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Proper wait time for wet-sanding enamel, and other finishing questions

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Proper wait time for wet-sanding enamel, and other finishing questions

Old 01-12-13, 05:21 PM
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Proper wait time for wet-sanding enamel, and other finishing questions

Working on a Holdsworth touring frame. The paint was very good, other than a bunch of small chips and scrapes.

1. After touching up the frame (I used Testor's enamel), how long should I wait before wet-sanding?

2. Should I just wet-sand the touched up areas, then use rubbing compound, then wax the whole frame?

3. What about a coat of rattle-can clear after the wet sand? Good idea or bad idea? If a good idea, what kind should I use? (The decals seem like they're stuck pretty well, other than the Reynolds sticker, which is in little pieces.)

Thanks. I'll post some pics eventually.
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Old 01-12-13, 05:32 PM
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Enamel dries top down so quite a while, and if it is cool, even longer. Wet sanding can be tricky too even with solid colors, I would not even think about a grit coarser than 400, and maybe not even that, but 600 and 1500.
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Old 01-12-13, 05:40 PM
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You're probably not going to like this reply, but I'd wait at least two weeks. A month would be better. Enamel dries quite slowly. Is it dry and warm in your house? Do you have any way of accelerating the process? Like a box with a light bulb in it?
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Old 01-12-13, 07:31 PM
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*I agree with the advice given above. A month of curing is good. There are ways to speed up curing, but they involve lamps or "ovens".

* As for sanding between coats: I like using a 3M type abrasive pad with grit equivalents starting at 600 and working to 800 or more. If the base finish is smooth with no embedded crud, you only have to fog the surface. Be sure to take a lint-free cloth and rub the "sanded" base coat with thinners or some aromatic that will not attack the base coating. A whole lot of dust will come off, even after using the mildest of abrasives.

* As for clear-coating: I've done it. I like using acrylic clear. It can be a very tough finish.

* Some people may disagree with this, but rattle-can application is not a slam-dunk deal. Some skill is needed to get a nice finish with a rattle can. Consider doing it in two stages to avoid overspray onto adjacent tubes. Do it in warmer temperatures, or be prepared to warm the frame. Dunking the rattle-can in some warmish water for a few minutes immediately before spraying can help too. Winter spraying is more involved than in more temperate seasons.

* For the best results, curing clear-coat is as important as curing the colour. Set your frame on a heating air duct, or next to a radiator and turn it about every few days. I like the idea of the light box as mentioned above, but I have no room to store store one.

Two years ago I repaired a badly chipped frame and then applied clear coat. I ride the bike frequently, and except for one accident involving some staples on my DIY bike stand, the clear-coat has stood up amazingly well. It looks good enough to have raised compliments.

As with anything else, paint repair and finishing is a craft; practice makes for improvements. But progress may not turn out to be linear. As you try this and that, the results can very. Lots of little variables abound from person to person in regards to skill, working conditions and just plain luck. I think that every time I do this, I'll be learning something or improving some part of the skill.

Not everyone agrees, but I think that DIY painting can be effectively a lot cheaper than professional work, unless you are using many bottles of expensive Urathanes — none of which have worked very well for me — so far. I am thinking of trying lacquers some day. One experience seems to have indicated that lacquers yield a better looking finish and are less nerve racking to apply. Pre work has to be perfect.

As with many other male, BF DIYers, "she who must be obeyed" must be mollified. For me, the expense and luxury of professional finishing, even on valuable frames, is just 'not on', mate.

Here are two sample shots of a Simplon 4-Star in '531' that was repaired and clear coated.

Last edited by Lenton58; 01-12-13 at 10:27 PM.
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Old 01-12-13, 07:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Lenton58 View Post

'she who must be obeyed' has to be mollified
I have my own 'she who must' at home Lenton58 and am a huge fan of Rumpole.
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Old 01-12-13, 07:51 PM
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I use Duplicolor paint and clear. It's lacquer based I believe. I find it at auto parts stores. If you use their clear, you will be able to sand after a few days. It has been very durable if allowed to fully cure. Unfortunately that seems to be a month or two. I sand with 1000 grit. Walmart stores near me carry 1000 and 2000 grit in the auto parts department.
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Old 01-12-13, 07:51 PM
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Rumpole lifted it from H. Rider Haggard.

I wet-sanded Testor's after 3 days, but haven't clear-coated yet. I may not ever, honestly speaking.
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Old 01-12-13, 07:52 PM
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When you are ready to sand those touch up areas, be sure to use a firm sanding pad. This will help to level many raised touch up areas and not dig into the original finish. Go lightly and let the sand paper do the work - don't push down much.

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Old 01-13-13, 08:43 AM
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Thanks for the replies. I have no need to rush this project, so I'll just hang it up for a while. Spring is still a ways off, unfortunately.
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