stripping a bike frame

Monday

i've been super super busy lately. looking for apartments, lots of intense cleaning and painting to help fix up my parents' house so that they can sell it, and as always, that hour-long work commute. i'm planning on moving back to philadelphia by may so i'm just keeping my fingers crossed that everything will fall into place by then. but, i did get cut from work a few hours early today, which bought me a little unexpected free time. so i stripped my bike frame.

i've been planning on taking my bike apart and giving it a good clean and a fresh coat of paint before i move back for a while now. since i literally couldn't get anywhere in rural ohio on a bicycle anyway, it'll give me enough time to let the paint really dry properly. and now that it's starting to get nice out (sort of) it's warm enough to do the work outside. you can't really see my old paint from the pictures, but it was a matte black covered in burning witch and khanate stickers. and it was named nergel.
stripping a bike frame really isn't that difficult, and it takes only a couple of hours to do. you need a can of paint stripper, some thick gloves, and a few wire brushes in different sizes (i use an old toothbrush to get into the really small spaces like dropouts). i think it's easiest to use the paint stripper that comes in an aerosol can - the foam sprays on and you just let it sit for 15 minutes before brushing it off. just make sure not to set up downwind so that you get paint stripper all over yourself. in fact - wear an old long sleeved shirt because paint stripper stings even if you get a little bit on your arms.

first, take your bike apart. generally if you have even the most basic bike tools (hex keys, wrench) you can get off almost everything (wheels, saddle, handlebars, brakes). if you don't have the tools or don't know how to take off your crank and bottom bracket, take it to a bike shop and ask nicely. it only takes a few minutes so they probably won't even charge you (so make sure to stock up on tubes or buy something as a thank-you for their time).
my brother came out to help. it was much appreciated.
set up your frame, spray, and let the stripper sit for 15-20 minutes. then start scrubbing at it with the wire brush. the paint will come off pretty easily, but pay close attention to corners and tight spaces. i sprayed, sat, and scrubbed three times before being satisfied. be thorough, but don't worry if your frame isn't completely smooth - that's what sanding is for.

it took about two hours altogether from start to finish. i'm probably going to start sanding later this week. i've got a lot of ideas on how i'd like to paint it. i bought some inkjet vinyl sheets to make stencils should i decide to do an all-over pattern. decisions, decisions!

3 comments:

  1. I did finish stripping it - instead of sanding it down by hand I was able to find access to a sandblaster to clean off the rest of the frame.

    I was also able to get it powder-coated so the paint looks nice, but unfortunately it wasn't the color I wanted :/

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