With spring approaching, I have finally been able to start work on a project worth writing about.
My ultimate goal is to paint my old Sears and Roebuck Free Spirit road bike into something more attractive then the cool gray and brown that currently graces the frame. I picked the bike up for $12.50 at an estate auction a few years ago, and from the research I did it seems I may have over paid. From what I can gather, Sears and Roebuck brand bicycles from the 70′s are a bit like the department store bikes of today, mass produced for cost, not quality. But seeing that I have no major issues with the bike, and I like to style of the single disk brake on the rear wheel, I think I will hold on to it for a while.
As this is my first attempt at painting a bike frame, and I would like to make it look as little like I did it in my garage as possible, I decided to try the process out on an even less expensive frame. Enter the $5 Next BMX style bike. Actually, the $5 cost is inaccurate as this bike came as part of a large pile of cheap BMX style parts which would roughly equate to three bikes if assembled properly, all for $5.
After much deliberation and research, I finalized a process to begin experimenting with. The results follow:
My first attempt at removing the existing paint was simple wet sanding with a course grit sand paper and a water hose. The process was effective, but time consuming and tedious, and the amount of water introduced to the recently exposed steel frame caused instant rust to form on the surface of the frame. There had to be better methods.
With more research, and a trip to the local hardware store I began a different paint removal method.
The paint stripper work exceptionally well, the primary reason I had not jumped to this method first is out of fear that I would not be able to remove all the stripper from the frame and any hidden residue or stripper within the frame would have adverse affects on the final paint job.
After rinsing the frame from the first application of stripper…
…it was clearly apparent there were more layers of paint then I had originally anticipated. It appears the original factory applied coat was red, followed by a silver coat, then two rather amateur coats of black and red. I needed another application of paint stripper.
After one additional application of stripper, and some meticulous hand sanding with course grit paper and a detail wire brush, the frame was finally rid of all remnants of color.
The next steps will be to assemble a spray booth in the garage, hang the frame, thoroughly clean with adhesive remover, mask off head tube and crank housing, clean again, prime, paint, clear coat, reassemble.
Due to spring rains, cold weather, and a late April snow storm, none of which is conducive to painting, it is unlikely I will be able to complete this frame within the week, but who knows its upstate New York!