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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm looking to do my first rattle can job to an old steel lugged Giant frame I found in a dumpster. And I'm looking for any tips, pointers, previous posts, info. on how to do this and make it look good...from stripping the paint to primering to how to paint to wet sanding (if needed). I've never painted anything. Any info. is appreciated.

-John
 

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johndengler said:
I'm looking to do my first rattle can job to an old steel lugged Giant frame I found in a dumpster. And I'm looking for any tips, pointers, previous posts, info. on how to do this and make it look good...from stripping the paint to primering to how to paint to wet sanding (if needed). I've never painted anything. Any info. is appreciated.

-John

Tip #1: Rustoleum is good stuff, but don't use the clear coat or you'll get massive orange peel.
 

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johndengler said:
I'm looking to do my first rattle can job to an old steel lugged Giant frame I found in a dumpster. And I'm looking for any tips, pointers, previous posts, info. on how to do this and make it look good...from stripping the paint to primering to how to paint to wet sanding (if needed). I've never painted anything. Any info. is appreciated.

-John
Rather than the twelve chapter book, I'll give my sweetened condensed version.

1. Remove all parts, you might be able to leave on the headset cups and bottom bracket, if you're going to re-use them. Just mask them off before shooting color.
2. Strip the old decals if they're vinyl. Heat will help, such as a propane torch held just far enough away to start them yellowing, then peel off while still warm.
3. Strip the paint using an idustrial quality water based paint stripper. You may need to use a stripper that'll remove catalyzed or epoxy based paints, depending on the original finsh. It will likely take two coats of stripper. It's nasty stuff, so tarp your area well, wear chemical gloves and eye protection. Best do this outside with a hose nearby, to spray off the old paint and stripper. Lightly scrape the bubbling paint with a scraper, screwdriver, etc... improvise, but try not to gouge the steel/aluminum frame tubing
4. Once most of the paint is removed, rinse and wash off as much old paint, stripper, and debris. A wire or stainless brush can be a big help. Just don't overdo it with the brush. You may need to touch small areas such as cable bosses, etc, with a little more stripper. Being anal at this point is nice, but not required.
5. Sanding - use 400 grit sandpaper, and water to sand off any leftover paint spots, or rust areas. A final buff down with scotch brite pads can help to prep the base before priming.
6. With a clean cloth, as lint free as possible, use a solvent like Xylene or Naptha to wipe dowm the frame thoroughly, wear gloves to avoid touching the frame and getting finger oils on the metal. You want the frame 100% grease/oil free, or paint won't adhere. This is also a good time to tape off areas you don't want to paint. Another nice touch is to use compressed air to blow off any dust, lint, or hairs before spraying. Once you've done this, you have to spray, or start the cleaning steps all over again. Stick an old seat post w/old seat in the seattube to use as a handle or clamp spot when turning the frame while you spary. A frame stand is also a good idea, and be sure to plan where you are going to hang the freshly painted frame before it's all wet and you're trapped in a corner.
7. Buy the "best" automotive spray can paint you can get. "Best" here is really a misnomer, as it's not catalyzed paint, so it'll never be as hard or durable as true automotive paint. I suggest you find a local autobody supply house that sells to the trade and have them show you what the toughest paint, in decent color choices will be. Also have them suggest a sealer/primer to use.I have my favorites, but let your local shop tell what they think is best. Colors will be limited.
8. Buy a paint can trigger sprayer or two. 3M makes 'em, they're around $5 each. They snap onto the top of the can and let you spray by poulling a trigger rather than pushing down the teeny nozzle. A lot easier to control.
9. Get a big piece of cardbaord to practice on with both your primer and color. Try to do straight, overlapping lines, with a little overspray at the beginning and the end. Try to get clean coverage, without streaks or runs, knowing you'll be doing two coats. Less can be more. Hold your wrist straight, parralel to the surface, about 8-12 inches away, don't spray in arcs. Too close with too much pressure will casue runs, which loook worse than slightly stippled surface - orange peel is found in most paint jobs, unless on a show car. Get good at this, or your job will look crappy.
10. Tarp off your entire work area or you'll make a mess. Wear a particle mask or better yet a professional organic compound mask or you'll have colored boogies and brain damage like me later on in life. :D
11. Shoot the primer, hitting the small hidden areas first and the underside of the tubes, then the sides and tops of the tubes. The critical hidden spots to good coverage are: Cable bosses, bottom bracket, lugs, dropouts, brake bosses, seatclamp, and then spray the tubes. One good clean covering coat over the whole frame can be fine, two is okay, but no more than that. Follow the directions on the can for when you can spray the second coats or color coat. It may be within a half hour of less, or more... depending on the paint. If you wait too long, you'll need to let the primer fully dry.
12. Shoot the color, following the same steps as above. You will likely be able to paint the second color coat as soon as the base coat is tacky.
13. Hang to dry.

