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How to get a proper finish when undergoing a paint job yourself.
When you pay a professional sprayer to do a job on your bike, it can be very costly, but this is down to the process and the paints used… painting is not simply grab a can of your basic chavs favourite graffiti sprayer and spray away!

A professional uses a paint that contains Isocyanates and if you don’t have a spray area that is filtered and controlled ( no keeping the shed door does not count as filtered and controlled) then you will kill yourself and most probably your next door neighbour in the process J

So let me run you through getting a good result you can do in the garden shed without dying.

Cleaning- remove any bolts fastners filler caps rubber grommets and anything else not to be resprayed. Then give the whole thing a good clean, I tend to use a little fairy liquid and a touch of swarfega to remove the oil and grime.
Once this is done, give the whole piece a good looking over for any imperfections. Even the smallest of marks will affect the finished result. The tiniest chip will need a lot of work to remove to get the even finish you get from a professional painter, the sharp edges of the mark will certinally show up in the paint. So first we need to begin sanding this down until we are left with a good even smooth graduation,
Personally before painting metals ie, tank etc I prefer to remove all paint from the tank straight down to bare metal to start a fresh… a paint stripper such as nitro morse will see the paint gone. However this can not be used on plastics as you will almost certinally melt the whole thing!!!
So we start with a 80 or near to grit paper and begin sanding down the affected area and then a finer grain such as a 600 however using any paper finer than 80 grit will need water as the paper will clog as you are sanding… a water spray gun is a good tool to keep the thing wet J
Once the affected areas are removed and you are happy with the results, any decals will need removing you can peel these off but they will leave behind that pesky sticky residue! A heatgun sometimes will remove the decals and the sticky mess together but if it doesn’t a spraying of wd-40 and a cloth should see it gone… or a small amount of petrol on a cloth will remove it, and no smoking around it either!
Using a fine wet and dry sandpaper I then sand the whole thing down to rough it up so the primer has something to stick to.

Next we need to mask off any areas you don’t want painting, so using masking tape and masking paper ( don’t use newspaper as this will get soggy and leave last weeks news on the item you are spraying!!! L )
Then give everything a wipe down with a solvent to remove your greasy prints, dust specs etc

Priming- it is vitually impossible to remove all the dust so first we need to put down a very thin coat that will quickly dry over the particles…. Using a rattle can make sure you shake well … and then shake some more. It is important the paint is mixed properly… this is what the rattle in the can is.. small ballbearings aiding in the mixing ( and you thought it was just for fun while you shake? J )
This first thin coat will prevent the paint producing fish eyes in the paint- this is when wet paint hits a dust particle and creates an ugly effect like small holes all over. Keeping the can a distance away fronm the piece you are spraying spray an even coat moving from left to right ( don’t just spray all over as you will end up with a piss poor finish) allow this coat to dry for 10 minutes and then apply another coat in the same way but this time go from top to bottom across the piece then leave to dry another 10 minutes and apply again going from left to right … 10 mins to dry… same again top to bottom and repeat till you have a good even coverage of the whole piece. Once you are happy with the coverage, leave it to dry.. preferably overnight to dry properly.

Clean it all again
Once again thoroughly wash and dry everything, then using a sticky tack cloth ( available from any decent paint supplier) remove any specks of dust and other bits of crap.

Is done pretty much the same way we layered down the primer till we get that nice even smooth coverage. Though you may want to add details like striping, once the paint has had a good dry overnight…. The paint will need somewhere warm whilst drying to harden properly! We can then begin masking out the stripe or design making sure the paint isn’t going to get anywhere its not needed, and then applying again similar to the first coats of paint nice and even till we get the smooth finish we are looking for and then leaving to dry once more.

LAQUER- now were getting to the hard part, if you thought the above was hard….. that was a walk in the park compared to this…. Not enough youll get a rough finish…… too much and it will run L

Apply a light coat and allow this to harden overnight! The quality of the final outcome relies 80% on the laquer and we can expect to be doing a good 10 coats or so.
Once this first coat has been given the chance to harden… using a 600 grit paper and water, sand away any imperfections taking extra care not to go through the laquer, then once this is done lightly sand the whole piece ensuring there are no shiny parts. At this stage you can also add any decals to be added.
Now begin lauyering the laquer much the same as the paint but with extra care as too little will give the rough finnish and too much and the laquer will begin to run! …. It’s a tricky thing to work with laquer!
Get the layers just right and the laquer swims and levels itself off to a good finish

After you’ve left the laquer to dry your wotk will look done but there is still a touch more to do till you can relax J

Now with a 2000 grit paper and lots of water …. Keeping the paper flat and move in fast circular motions over the whole piece…. If you feel any grittiness bin the paper ….. it should feel like your polishing with a duster … kinda!
Make sure you use plenty of water as it takes a good couple of weeks for the laquer to harden properly and it is the water that will prevent any damage.

FINAL polish! :-
Using 3M perfect-it III cutting compound or similar ( like T-cut only coarser) and a polishing disc take a huge amount of care not to press too hard as the laquer is still soft and if you press too had it can mean having to start right over again! So don’t press to hard and keep moving around or you will begin to melt the laquer …. The end result will be a showroom glass like finish …….

Now you can slap back on your rubber grommets, fastners petrol caps and any other parts and fasten to the bike!!

Last step….. take out the camera and post us a pic to show off your hard work J

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