cold galvanizing compound that I've used is not something you'd want on your spokes. It dries kind of lumpy from the powdered zinc in it.
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Old 07-07-12, 10:13 AM
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Hmmmm...etch, prime with zinc primer, then paint 'em black? The black would show rust seepage even less, and there are some very good paints out there in black. Hmmmmm....
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Old 07-07-12, 11:35 AM
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No black spokes for my C&V's!
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