Repairing badly scratched steel

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by Tonto, Aug 30, 2008.

  1. Tonto

    Tonto New Member

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    Hi,
    I have a steel frame, only about 18 months old. It's a custom-built Dedacciai 16.5 EOM tubeset painted in black gloss at the Wilier factory in Italy.
    I got a couple of small, deep scratches on it at the weekend while transporting it in my car. Something sharp and metal seems to have dug right into the paint work and dug a couple of small but deep gouges into the paintwork, right down to the tube metal. The scratches are about half a centimetre in diameter on the top of the top tube.
    I'd like to repair them as quickly as possible as I frequently ride in the rain and I'm concerned about rust and corrosion. None of the bike shops around here have a clue what to do with a steel frame like this and I don't really trust them. I had the frame shipped from Italy to Ireland so going back to the people I bought it from isn't an option. I'd prefer to rely on myself to fix it. Does anyone have any tips for repairing this sort of damage? First priority is protecting the frame and preventing corrosion and further flaking of the paint. Second priority is cosmetics. The damage is small, but annoying to me.

    All I can think of is car touch-up paint but I'm not sure if it would bond properly with steel. Any other ideas?

    Many thanks
    Tonto
     
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  2. gemship

    gemship New Member

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    You have the right idea, the car touch up paint will work fine. Just do the best you can to find a match. It is possible to go to a auto body shop and have them blend a color match but definitely not an easy task to get it perfect if at all but close. Use a model type fine paint brush. if you really take the time providing you have the right match you should be able to fill in the chips with successive layers, adding a layer as each one dries. If the color match is real close you may be able to wet sand/buff beyond the chip roughly 50% beyond its actual size and blend the touch up paint with the rest of the surface but this takes experience, patience. Chips and scratches are annoying and unsightly but these things happen. The number one priority of paint is to protect the metal. Form follows function as they say so my advice is to just get the best color match with the touch up and maybe ask around later on at body shops, maybe you'll find a cool person in the trade that can do just exactly what it takes to blend all in right. Or if you feel confidant try to do it yourself. You may also try googling scratch/chip repair and get a handle on how the pros go at it. I had this problem typically with the chainstays on my Raliegh and luckily found a very close match but the Raliegh site expressly states there are no available touch up paints thru them and best of luck at the hobby shop. yeah hobby paints work to. Some like to use nail polish, I've tried that with no success. Good Luck.
     
  3. p38lightning

    p38lightning New Member

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    I'd like to offer some encouragement. I have a black framed bike and black can be touched up well, much less noticeably than say blue or red metalics.
     
  4. kdelong

    kdelong Well-Known Member

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    Gemship has put you on the right track, but after you feather the edges of the chipped area, you will want to lay down a couple of thin coats of primer to really protect the metal. For black paint you should try to get some of the black primer. When you apply the primer, you will need to run it partway up the feathered edges, but do not get it all the way up or you will have coverage issues with the paint. When you apply the paint, use thin coats until you have built it up almost even with the existing paint. You will want to lightly sand each coat except for the last coat with extremely fine sandpaper. The last coat should be finished with a good quality rubbing compound and rubbed out to match the existing paint job. To finish the job, apply thin coats of a good quality clear coat, rubbing each coat with rubbing compund, until it is even with the level of the existing paint. Of course you know not to use the sand paper or rubbing compound until after each coat has dried. You can use the bike after you have applied the primer, but if you do, you will need to clean and lightly resand the primer prior to appling any paint. Or you can just not sand the last coat of primer until you get ready to apply the paint.
     
  5. garage sale GT

    garage sale GT New Member

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    If the metal was gouged I think it's prudent to watch the area for cracks. They can start and develop long after the damage.

    I am sure you will be obsessive about cleanliness/degreasing and test your paint to make sure it doesn't make your existing paint bubble up.
     
  6. Tonto

    Tonto New Member

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    Hi,
    Thanks to you all for the encouragement and detailed advice. I'll be going shopping at the weekend for the bits and pieces I'll need and then I'll start work. I'll keep you posted. Thanks again.

    Tonto.
     
  7. Tonto

    Tonto New Member

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    Hi,
    I just wanted to follow up on this thread I started to let you know how it worked out.
    I followed the instructions posted in this thread pretty much to the letter and I'm very glad to say it went very well.
    I sanded down the two damaged areas, with ultra-fine sanding paper and then applied the primer with a modelling brush, taking care to overlap onto the feathered areas. I then applied a couple of coats of gloss black auto touch-up paint with the brush, sanding and cleaning between each coat. I then took masking tape and aluminium foil and covered the entire bike exposing only the damaged areas, and sprayed on a couple more coats. I then applied a couple of coats of clear coat lacquer. The repaired areas came out very well but I had applied a coat or two too many. I sanded them down a bit, but was conscious of sanding more and more of the previously undamaged paintwork. I finished off with a high quality rubbing compound which brought up the shine even on the areas I had sanded.

    So, it worked out well, although with experience, I would have taken more care not to over-apply the coats and end up with those slightly raised areas.

    Thanks again for your help.

    All the best.
     
  8. gemship

    gemship New Member

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    glad to hear it. definitely a job that requires patience.
     
  9. kdelong

    kdelong Well-Known Member

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    Glad we could help. Maybe you can return the favor someday! Everyone knows something that can help someone else.
     
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