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Newb with a Bullet!
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Discussion Starter #1
Greetings. See my intro in the new members section if you want more info about me and my bike.

I am going to repaint my all but new and barely broken in 1992 VN750. I am a crazy sort and always up for adventure so I want to do it myself. I do have a compressor but don't really want to buy a gun or learn how to use it so I'm just going rattlecan. Scoff if you must, I've seen good results this way. Not by a newb you say! Oh well, everyone starts out as a newb.

My first trick is this. Over the past three years I've been picking up tins on eBay and I have an entire spare set. So my plan is to paint them, then swap them out on the bike. That way if they turn out poorly, well what do you know I have another set I can start on. Back and forth until I like it, or if I want to try different paint schemes, etc. What they hey, right?

For those playing along at home I have probably $225 into my second set of tins. The fenders and side covers are easy to find and can be had cheaply if you wait. The tank is harder as you all know. You can pay $200 for a totally whipped one some days, and then a month later see a decent one squeak by for $40. I just scored a very nice one, almost no interior rust and only one small ding to bondo for about $85. I was happy with that.

I've googled and researched and there is certainly a lot of information about rattlecan paintjobs on bikes out there but it seems to me they all assume a good bit of familiarity with the process, tools, etc. I have none, so I will write mine for the next newb. I assume you know what I know- absolutely nothing. I'll also do my best to identify exactly what I am using, where I got it, and what it cost.

So for any newbs (and you vets please correct me if I am mistaken about anything) to repaint the tins we first must take the old paint OFF. That is the first step.

On the advice of another friend I decided to go with chemical stripping of the old paint. Some places on the 'net say you don't have to remove the old paint. Just scuff it up and call it primer. That doesn't seem like a good idea to me. Other methods of removing the paint- sanding, sandblasting, heat, can damage or distort the metal. I'm not looking for more problems to fix, so I am going to try the chemical method.

I say try because I have not done it yet. Was going to start but the air temp here is only 50 degrees today. The stripper can says it needs to be at least 70. If there is one thing all the info about doing this says universally it's "be patient" and "take your time on prep" so I decided NOT to begin the stripping today. But I wanted to get in motion so I took some photos and started this thread.

Stand by for all the blow by blow updates!!

Oh, color scheme. For visibility I want to paint it a light color and I think the coolest light color is pearl white. Haven't 100% identified my source for that in a rattlecan, so if anyone has a suggestion shout it out. I figure I have plenty to keep me busy with the stripping and prep while I look.

So anyway, going to paint the tank and fenders pearl white (or if not the coolest white I can find) and the side covers matte black. I am considering doing them (and other removable accent pieces- like say the neck side covers, radiator cowl, etc.) in something like truck bed liner material. For the color and the texture. Get a rugged feel in there. So over all she will be a cool white on a flat black or rugged textured black frame.


The Motley Tins!


The front fender. I am going to try this first. Wonder if those scratches will come out with the paint or will I have to fill?!


My magic bullet. Tal-Strip Aircraft coating remover. Says it's for 'aluminum and other metals'. Cost was $8 at the Advanced Auto Parts store down the street.

I will let you know how it goes when I find time to work on it on a day that is warm enough! If I am about to do something stupid just hollar. I might well ignore you as I do learn well by making mistakes, but I do promise to acknowledge you were correct after I complete my bungle!!
 

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hey man.. im glad your taking the initiative to do it yourself.... one thing ill add to your thing is and i cant stress enough a good paint job is in the prep work... the better and smother it is before you spray the better the paint is going to be.... you can check out the House of kolor paint line.... they have some awesome pearls that you can get in a spray can.... i actually sprayed my helmet with the lime time pearl ant it looked awesome.... another thing you might want to look into is dupli-color has a clear that has metal flake in it that gives a brliant burst when light hits it.... good luck and keep us updated
 

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On His Lady Vulcan
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Good luck and yes please keep us updated on your progress. That front fender looks to be just deep scratches so you shouldnt need to fill.


Peace:beerchug:
 

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yep, prep and prep, and then a little more prep. Get things fairly smooth with 400 grit paper, then start wet-sanding with 800, and work your way up. 1000, 1500, 2000. A coat of paint in between. You dont need to strip the paint all the way down to the metal as long as you scuff up the paint really well. the factory paint will adhere much better then the rattlecan. the rattlecan works just fine. I redid my tins this year in flat black and it turned out really well.
The spots you have deeper scratches maybe, but just use the 400 to feather the spots out. If you do get doewn to the paint you need to use a self-etching primer. Dupli-color makes this, they sell it at wal-mart in the auto section.
There have been a few posts on here lately about painting. check them out.
 

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warm the cans

a number of years ago (ok, like in the 70's)... i read an article in Road&Track where a guy painted his Ferrari with spray cans. he warmed them up in hot water before using them. i remember the result came out real good, he did multiple light coats.. however when he added up what all the cans cost, he could have gotten it painted by an auto body shop.

at any rate.. i think warming the cans up in warm water might be a good idea.. keeps the paint from coming out in heavy chunks.
 

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yeah I have heard about that. I know I would set my cans on the heat vents before painting. but I did that cuz they had been out in the garage. and I wanted all the materials involved to be above 60 degress
 

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Linkmeister Supreme
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You don`t want to heat the cans over 120*F. But at that temp the paint flows very smooth and even.
 

