Painting a bike

montage

God Almighty
Location
Bethlehem
Ok, I am planning to paint an old steel frame in a king of the mountains pattern, so white with red polka dots.
Firstly, is it almost impossible to get a good quality finish?
Secondly how durable will this be?

I play to take a trip down to Halfords and buy the cans, I believe I will need:
1 primer
1 white
1 red
1 lacquer

Not sure how to remove the paint and decals on the frame already.
Looking to do this as cheap as possible (when are people not!?)
 

hubgearfreak

Über Member
Firstly, is it almost impossible to get a good quality finish?
honestly, yes. if it's your first attempt and you need to ask questions, you're clearly not experienced.
this isn't meant as an insult, but if you're not experienced, you'll struggle to get a good (thick enough) coat on without runs.

i've painted a couple of frames with traditional coach enamal and a brush, after it's been sandblasted. it takes a silly amount of time and effort, lots of 1200 wet&dry between coats and a decent (=expensive) brush. even then, it's atleast 6 coats before it looks anthing like decent. and you need to work quick to keep your wet edge.

if someone can powdercoat it for £50 or so, that's a durable finish and cheaper than painting it yourself. a can of dot coloured paint and some masking tape after that would be quite easy
 

Will1985

Über Member
Location
South Norfolk
I've seen a Scott Addict which was stripped and resprayed in a back garden using rattle cans - 6 coats of metallic blue and several lacquer coats. Looks amazing, but he did know what he was doing...
 

tyred

Legendary Member
Location
Ireland
I've seen a Scott Addict which was stripped and resprayed in a back garden using rattle cans - 6 coats of metallic blue and several lacquer coats. Looks amazing, but he did know what he was doing...
That's the problem though. Everyone has to start somewhere before they become an expert at anything.

I've always found a certain satisfaction from doing as much as possible myself no matter what I'm working on and I've certainly made mistakes and there are times when professional help may have been better but I'll always have a go and I recommend anyone else to do so as well. It's the only way to learn.





To the OP, preparation is key to a good paint finish. A lugged bike frame is a surprisingly awkward thing to sandpaper but if you want a decent finish, you'll need to put the time and effort into it.
 
If you prepare the frame and strip it back to metal, you'll get a reasonable finish and as hubgearfreak says, the more effort the better and the more durable it will be. I did one once and it looked OK and the finish lasted reasonably well. I used paper masks held away from the frame to get a two colour blended finish.
 

cferns

New Member
I tried the paint option on the frame for my home build. It is very difficult and in my case looked terrible.

So I have taken it in to be powder coated. For £45 is is not much more than all the cans of spray paint I would have used !!
 

Chris S

Legendary Member
Location
Sparkhill
Remember that modern spray paints are water based. They're more environmentally friendly than the ones 30 years ago but give a much worse finnish.
 
OP
montage

montage

God Almighty
Location
Bethlehem
Well I was looking to do this on an old steel frame I have as practise, and then perhaps do it on some other road frames to flog for a bit of pocket money whilst I am unable to work...which means powder coating kind of defeats the purpose.

Maybe if I practise on some small items, such at stems and seatposts before trying a frame?

Any guides out there that are recommended? I have found a few blogs on the topic which I reckon I could use.

The initial effort will be on my turbo bike - so no harm done if it winds up looking ugly
 
C

chillyuk

Guest
I haven't painted a frame in years. However when I used to do them preparation was all. Every imperfection had to be polished or rubbed out of the frame, small dings had to be filled and rubbed down. I always used Chinese lacquer to paint the frame. It is like water, very thin, so great care has to be taken not to allow it to run. I would apply it very sparingly, and gradually build it up over many coats. When I have taken a lot of care the finish had to be seen to be believed for a brushed job.
 

hubgearfreak

Über Member
do it on some other road frames to flog for a bit of pocket money whilst I am unable to work
i reckon that the difference in price between an amateur painted frame and an as is frame, minus the cost of the paint and preparation really isn't worth your while.

i painted my frame because i wanted to, not becuase it was easy or cheap.
 

Hacienda71

Mancunian in self imposed exile in leafy Cheshire
I sprayed up an old eddy merckx steel frame with spray cans it looks great. I took quite a bit of time though and didn't rush between coats and before reassembly. I had experience of spraying like this from doing up Vespas and Lambrettas back in the 80's. Took a long time to do so wouldn't want to do it to make money though, but very satisfying never the less.
 

jimboalee

New Member
Location
Solihull
Home spraying a frame is possible.

Firstly, all the old paint must be removed. Nitromors. A few applications.

A good hosing down between applications of the Nitromors.

Dry off thoroughly. Ideally, get an old electric 'bar' fire ( or two, but Halogen heaters are much better ) to keep the local atmosphere dry and hot. The frame should be kept warm so the thinners vaps off easier.

Grey primer. NOTE - with every spray, you will waste more paint than goes on the frame.

Undercoat. Several applications of thin coats and 'cure' each coat with the Halogen heaters.

Colour coat. Same as undercoat. Many thin coats and keep the job warm.

Apply decals.

Laquer coat. Same as before, Many thin coats and always keep the job warm.


I've sprayed frames at Venom Cycles in Erdington, Brum ( they don't exist any more) and Land Rover's SVO ( Special Vehicle Operations ) at Solihull.

LA Cycles ( Lee Cooper in Cov' ) wouldn't let me in their spray booth.


Hey, if its an old steel frame, think about having the stays and forks half chromed... ;)

Mind you, you'll prob spend more on prep', paint and electricity than having the thing done by a pro refinisher.
 

bobg

Über Member
all that everybody else has said but a big "but" .... rattle can spray jobs chip VERY easily even if you leave the paint to cure for a month. It's heartbreaking to have spent weeks on a sprayjob, then knock a big lump out of it while putting the lock on .........
 
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