The Bike Respray Guide: Part Two
Following on from our first post about re-spraying your bike…
After an overnight drying period, your primer coat should have cured nicely; if you have detected any minor issues, such as a stray hair here or an uneven finish there, use a high grit sandpaper such as 1000 or above to remove the imperfections and give the surface a final LIGHT coat of primer. Yesterday’s three coats should be sufficient to start the painting process though!
The Painting Method
The first coat: similar to the priming process, make your first coat a light dusting. Don’t try and jump the gun by trying to cover the whole area; gradual lighter coats are far superior to a heavy drenching. Leave the paint to settle for ten minutes before moving on.
The second coat: this coat is a heavier coat but you’re really trying to even up the first by covering up the majority of the unpainted areas. Keep you can a good distance from the surface and don’t put too much on. If you do get any unsightly drips, wait for the area to dry and sand the droplets off before repeating the process. Let the paint dry off for another ten minutes before moving on.
The final coat: usually, the third coat will be your final one although it doesn’t have to be. If you feel like applying more coats, go for it but with good quality paint, three should be more than enough. Again, take care to avoid any drips!
Ideally, you’ll want to leave your frame hanging where it is and drying for at least eight hours. Make sure that your spraying area remains at room temperature for the drying period otherwise you could end up with a sticky mess (in hot conditions) or a coat that will never dry (in cold). The longer that you can leave your paint coat to cure, the better it will be.
Professional and experienced sprayers know the nature of their paints and conditions and can easily judge the right time to move on and this process can vary between a few hours and another whole day. For a beginner, it’s best to play it safe and wait as long as possible before tackling the next phase of the job.
The Clear Coat
Many amateur spray jobs suffer because of their poor clear coat (or lack of!) so it’s an incredibly important step. Clear coats can help protect your paintwork and on a bike, you can guarantee that your paintwork will take a beating. When your paint is dry, begin with a light dusting of clear coat like with the priming and painting stages. With the clear coat, it’s worth waiting a long time between applying the next layer, around an hour each time.
With each coat, apply a heavier dose each time; you don’t want to throw it on though, work slowly but graduate to a heavier application for each layer. As your clear coat is going to protect everything, you want it to be as thick as possible, so aim for up to six coats or more. It’s laborious and unfortunately, it doesn’t give that feeling of satisfaction with each coat but stick with it because it’s incredibly important!
Many professionals like to sand back their efforts between each coat; that’s not a bad idea but if you’ve invested in good paint, it’s not necessary for your home spray session. So, as soon as your clear coat has fully cured (upwards of 12 hours for best results) begin to sand it back with the finest paper that you can find, between 1000 at worst to 2000 at best. This sanding session will remove any imperfections in the finish, including dust, finger prints, hair and the like.
The Finished Article
After a good sanding, all that you need to do is reassemble your bike and marvel at your creation. It’s amazing to see how good a finish can be achieved with basic tools and a bit of patience. In fact, you may have added a little value to your bike or at least given it a bit more street cred that it had before. All that’s left to do is ride it and think about the colour scheme of your next bike re-spray!
- Always follow the instructions on the back of your paint can. When it says to clean the nozzle after spray – do it. You don’t want a clogged nozzle to ruin your finish!
- Always spray in a well-ventilated area with a mask on. Spray paint is pretty horrible stuff to breathe in and you don’t want any of it to get in your lungs!
- Preparation and patience are the key ingredients to a good spray job. Invest your time in preparing a dust free environment to spray in and whatever you do – don’t rush the job!
- Don’t try and accelerate the drying process. It’ll only undo all of your hard work!