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Polished Raw Steel Frame - Any Experiences?

Old 06-06-21, 05:27 PM
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Nuovo Record
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Polished Raw Steel Frame - Any Experiences?

Hi there,

I am thinking of stripping a steel frame of the paint, polishing it and clear-coating it.
Has anyone done this already? How did it turn out? Can you see any differences in the metal around the lugs where the steel got heated during the brazing?
Thank you!

Cheers
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Old 06-06-21, 07:18 PM
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Though I have never done this, I have seen pictures. Those pictures did little to impress me. That said, go for it and show us what results you get. Who knows, it might look good.

As for brazed joints. It is likely that the brass will be visible.
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Old 06-06-21, 07:23 PM
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It’ll look ok for a year or so and then moisture will get under the clear and create rust “spiders” all over the frame. It WILL happen.
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Old 06-07-21, 05:52 AM
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As @busdriver1959 notes, clear coat is not effective at preventing rust. For that, you need a primer coat.

At Trek, we would clear coat bare steel frames as display items for bike shows. It was only a matter of time before rust would appear. And this was using high-quality preparation and baked Imron® clear coat, not a rattle-can job.
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Old 06-07-21, 06:23 AM
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I have seen somewhere that the owner used only an application of oil about once a month. I would guess that if you had a nice dry place to store the bike, never rode in the rain and was diligent about keeping the bike cleaned and oiled, that might be a good way to go. This is because you always have access to the steel surface to sand or Scotchbright it if and when needed. Wax might also work.

I used to oil the surfaces of the ground surfaces of thing like bandsaw tables and table saw tables. I now use wax.
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Old 06-07-21, 08:19 AM
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Something else you might try is Blueing followed with surface oil. Have had good results on Chrome Vanadium knife blades, I'll see if I can find a picture. Don
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Old 06-07-21, 08:21 AM
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Originally Posted by busdriver1959 View Post
It’ll look ok for a year or so and then moisture will get under the clear and create rust “spiders” all over the frame. It WILL happen.
That was my experience. Exactly.

Dean
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Old 06-07-21, 08:38 AM
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I have a couple of frames that are stripped and just apply WD-40 as needed. This question comes up at least once a year if not more. Google search is your friend.
1983 Trek 610 60 cm (24&quot on Flickr
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Old 06-07-21, 08:49 AM
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Originally Posted by ollo_ollo View Post
Something else you might try is Blueing followed with surface oil. Have had good results on Chrome Vanadium knife blades, I'll see if I can find a picture. Don
This is what I have seen done. The blueing is a cool effect too and I think provides a bit of protection. I have seen people clear coat over the blueing later (seems) like it may have issues with adherence but it came out well. That said I haven't heard of any long term lasting of any sort.
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Old 06-07-21, 08:50 AM
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I wonder if Sharkhide metal protestant would work.

https://sharkhidestore.com/products/...num-protectant
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Old 06-07-21, 12:36 PM
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"Providing protection against stains, oxidation, acid-rain, weathering, salt spray, and pitting. The results are amazing, apply a couple good coats and enjoy years of protection, along with ease of cleanup. This product is the cleaning secret you've been waiting to find."

Sounds good. Have you tried it?
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Old 06-07-21, 01:19 PM
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Originally Posted by SJX426 View Post
I have a couple of frames that are stripped and just apply WD-40 as needed. This question comes up at least once a year if not more. Google search is your friend.
1983 Trek 610 60 cm (24&quot on Flickr
This looks awesome. Nice work. Did you add the downtube cable stops?
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Old 06-07-21, 01:34 PM
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This is what a couple coats of Krylon matte clearcoat over bare metal looks like after 3+ years:



I do an okay job cleaning the bike up after each ride, but small rust blooms still appear here and there, mainly around the BB shell from sweat. Nothing major, and for me it adds a little something, almost like managed patina - nothing to worry about here.

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Old 06-07-21, 01:46 PM
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There is also clear powder coat.

I think for powder coating, some kind of media blasting is preferred to hand sanding. So, one would get the grey media blasting effect rather than the brushed sanding effect.
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Old 06-07-21, 02:56 PM
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Clear powder coat sounds good, too. Is that as good as the regular powder coats, in regard to corrosion?

