Friday, 16 January 2009

Restoration tips - painting

As explained in my last post there are two types of general restorations and the following information can be used to help you in any type of restoration.

Painting - If you have decided for whatever reason to repaint the bicycle in question there are several ways to go about it which I will now explain.

Option 1. This method is the cheapest but requires a lot of time and manual labor to achieve a good result, first strip the bike down to its bare frame minus all parts e.g headset & BB etc then if you really want to save money go to your local hardware store and buy a suitable strong gel based paint stripper and a cheap 2 inch paint brush. Then place the frame on an old sheet on the floor or you can hang it from something and apply the paint stripper. Please note paint strippers have strong fumes & if you happen to get it on bare skin it will burn so please work in a ventilated area and wear gloves and a mask. Depending on the type of paint you are removing , some old frames have extremely hard baked enamel of several layers and it will take several costs of stripper to remove everything. A small box knife and metal putty knife will come in handy to help remove stubborn paint around lugs etc and one you have cleaned most of the paint of the frame a soft wife brush can be used to clean up difficult areas and then you can finish the frame off by sanding it down with some fine metal emery paper to give a smooth finish. Mineral turpentine can be used to clean up the frame in between sanding and one you are happy with the bare frame you can then get it painted. If you are still intent to save money go back to the local hardware store and purchase and good quality metal primer in a color that is easy to see as there are some clear coat primers around now which in my view are not suitable for bicycle repainting. Once you have primed the frame in at least two coats then choose the top coat of enamel you wish to use & give it several coats leaving it to dry in between each cost. If possible you will have saved some samples of the original paint to give you an idea of the top coat color. If you are unsure check another bicycle of the same model if possible or ask other bicycle collectors online etc. As you can see this option requires a lot of work but the satisfaction of totally stripping & repainting your own frame is worth it if you have time and wish to save money.

Option 2. Is a lot quicker and more expensive, if you want to save time of manually stripping the frame yourself as explained above you could get it sandblasted by a local headstone maker as they use sandblasting to cut letters into headstones and some plating companies can do this for you as well. One thing to be very careful of is the pressure of the sandblaster as if your frame is very old or has very light gauge tubing it may be damaged by sandblasting it at a high pressure. If there is a professional car restorer they will know best how to sandblast your frame. This can save weeks of work and leaves your frame spotless and ready to paint.

After receiving your frame back from the sandblaster you can then search out someone to repaint your frame. When I lived back in NZ the only option in my village was the local car body shop which did a pretty good job of re painting. But if you can find a professional bicycle painter that is the best option, before getting your frame painted by someone ask around to get opinions from others who have used the painter in question and if possible take a look at their work as well. Also it will be of great help to the painter to provide color samples of the original paint so it can be matched correctly.

So as you can see getting your frame painted does not have to be expensive at all if you have the time and like the satisfaction of doing the job yourself or just pay someone else to do all the hard work as in option 2. above.

Pictured above is two photos of the topics covered in this post


Peter said...

Sand blasting is actually too harsh in some cases.They may have been for a trip to the local river to get the aggragate. Never get it shot blasted. Monumental masons have fine recycled granite that makes for a very smooth finish. When paint stripping just get the steel metal parst dip stripped. Most engime reconditoners have heated degreaser baths that also act as strippers.They don't charge the earth like a furniture place either.
Be wary about aluminium parts and strippers. make sure it won't be corrosive to your irreplaceable parts. A lot of these so called technicians are not chemists.

Blogger said...

I have just installed iStripper, so I can have the sexiest virtual strippers on my taskbar.