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Thursday, August 24, 2006

PAINTING THE BICYCLE FRAME WITH COLOR



Day 1

After verifying that the primer was dry, I got on my trusty cruiser bicycle and headed for the closest Canadian Tire(This is one of the country's landmark stores) for the metallic red paint that I had in mind. I found a small can of auto touch up paint with the color "Rasperry Red" metallic. Cool, it looks almost like a perfect match to the Galaxie's original color. I got back home and prepared my set up, only to find that the can I had purchased was missing it's nozzle. Having no time to waste, I used the nozzle from my base color's can.

Before you start applying any coat of paint, you have to wet sand the primer to smooth out the small rough spots and eliminate overspray. Do this with a 400 grit or finer sandpaper that you immerse in water. You can even put water on the frame while you do this. Now in this case, sanding is a big word. You are applying paint from a rattle can, not a spray gun. The paint layer is pretty thin, so carress that frame with your very wet sand paper, don't rub or you'll go right through that coat in a flash. Feel with your hand between every pass, if it's smooth, stop, that's enough. Wet sanding will have to be done between every coat. Don't forget to clean and dry your frame after doing this. Just use water and a paper towel. Paint doesn't stick to water.

Metallic paints are somewhat translucent. You need to put down a base coat of the color you want to use before the metallic color, or not, it's up to you. I tested this on the fork that holds the bike in the stand. Since it got sprayed with primer at the same time as the frame yesterday, any booboo would come up right away. I also had the chance to look at the difference with and without the base coat on it. With, looked a lot better. So I sprayed the base coat first, which was GM Torch red. I did the same steps as in the primer how to. Paint underneath and the small nooks first. Then flip it over right side up and finish the job. Don't forget to wipe the nozzle every second pass with a rag to avoid paint build up on the nozzle and paint splatter on your surface. I masked the front of the bike frame since I wanted to keep it white. Spend the bucks on good tape and use lots of it. You don't want any other color than the one you have underneath that mask.

Since the base color and the metallic color were both the same type of paint and from the same manufacturer, I went ahead with the metallic coat that afternoon. The frame had been sitting in the blazing sun most of the morning and was dry to the touch. I again wet sanded the whole thing and did the upside down right side up painting routine again. The first coat of metallic took the whole can! It looked great...until it dried and I had a good view of it in the sun. Little mistakes here and there, spots missing paint. Crap! It needs a second coat, can't blame a guy for wishful thinking.

Day 2

Went back to the friendly neighbourghood Canadian Tire with the trusty cruiser. Bought another can of Rasperry Red, checked, before paying, that the stupid can came with a nozzle. Went home and started to set up, look at the sky...good, sunny. Wet sand the frame, clean it, apply second coat of metallic. Put the frame in the sun, apply first coat of epoxy clear to the already painted fork, wow! That stuff is amazing, like candy.

Bring the frame into the shed, started to rain. Rain stops, bring frame back out. Now I'm looking at this thing of beauty, it actually came out pretty good and all I want to do is slap on that super Krylon epoxy clear coat right now...AAAAAAAAArgh! I'll have to wait, even though the color is dry to the touch, I know too well that the process is not over underneath that rasperry shine. I apply another coat of clear to the fork to calm down. Remember, be patient, mistakes happen when we rush things. The clear coat will be applied tomorrow and the result will be awsome I am sure.

Next post, we'll start putting stuff back together. The clear coat will be left to dry for at least 4 days before I touch anything. When paint dries, you must threat it as if it was made of eggshells. New paint always seem to attract scratches when you rebuild. So wait for it to dry good before you handle it.

Til next time, keep your hands dirty.

Gerry

46 comments:

christoforos said...

yery helpfyl information on your blog man...
thanks

Gerry Lauzon said...

You're welcome.

Gerry

Lorenzo said...

Hi, you're blog is very useful, i'm glad I found it!

I was wondering, I have this fairly new road bike with colors I don't like, do you know how to strip an aluminum bike frame?


thanks in advance!

Gerry Lauzon said...

Lorenzo,

You're best protection for your frame is the original finish. Sand the actual finish until it isn't shinny anymore and apply primer, then your colour. Raw aluminium requires a special primer if you wish to go that way. Avoid chemical paint strippers, it's dangerous for you and bad for the planet. Use a brush grinder wheel on a drill instead. Good luck and send me some pics of your project.

Gerry

Anonymous said...

Hi Gerry,

I'm writing from Budapest, Hungary, and I must say, without your blog I would be in deep ....

I have promised my girlfriend to repaint her mtb for her birthday -and of course, out of sheer manliness I assured her it's a piece of cake and I can do it easily- but I simply couldn't find any info on it in Hungarian.

