Monday 17 October 2011


So after a day to let the colour coats set up nice and hard, I added the decals, masked the stainless bits again (taking care not to mask all the way to the edge of the lug - the clear on the edges gets removed with a scalpel when I unmask after clearing), then set the frame up in the booth again for clearcoating.

This is the frame after the initial two coats. I put on a really light misting coat first, then wait about 10 minutes for it to start to set up, then put on a full-gloss coat. Reducing with about 20% reducer ensures that I get a gloss coat without excessive buildup - it also makes the paint flow nicely with my 0.5mm nozzle airbrush, which is really a little small for this task - I resemble a whirling dervish when putting the gloss coats on.

I then left it to sit for a couple of hours, mixed up more clear (same 20% reducer) and did another two coats. In this case the first coat was almost glossing, then a wait of 10 minutes, then a full gloss second coat. By doing it like this I get gloss faster on the second coat, so there's much less chance of overspray dulling the finish.

Here's some detail of the masking - note I only mask up to a millimetre or two from the lug edge. A quick wipe with the scalpel once the paint has set up and I've removed the masking gives me a much better lug line than I could get with the masking tape alone. An exception is the top of the seat stays. I masked right up to the colour coat edge here as the geometry of the lug doesn't guide my scalpel.

Here's our hero, courtesy of the decal printing services of Cyclomondo. No, I don't make my own decals any more.

The little fish downtube logo, in a nice white and red. Red and Blue goes together terribly well.

The Columbus Spirit decal. I like Spirit for lugs. It's really nice tubing to work with. I think I'll default to this stuff in future unless there's a compelling reason to choose something different.

If you look closely at the rear brake cable port, you can see how the lug definition is maintained. This is after twelve coats of paint; 1 primer, three base coat, 4 colour coats, and 4 clear coats. The trick is to make each coat super thin.

The fork.

And finally the stem, taken outside to show how it looks in sunlight, rather than the fluorescent light of my booth.

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