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Sanding down paint on old frames

Old 07-05-09, 04:50 PM
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Cablestein
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Sanding down paint on old frames

Hi

I have a couple of old steel road frames I'd like to re-paint. A friend has an air compressor and airbrush kit that he'll lend me.

I've started manually sanding one frame with 80 grit sandpaper and a small wire brush for tight spots. Oh man does it take a long time! Basically each length of tube takes an hour to completely sand down to bare metal. Each dropout takes about one and a half hours. Each small boss (for fenders, etc) takes about half an hour. In grand total I can see myself spending 12 hours sand-papering one frame.

Now I can see why sandblasting is so effective!!!

Other than sandblasting, what's the best alternative to manual sanding?

Using an electric palm sander?

Maybe sanding/grinding wheel attachments on a standard drill?
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Old 07-05-09, 05:09 PM
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Jasco Premium Paint & Epoxy Remover...the frame will be done in minutes.

stan
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Old 07-05-09, 05:31 PM
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Ahaaa forgot about that, a paint stripper!

Kind of don't want to use chemicals though.

How safe are they? Is there a lot of liquid in the end to dispose of?
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Old 07-05-09, 07:10 PM
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Originally Posted by family_belly View Post
Jasco Premium Paint & Epoxy Remover...the frame will be done in minutes.

stan
+1

Jasco Premium Paint & Epoxy Remover makes really quick work of stripping a frame of paint. It even works well on powder coated frames.

Just use it outside in open air and use protective gloves. Read the MSDS!
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Old 07-05-09, 11:03 PM
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Palm sanders for the most part are less effective than hand sanding. Their main advantage is a very even distribution of the scratch pattern for finish sanding. Some random orbital sanders are pretty fast. Often you can improve your removal rate hand sanding by experimenting with different papers. 80 grit is coarse but has less points for rapid removal than finer paper, so experimenting with coarser and slightly finer paper.

Also back some strips with filament tape so they are really tough and bootshine the tubes. Be careful about getting heavy scratches in the metal doing that though. You can also hold the strip down under your thumb and pull it through. Or get some cloth backed rolls of 1".

Some wire wheels are pretty effective. You want a reasonable size one being driven by something like a 4" grinder. A 3m Scotchbrite type wheel can be very agressive.

Not saying chemicals or media blasting wouldn't be better...
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Old 07-06-09, 12:32 PM
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+1 on stripper....also C&V used to have a good section on frame painting.....do a search on post by Dr. Deltron for some good input also
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Old 07-06-09, 01:05 PM
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Use kitchen plastic wrap over the paint stripper. It won't dry out as fast, and you'll be done quicker and use less stripper.
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Old 07-06-09, 01:21 PM
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Why remove the old paint. I bet that the primer on the bike is better than what you can do at home. Just rough it up and use it as a primer.
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Old 07-07-09, 08:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Cynikal View Post
Why remove the old paint. I bet that the primer on the bike is better than what you can do at home. Just rough it up and use it as a primer.
Exactly. Only sand the areas that are rusted or scratched. Level out the chips and scratches and paint over the old paint. Use 220 grit paper before painting.
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Old 09-28-20, 04:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Cablestein View Post
Hi

I have a couple of old steel road frames I'd like to re-paint. A friend has an air compressor and airbrush kit that he'll lend me.

I've started manually sanding one frame with 80 grit sandpaper and a small wire brush for tight spots. Oh man does it take a long time! Basically each length of tube takes an hour to completely sand down to bare metal. Each dropout takes about one and a half hours. Each small boss (for fenders, etc) takes about half an hour. In grand total I can see myself spending 12 hours sand-papering one frame.

Now I can see why sandblasting is so effective!!!

Other than sandblasting, what's the best alternative to manual sanding?

Using an electric palm sander?

Maybe sanding/grinding wheel attachments on a standard drill?
I started stripping down an old Peugeot frame and the plan was to level out scratches and remove rust. Once I discovered that there was surface rust under the cracking paint, likely on 90% of the frame, I realized I will need to cut my sanding time down. I used my orbital palm sander with 100 grit and had some decent results in minutes. Plan on doing more sanding today. I do have a bottle of citri stripper paint remover but have no experience with it however may end up using it in tight spots.
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Old 09-28-20, 04:46 AM
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Scraping is much faster than sanding. Buy or make a cabinet scraper as used for scraping wood and you can get the bulk off quickly.
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Old 09-28-20, 04:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Canaboo View Post
Scraping is much faster than sanding. Buy or make a cabinet scraper as used for scraping wood and you can get the bulk off quickly.
What are the potential risks for scratching for one that has little to no experience with such a tool?
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Old 09-28-20, 05:45 AM
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I would just use a bird's nest wheel on an angle grinder. Sounds violent but they really do just take the paint off (very quickly) and nothing but the paint. There will be some fiddly corners left but it will do the bulk of the job.
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Old 09-28-20, 06:45 AM
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Originally Posted by viperocco View Post
What are the potential risks for scratching for one that has little to no experience with such a tool?
The edge of the tool would need to be a but ragged for that to happen.

You can try just using the edge of a dull old knife with a smooth edge. to see how easily the bulk of paint scrapes off.
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Old 09-28-20, 06:21 PM
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Originally Posted by viperocco View Post
What are the potential risks for scratching for one that has little to no experience with such a tool?
Chatter. If the scraper blade starts to chatter then the tube can end up with little marks/indents which will be a pain to smooth out. The blade's shape/grind and it's angle WRT the tube are major factors in how to avoid the blade from skipping/chattering. Andy
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Old 09-29-20, 04:05 PM
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A 4.5" plastic poly wheel grinder will take 80 - 90% of the paint off of a frame in less than an hour.
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Old 09-30-20, 03:35 PM
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chemical stripper for the win....even works on zombie threads
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Old 09-30-20, 09:13 PM
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After years of doing this on and off I now will try chemical stuff first. Then mechanical second. But my skin and lungs are not as sensitive to chemicals as others are or to mechanical wear/tear .Andy
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Old 10-01-20, 02:43 AM
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I used that citri peel stripper product yesterday on the tighter spots that the sander couldn't get. It was okay, but messy. I guess sanding is too.
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Old 10-01-20, 02:34 PM
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Chemical stripper is a great starting point but every time I've stripped an old frame there was corrosion under the finish so it's not as if you are going to get away with stripper alone. If the paint is "the good stuff" some high power stripper like that Jasco Professional is great because it's much stronger than the weak sauce strippers like that citrus stuff. The good strippers used to require mineral spirits to remove whereas the weak stuff used water. Unfortunately, even the good stuff is weaker than it used to be. Anyway, mechanical rust removal, and removing paint down into cable stops and the like is typically part of the bigger job. Dropping the frame into a blast cabinet at that point speeds up the job greatly if you are fortunate enough to have one. Some phosphoric acid also works great to remove rust. Jasco Etch and Prep, available at Home Depot, is fantastic stuff and highly recommended.

.
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Old 10-01-20, 03:13 PM
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Aircraft stripper even works on powder coat.

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