Okay, so I've got 13 steps. Sue me. :rolleyes: :D

Enjoy the project, it's really easy and fun. And you can get great results if you're careful and practice the shooting process before spraying the frame. Here's my rattle can cross bike, an old team stumpjumper frame from the late 80's:

http://forums.roadbikereview.com/showpost.php?p=467559&postcount=109
 

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Great post! Thanks for all that good info. IME when refinishing anything is that careful prep = 85% of getting a good result.
 

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Another helpful hint

Here's another little helpful hint: After you tarp your painting area get a spray bottle with water and gently spray the whole painting area. This will help cut down the dust.

Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
What if I want to paint the lugs a different color? Do I paint all of the tubes, wait until they are dry and then mask, then paint the lugs, or is there another way?

Thanks for all of the tips, they will be a huge help!
 

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You're on the right track

Excellent advice posted! I would mask off the lug area before putting on the rest of the paint. Then untape lugs, retape frame and paint the lugs. If you want a real good finish I would lightly sand in between the primer coat and the final coats. You can go to a arts and crafts store and pick up a paint pen to go around the lugs. Do this before the final clear coat. Go lightly with the clear as the paint in the pens can run if your too heavy handed with the clear. Be sure and use a good quality masking tape (blue) and realy rub down hard on the paint edges to prevent overspray from going under the tape. I use a small plastic putty knife to get the tape to lay down. I had a frame powder coated silver then masked off the lugs and painted them in white. Came out real nice. I think someone else metioned automotive paint, you can get a paint shop to load you with a color in a can but it is kinda pricey. Let the frame dry for a week before you assemble it. Either way you go good luck and take your time. Have you considered a powder coater?
 

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Anybody ever try a frame paint job using a Wagner power sprayer?
 

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For what it's worth - if I were doing a multi color spray, with lugs a different color, I'd shoot the lugs/accent color first and let those spots dry fully, then mask them off and shoot the second color. Mask once; it's way easier.

The wagner sprayer would work, it'd look really rough though and shoot a lot of paint. Maybe you should try and spray zolotone... That'd be different. :D
 

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Thanks. Just wondering...
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I have been considering a powdercoater, but I want the lugs a different color like you mentioned you did with your bike.

When you had your frame powdercoated and then painted the lugs, after you painted the lugs did you go over the whole thing with clearcoat? Any clear coat recommendations?

I talked to some local powdercoaters today and I think I want to have them powdercoat the entire bike and then I want to mask and spray the lugs and then outline them with hobby store paint pen, pretty similar to what you did.

Do I clearcoat after that?
 

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I scuffed the area I wanted to paint with some medium grit sandpaper, wiped off with some sort of degreaser, taped off frame and shot several thin coats of Ivory white, I don't remember the brand but I remember that it wasn't Krylon. I pulled off the tape after 25 minutes and let it dry for about four days. I used a medium point paint pen to outline the lugs. The next day I taped off the lugs and used several thin coats of clear. Wait a little while and carefully pull away the tape. Go lightly with the clear and I recommend using the same brand of paint for the color and clear coat. If I can do it you can do it. Take your time and it comes out nice. Hope this helps. The clear coat is an option if you use a paint pen. The beauty of using a paint pen is that if you screw up while you're outlining your lugs you can use any of the following to take it off and start over: mineral spirits (lightly, apply to rag, never directly to frame), carnuba wax or Brasso. Once I clean off the boo-boos I wipe the area with Windex, dry with clean cloth and start over. Hope this helps. Very easy to do, just take your time, it ill be worth it. Another option is to give Spectrum Powder coaters a call. They do some pretty cool stuff with powder coat. Don't know about their prices but I know that Brent Steelman of Steelman Cycles uses them.
I recently did my buddie's Nervex lugs with a red paint pen. It's a Paramount done in a nice white gloss with red decals. The paint pen really brought out the lugs. He was happy and I think it came out well. A little extra work goes a long way. Good luck and hope this helps.
 

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Less important than everyone else's advice, but still true....

Bear in mind that a coat of primer will not provide any protection against rust/corrosion. Get the regular paint on as soon as the primer manufacturer's directions allow. Found this out the hard way once when I was younger. (I took a break of a few weeks duration between priming and painting a frame. Don't ask....)
 

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bicyclerepairman said:
Bear in mind that a coat of primer will not provide any protection against rust/corrosion. Get the regular paint on as soon as the primer manufacturer's directions allow. Found this out the hard way once when I was younger.
It's my understanding that Rustoleum primer, or other primers with rust inihibitors, will provide some protection. Does anyone know if that is true? Thanks.
 

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Yes, that is true.

fbagatelleblack said:
It's my understanding that Rustoleum primer, or other primers with rust inihibitors, will provide some protection. Does anyone know if that is true? Thanks.
In my earlier post I was referrring to 'garden variety' primers, whose purpose is to create a better bond between the paint and the metal......
 

