I finally got decent weather for painting this Sunday, low humidity and temperatures in the low 70’s. I had prepared the frame, sub-frame and swing arm for painting over the past two weeks during the evenings after work. I used body putty to fill in where the paint was chipped from stones and where acid from the battery had removed the paint when the bike tipped over. (Would anyone who owns a bike for 35 years and never had it tip over, please raise their hand? Hmm, is that a hand up way in the back? 🙂 ).
It was hard to sand the putty on the tubes since they are round. I found using 400 grit paper and just curling it around the tubes and using light pressure worked. I had to apply the body putty several times to fill in low spots and holes so this took a couple of nights to get the frame and swing arm prepared. Since I stripped the subframe down to the primer, it was ready to go.
I built a paint booth in the garage. I used several plastic drop cloths and stapled them to the joists to create an enclosure around the frame with enough room to paint the swing arm and subframe as well. I taped the seams between the drop cloths in several places to help seal them. I didn’t tape one seam so I could get into the booth. I used clothes pins and rolled the edges of the two plastic drop clothes together and fastened them from the inside with the clothes pins to seal the entry.
I removed the cars and the other bikes before I painted as spray paint sends small droplets of paint everywhere even though I was painting inside an enclosure.
Prior to painting, I used windex and paper towels to clean all the surfaces and remove any dirt or oil traces. I wore nitril gloves to keep finger print oil off the surfaces. Then, I wrapped all the surfaces on the bike that I wasn’t going to paint with newspaper. Finally, I covered the floor with newspaper as well.
Sunday, I taped off the bearings and covered the ends of the rear drive in the swing arm with newspaper and hung them from the rafters. I used wire for the swing arm since its heavy and string for the subframe. I had left enough room inside to hang those behind the bike and could walk around the front and back end of the bike to get to all the parts.
I used a hat, mask, nitrile goves and a long sleeve shirt when painting. It gets all over you, so covering up is a good idea. I also recommend wearing safety glasses to keep the paint out of your eyes. I opened the back door and cracked open the garage door to get some air circulation to remove the fumes, but not enough to have to worry about dirt and dust getting on the parts. I painted each part with about 4 coats of gloss black enamel paint available at my local auto parts store. I painted 2 coats in the first pass and let that dry for about an hour. I filled a small butter tub with Laquer thinner so I could clean the spay head in between uses to eliminate paint globs.
As I painted, I found the newspaper got very sticky and I was pulling it up when I walked on it. Perhaps, using some wax paper on the bottom of my shoes fastened with duck tape might have prevented that. I’ll have to try that next time when I prime the tank and fenders.
I inspected everything using a drop light after the first two coats and was amazed to see a half dozen places that didn’t get covered well. When painting black paint on top of black paint, its hard to see where the coverage is thin, and it’s especially hard to see when painting tubing. I painted the final two coats starting with the areas that were thin from the first two coats. I kept the final 2 coats light but made sure they wet all the painted surfaces.
Despite covering up, I got paint on my cheeks and forehead, so taking a shower right after you finish painting is a good idea as the enamel takes several hours to really dry and a shower seemed to remove most of it from my skin and beard.
Here’s a picture of the mask I wore after I finished painting. This is a pretty graphic demonstration of why you don’t want to paint without a mask. Most of that would have ended up in my lungs. I suspect that’s equal to a month or two of a 2 pack a day smoking habit 🙂
I’m letting everything dry for two days before touching them. Enamel takes awhile to harden, so its good to be patient and avoid touching the parts so you don’t get finger prints in the paint.