So again, a big up to your blog!

cheers,
Attila

Gerry Lauzon said...

You are more than welcomed Attila. I'm happy to hear that I helped you out of that jam! On a side note, one of the best bikes I have ever owned was built in Hungary.

Gerry

Anonymous said...

Hey Gerry - thanks for the great info... My question is on a slightly different topic: Can I apply another clear coat to a new bike frame to improve the durability of the original finish? I'm currently building up a steel mtb, and I want it to look great for as long as possible, really get annoyed with the rock chips on the downtube...

Thanks in advance,

Tony.

Gerry Lauzon said...

Hi Tony,
I would not recommended it. The original clear finish is pretty hard to beat with a can job. That's unless you have access to some professional grade equipment and that you wet sand your frame before. You will be just adding more coats of clear and rocks will still chip that frame. My 2 cents.

Gerry

Anonymous said...

Thanks a bunch, Gerry - so all I can do is touch up the chips as they happen, right?

Cheers,

Tony.

Gerry Lauzon said...

That's right man, a bike is made to be ridden. Ride safe!

Gerry

Jay Woessner said...

Okay,

so we sanded the frame down the steel, primed it, and put on the candy apple red color coat, (wet) sanding between each.

We put the first coat of clear coat on and had a couple of runs and some crackling - crap.

Any pointers on how to recover?

thanks,

jay and noelle

Gerry Lauzon said...

Let everything sit for a week to let every coat dry properly and wet sand again. Have you checked if the the primer, candy apple and clear are compatible with each other(acrylics mixed with enamels)? Did you properly clean the surface each time with thinner? Anything at all that came in contact with the surface between coats could have caused this. One way to avoid some of these problems is to buy all the types of paint from the same manufacturer(primer, color, clear) as they are generally always compatible with each other. Leave at least 24 hours to dry between coats of different types of paint(primer, color, clear) I also wonder if you applied a color base coat before the candy apple. Talk to your paint supplier he could help you in choosing the best clear paint to apply after this mishap, give them all the info. Good luck and send me a pic of the end result at xddorox (at) gmail.com

Gerry :)

Tony Pascuzzo said...

Thanks again for all the great info - I've just primed and painted following your directions, and I love the outcome so far! I'd like to clearcoat as well, but I'm a little unclear: I should wet sand the paint, first, then clearcoat, right? Also, should I (can I) use multiple coats of clear? If so, should I wet sand between them?

Thanks!

Gerry Lauzon said...

Hi Tony, wet sanding between all coats is good so you get a very smooth surface. The smoother the surface, the greater the shine. Just be careful not to wet sand your color away. Use the very finest sandpaper with a lot of water and feel the surface as you go, don't over do it. As soon as it is smooth to the touch, that's it you're done.

Good luck!

Gerry :)

Anonymous said...

You wrote we need to wet sand the primer after every coat. Do we need to wet sand the paint as well? And how long do you wait to wet sand? Do you follow the can's directions and wait?

Gerry Lauzon said...

There should be 30 minutes between coats of the same paint (primer, color base or clear)Feel for roughness between each coat and remove by wet sanding. There should be 24 hours of drying time between the primer, color base and clear. Wet sand just before applying a new coat. So a good paint job will take 3 days.

Gerry :)

Anonymous said...

ive done all the sanding and i would like to put a mat finish on the frame. do you have any suggestions for brands of paint and are the any steps that should be done differently.

thanks, victor

Gerry Lauzon said...

Hello Victor,

I use Krylon all the time. It does a great job and dries pretty fast. They also make a mat clear spray. So you could spray the bike any color and finish it off with a mat clear. Hope this helps.

Gerry :)

Mr. Farrell said...

this may be a redundant question...

in the priming section you stated that second coats can go on after 20 min.

in this section you advise to wet sand between coats.

so... should i wet sand between each coat or just between primer, color, and clear coat.

thanx again.

Gerry Lauzon said...

You should wet sand between primer, color, and clear coat.

Gerry :)

mr. farrell said...

thanx G. im headin outside to wet sand right now. hopefully i dont melt from the 105 degree heat.

haha... the news just said that emsa has declared a heat warning.

Gerry Lauzon said...

Good luck bro.

Gerry :)

mr. farrell said...

well, it came out pretty good.i posted pics on my build thread(fisher price, my first bike build) on RRB.

farrell said...

hi Gerry.

shoud i repaint the spots i missed before putting on a second coat... or can i go ahead and wet sand again and touch up the missed spots when i put on the secound coat?

thanx

Gerry Lauzon said...

I would take care of those spots on the next coat.

Gerry :)

farrell said...

nevermind. i read above (day 2) and found my answer. thanx.

NaijaBoi08 said...