(P. S.: Can that ever be removed again...?)
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Old 06-07-21, 03:20 PM
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Id like to try parkerizing some time. Need some big metal tanks though.
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Old 06-07-21, 03:58 PM
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Originally Posted by tricky View Post
This looks awesome. Nice work. Did you add the downtube cable stops?
No. I found a local guy who builds his own frames he added them, the rack bosses and the eyelet's that were drewed off.
044_PaTrek STI Cable Stop_02w on Flickr
027_Greg Taylor Brazing_closeup on Flickr
034_PaTrek Rack Boss_01 on Flickr
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Old 06-07-21, 10:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Nuovo Record View Post
Clear powder coat sounds good, too. Is that as good as the regular powder coats, in regard to corrosion?
It's porous, so rust usually forms underneath it. I say usually because there are a few examples that have stayed fairly rust free.

Originally Posted by Nuovo Record View Post
(P. S.: Can that ever be removed again...?)
Yes, powder coat can be removed.
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Old 06-08-21, 03:16 AM
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I clearcoated the polished raw steel fork on my Meteor, but i eventually did remove it to replace it with a actually chromed fork. Fork was stripped with paint stripper, rest was polished up to 600 grit with sandpaper and then with a polishing wheel on a angle grinder and green compound. Clear was your run of the mill rattlecan stuff from the auto shop. It looked pretty good in the sun and chromy, but was dark and greyish without light.


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Old 06-08-21, 06:26 AM
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Clear Coating Bare Steel Frames

Paint hides a multitude of sins!

Removing the original paint on a production frame or even a respray can reveal a lot of surprises! All the worts become visable...

Most of the lugs used before the mid 70's were really low quality made from stamped sheet metal or drawn tubing with ugly welded seams.



Gaps in the braze along the shorelines of the lugs are usually not visible until the brazing flux is removed. The easy fix is to fill the gaps with auto body spotting paste. Same thing with scratches and dings in the tubes.

The best candidates for good looking clear coated frames are purpose built from scratch with flawless brazing and lugwork.

I've seen frames like that from Albert Eisentraut, Ed Litton, Bruce Gordon, Peter Johnson and other artisanal builders to show off the quality of their workmanship.

Back when bikes were made by blacksmiths, most were painted black! It doesn't show the dirt or flaws...
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Old 06-08-21, 07:02 AM
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I'm not sure this helps, but in my experience, steel with a fully polished surface has a sort of "mechanical" rust resistance. Unfortunately a polished surface is not great for coating adhesion, so that might not be a good idea under a clearcoat. I've been meaning to try wax over a phosphoric acid metal treatment on a couple bikes that get left at the beach all summer.
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Old 06-08-21, 07:09 AM
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Additional reading:

https://www.bikeforums.net/classic-v...lear-coat.html
https://www.bikeforums.net/classic-v...uirements.html
https://www.bikeforums.net/classic-v...are-steel.html
https://www.bikeforums.net/classic-v...teel-trek.html
https://www.bikeforums.net/classic-v...-rust-day.html
https://www.bikeforums.net/classic-v...teel-fork.html
https://www.bikeforums.net/framebuil...are-steel.html
https://www.bikeforums.net/framebuil...are-metal.html
https://www.bikeforums.net/bicycle-m...ranks-etc.html
https://www.bikeforums.net/bicycle-m...al-polish.html

We might need a subforum for this.

-Kurt
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Old 06-12-21, 02:39 PM
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After reading some of the old posts, I am feeling that my "raw steel frame" project is becoming history.
Well, thanks to everybody who contributed!
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Old 06-12-21, 06:58 PM
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I went to an auto museum today. There was a car painted in a greyish, almost metallic grey that looked like raw steel. It even had some non-uniform characteristics which you'd expect in sheet steel. I had to get in really closely to detect it was paint and not bare sheet metal.

If you really want the look, find that paint.

The idea that you will oil the frame every month or two for the rest of your life is an absurd, unbelievable proposition. Even blued, the steel will start to rust as soon as you run thru your first puddle. The bluing will just make it harder to see the onset of rusting.
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Old 06-12-21, 07:22 PM
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I think if I went to all the trouble of polishing out a steel frame I would probably get it plated...


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