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Here's another little trick that works well for me. As has been mentioned already, get two or three cans of color, with fanspray nozzles if possible -- they put out a vastly superior spray pattern. Next, get a couple buckets or other containers and fill them with water as hot as you can stand to stick your hand in, and drop one of the cans in for five minutes or so. The heat brings up the pressure inside the can and they spray a lot better. Just before you take the first can out of the bucket, fill the other and drop in the second can. That way when the first can cools down you can switch to the warm one and drop the first one back in hot water, switching back and forth as you work.
 

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mswantak said:
Here's another little trick that works well for me. As has been mentioned already, get two or three cans of color, with fanspray nozzles if possible -- they put out a vastly superior spray pattern. Next, get a couple buckets or other containers and fill them with water as hot as you can stand to stick your hand in, and drop one of the cans in for five minutes or so. The heat brings up the pressure inside the can and they spray a lot better. Just before you take the first can out of the bucket, fill the other and drop in the second can. That way when the first can cools down you can switch to the warm one and drop the first one back in hot water, switching back and forth as you work.
Good tip - warm cars - used to do that when painting model cars as a kid.
 

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Well,
There really isn't much to add here, but I'll put my $.02 in anyway.
First off, there are two schools of thought. #1 being that if the paint on the bike isn't bad, and you just want to change the color, then sand down with some 400 grit, and spray over the old paint/primer...As the primer is most likely better than anything that you can get out of a can. #2 is to sand it down all the way to the metal, and do the best that you can do, with what you have. I opted for #2, as I didn't want buildup in the lugs, and some spots were scratched though the primer anyway.
Get a brass wire wheel and a scotchbrite wheel for your drill. It should only take you half an hour or so to completely strip the bike down. I have never had much success with paint strippers, and they're pretty nasty anyway. Of course, be careful of inhailing the dust, etc.
When you prime, be sure to lay down some etching primer first. I found it best to lay down a thin coat, thin coat, then a heavy coat, and let it dry. Then sand smooth with 400 grit. From there, I sprayed two coats of sanding/filling primer, and sanded that smooth. Finally, once you are happy with the smoothness of everything, spray on a coat of primer sealer. This allows you to spray the color in even coats, without it bleeding into the primer.
On my bike, I chose to paint the lugs, bottom portion of the fork legs, and the last couple of inches of the back end and rear dropouts cream white. I found it best to paint these areas first, witout masking. Reason being is that you will have the rounded edge of the lug the proper color, and you will not risk this area being uneven. I gave these areas 3 coats of paint.
After allowing this to dry over night (VERY IMPORTANT), I got some masking tape, and masked off these areas. As a tip, wrap the tape around your jeans or soemthing first to remove some of the adheasive. It will still stick properly to the paint, but won't risk pealing the still soft paint off of your lugs. When trimming out the lugs, place the blade on the inner edge of the lug body, where it meets the tube. This will let you completely cover the facing edge of the lug. Once I cut everything, I went back with my finder and pressed the tape into place.
I then shot the body tubes in Metallic British Racing Green. Duplicolor metallic paint is wonderful stuff - NOTHING like how metallic spraypaints used to be. I put 5 coats on, as you have to be careful about getting complete color/flake evenly throughout the tube. As soon as you are done shooting, remove the masking tape off of the lugs. This will prevent a big ridge between the two colors.
Now let the bike sit for 2-3 days. Then go over it with 1000 grit wet sand paper, then 1500, then 2000. Be sure to use soapy water, and rinse it well. Let the bike dry over night, then wipe it down again, as there will be places that dried and left residue.
I then shot 3 coats of clear over everything. Shooting clear is a &^&@#^&. You have to put it on light enough not to cause drips, but heavy enough not to get crazy orange peel...But as far as that goes, wetsanding will cure that. Let the clear dry for 3-4 days, then wetsand it with 2000. Again, dry overnight, wipe down again, and then shoot 3 more coats of clear. This time, it MUST dry for a week or more. Then, for the last time, wetsand with 2000. Then purchase some 3M medium cut compound and buff. Then get some 3M Finesse It. THIS is where the magic happens. When you start with this stuff, it is a medium cut compound. But as you rub it in, it turns into a finer and finer cut compound. Just be careful not to burn your paint. At this point, you will be in shock at how well spraypaint can look as far as color, depth, etc. Give it another couple of weeks, then finish it off with your favorite wax.
Hell of a process, but I assure you the results will be worth the while. The only unfortunate issue is that no matter what, spray paint simply is not as durable as 'real' paint....So you must be VERY careful about scratches, etc. But a good coat of wax once a month helps out a lot.

Good Luck.
 

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One thing I forgot to mention. Do all of your lug outlines after the color wetsand. This will let the paint go on smoother and stick better...Plus you don't want to wetsand the line anyway, as its one thin coat.
 
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