Grant Muller

Schwinn Prelude Bicycle Restore: Painting I

In the last post I wrapped up all of the prep work on the bike frame. It was taken apart completely, sandblasted to remove rust and sanded from top to bottom. Now it’s time for painting!

Most of the tools I got to use on this project belong to my father-in-law. In the past he has painted cars and motorcycles, so using this kind of equipment to refinish a bike is probably a lot like using a firehose to fill a bucket, but its a treat to use this high-end stuff.

The first step was to get a coat of primer on the bike. I forgot the name of the primer we used, but its a high-end steel primer that prevents rusting on cars, and requires a two chemical mix to activate it. We hung up the frame in a dedicated paint room, put on some respirators (the chemicals in the paint are REAL safe), and went to work. We used this Iwata spray gun to put both the primer and first coat of paint:

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With primer and the base coat on bike, it looked a little like this:

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As you can see most of the pitting around the top tube no longer shows:

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We pined for a few days about how to do the detail work. Since the lugs, drop outs, bottom bracket, etc were all going to be painted red,we needed a way of getting the paint on there without ruining the base coat. There are at least a half dozen ways to do it, with a brush and a lot of patience perhaps. In the end we elected to have Cary (my wife) tape off the sections we were going to paint with plain ol’ painters tape, and attack it with this small scale airbrush, also from Iwata:

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Cary is an expert paint taper, not to mention painter. She warned us about things like leakage, less-than-perfect-lines, but agreed to do it anyway. We elected to use the fork for the first test, so Cary taped the lugs and drop outs and we set to work. There is a small detail inside the lugs on the fork which Cary couldn’t get any tape into, but in a moment of last minute genius, Rick crammed a wad of clay into the detail to block paint from entering. Very nice. We mixed up a very brilliant vermillion paint mixture and hoped for the best.

After a couple hours when the paint had dried, we peeled back the tape…Behold!:

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It looked great! The little filled in spot on the lugs near the top is the clay Rick used in that divot. The system works. Cary is currently taping off the lugs on the main frame of the bike, which will take her much longer. Thanks wife.

In the next part we’ll wrap up the main paint job, hopefully apply the new decals, and slap a clear coat over the top for a nice professional shine. After that we’ll get to the fun bike stuff, recabling, recalibrating, etc.

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