Hey Gerry, i just purchased a 10 speed Schwinn Le Tour and i am thinking of repainting it. What painting method would you recommend me to paint it with. i read one post and you said you used Krylon spray paint, should i use that also? I am just looking for the best method that will prevent premature rust and paint chipping. Also, how will i protect the stickers? i looked on ebay and saw stickers, should i buy those? or is there a way to protecting it?

Anonymous said...

Hey Gerry,
Bryan & #1 Fan here. We have the fork painted and man it looks good, we hope to get more work one today. Hayden wants to send you a pic later on today when he gets more done. Thanks for everything!
Bryan & Hayden

Anonymous said...

hey jerry its hayden i got the skulls and they rock!!im ganna put them on my number one bike becuase i want to be sure to keep them they rock thank you so much i like them alot
your number one fan,
hayden "Slick"

Gerry Lauzon said...

Real glad you like them Slick.

Gerry :)

Anonymous said...

hey jerry, dad and i want to know how is the best way to put our skulls on our bikes.I got our superglues but dad sad no.
slick

Gerry Lauzon said...

Epoxy or clear silicone will do the job. Bang it into shape with a hammer on a piece of tubing to bend it so it hugs the frame nicely.

Gerry :)

kelvin said...

HI! when you say cleaning the frame after u sand. what did u use to clean? issit thinner as well?? thnx!

Gerald said...

Yes, I used thinner. It cleans every thing off.

Gerry :)

Anonymous said...

great info thank you. I'm good with a wrench but have always been leery of painting, but now I am waist deep in my project. one question. I am doing my mountain/downhill bike and would like to put the most durable clear coat possible to protect from the abuse. any suggestions?

Gerald said...

Find a local body shop who would be willing to shoot your frame and fork with the clear coat only. It should come out great and resistant.

Gerry :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Gerry. I have a few questions about painting a carbon fibre frame. There is no color, just some layers of shinny clear coat. Should I sand and prime or can I sand and go straight for color? Also, I am planning on using the same paint you did (Duplicolor car touch up primer, color and clear)from Canadian Tire. Will this paint be fine if I want quite a bit of shine when finished? Thanks in advance, Petr

Gerry Lauzon said...

I wouldn't know where to start with a carbon fiber frame. That shiny stuff is part of the resin that keeps the whole thing together and I wouldn't mess with it. Maybe if you shoot it with a self etching primer it would work. Shoot a clear coat on top of the dupli color to get that glossy finish.

Gerry :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Gerry,I restore antique - vintage bicycles from the ground up.I the area of painting I have used air brush and rattle cans with good results.
I have educated myself in the painting aspects by researching different methods on the internet and found many reports on how to base coat clear coat. Very confusing after awhile.
I finally found your site and want to compliment you on the information you supply It is very clear and concise. I will continue to keep in touch with your site.
Thanks again,
Norm/Nebraska

Gerry Lauzon said...

Glad I could be of service Norm.

Gerry :)

Anonymous said...

HI Gerry,

First of all your blogs are the only info I could find at all on rebuilding an old bike so thanks for that!

my project bike was found by my dad in a scrap metal bin. its a huffy cruiser which i am trying to resurrect.

i just painted it with a few coats of color and a few coats of clear but now the paint scratches off very easily with just my fingernails. i didnt use primer becuase i bought paint that didnt need it and i sanded the heck out of all the pieces first.

what should i do? just let it dry for several days and see if it helps? or is there anything else i can do to try and fix the problem? im not very patient

Thanks Amy

Gerry Lauzon said...

First off, always use Primer. That no primer paint is Bull imo. Let it dry for a while, at least a couple of days before you handle it. Spray paint will never be that tough compared to professionnal finish. Don't worry, in all cases paint is temporary. It's easier the second time around and you always do a better job.

Gerry :)

Ken Barnes said...

Hi. Great blog! If you use a spray can, make sure you hold it horizontal as much as possible or it will drip. And apply with steady, sweeping strokes. A great tool for helping apply an even surface is on plastic gun type handle that fits over the spray can nozzle and locks on the rim. They can be found on amazon or ebay, etc. for about $5. A very worthwhile investment and prevents dreaded index finger fatigue. :-)
Ken

Gerry Lauzon said...

Thanks for the tip Ken.

Gerry :)

Ken Barnes said...

By horizontal, I mean level of course (don't hold the can on its side!) without tipping it forward or pointing it up or down. Move your arm horizontally or vertically while keeping the can level. Ok, about to embark on an 18 year old Cannondale frame but the front fork is stuck and can't be pulled. Guy in bike shop tells me to pour a can of coke in the tube and wait 24 hrs. Will see...

Amy Cooper said...

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