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Newb with a Bullet!
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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for the info guys! I had read about the keeping the paint warm. Best method I saw was a bucket of hot water. I have a gas grill with a side burner. Maybe I'll heat water in that and transfer it to another bucket periodically to keep the temp where we need it. Assuming it's a cold day and not already 90 degrees air temp! I would think on a hot summer day you'd be warm enough just in the air.

yep, prep and prep, and then a little more prep. Get things fairly smooth with 400 grit paper, then start wet-sanding with 800, and work your way up. 1000, 1500, 2000. A coat of paint in between.
OK, here is a good example of what I mean by confusing newbs. I am talking about the prep phase and you say to use these progressively more fine sandpapers. OK, I assume you are saying to do this before painting, and then you say a coat of paint in between... so now I guess this sanding is after each coat? So prep and primer and then 5 coats of paint, one for each step of sandpaper you described? Are the last 2 clear coats? Then the very last coat, is it sanded also? No one is ever clear about that.

Wet sanding I finally think I understand. That's something else people assume you know how to do. Is that the thing where you have one of those block/spongey sanding blocks and you dip it in a bucket of water with dishsoap in it periodically?

Also I think you are describing all hand sanding, although initially when I thought you were talking about sanding the paint down as prep work I pictured a DA (Dual Action) sander. But I think you meant manual work, right?


You dont need to strip the paint all the way down to the metal as long as you scuff up the paint really well. the factory paint will adhere much better then the rattlecan.
This is the best argument for this I have heard. I presume you mean the factory paint will adhere to the metal better than the rattlecan primer. Is that what you mean?

I might do say the half of the rear fender that goes under the seat first now with the chem stripper and just scuff the rest and see how it comes out. I believe your argument but is this another consideration:

They sell different colors of primer, and darker primers seem to be for darker finish colors. I have dark green fenders and a black tank. Both dark, but I wonder if they will contribute differently to the white paint and make them not match? Maybe it won't make that much difference. Just trying to anticipate. It helps me process what I'm being told and what it all means.


If you do get doewn to the paint you need to use a self-etching primer. Dupli-color makes this, they sell it at wal-mart in the auto section.
OK, I think I follow you. Tell me how close I am. When you say "if you get down to the paint" I presume you are talking about the prep method that involves just scuffing the factory paint. So are you saying to do that I just need to get past the factory clear coat? If so, how will I know when I'm that far? And I presume this will be done with hand sanding. Wet not necessary. Do I need to progress grits or anything or just use one? If so, which? 400?

There have been a few posts on here lately about painting. check them out.
Been reading 'em, here and elsewhere. I found them to have 80% of the needed info with the last 20% inadvertently hidden by the assumptions of the writers. I have never painted anything but walls, houses, and misc. little doo-dads. Never anything automotive.

And then of course there is the conflicting advice- you have to get to the metal, you don't have to take off the old paint, rattlecan is fine, never use a rattlecan, by a gun from Harbor Freight, etc. A guy can go insane listening to it all!

So that's why I plan to be so exhaustive and clear with this!

Also, I am in Omaha, NE. If there happen to be any members in my area who want to work on this together and do their bike as well I would be open to that. Garage buddy?
 

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No where near Omaha NE but I'm definitely doing my own paint job as a noob as well. I'm still in the information gathering stage and this thread is helping. I believe in 95% research, 5% execution. I plan on grabbing a practice fender this week and seeing what a lot of sand paper and little elbow grease can do to it. After that its rattle can base black then green flames. The flames are the part I can't wait to do. I have some artistic ability and know exactly what I want but I'm a perfectionist and refuse to let haste ruin the job.

Anyway, welcome to the forum and keep us posted. Good luck!
 

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what we meant by prep is the ammount of time you take before painting tpo make sure the whole area is smooth and silky before you decide to start spraying.. do nice even light coats until its completely covered... now some people say not to sand the color and just wait till you spray the clear but others say you should sand the color to make sure its all uniform.... now like i said if you get drips or runs just let it dry and take a razor blade to it at a 90 degree angle.... scrape lightly and then repaint the area... when you get to the clear it can be dificult to get the right covereage without getting runs.... so same applies with that too... i would suggest atleast 3 good coats of clear before you decide to start sanding.... now you can go wet or dry but when you sand what you are looking and feeling for is that all the dimples are gone and the sheen of the clear coat is completely gone.... it will look like frosted glass when done correctly.... then you get a buffer (orbital/directional) and start with a larger cutting compound... wipe off and go to a smaller cutting compound..... wipe and then to a polishing compound.. once it is to your liking you can goahead and throw some wax on it.... again feel free to ask questions and dont be afraid to use youtube... thats where i got most of my info from... and if your like me and learn faster by seeing its alot better
 

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Yeah I don't have time to go back through my post and yours right now to answer or clarify on things. But I will when I have the time. Trying to post right now with boss peeking over shoulder.
 

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Linkmeister Supreme
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You mention in the opening thread that you are looking for pearl white paint in a spray can. My brother was a partsman at NAPA for 25 years, and was their paint specialist for most of that time. Just about any automotive paint he mixed could be put in a rattlecan. It was $15-$20 per can compared to $4-$5 for the spray can off the shelf. You can get just about any paint you want in a spray can, if you are willing to pay the toll.
 

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Sorry to be confusing. It is hard sometimes to explain things when you understand it already. It's easy to use terms that you may not realize others wont understand. So bear with us. We do want to help. Anyhow here I go. (and if I am incorrect on anything, or haven't said it clear enough these jerks on here will set me straight)
Thanks for the info guys! I had read about the keeping the paint warm. Best method I saw was a bucket of hot water. I have a gas grill with a side burner. Maybe I'll heat water in that and transfer it to another bucket periodically to keep the temp where we need it. Assuming it's a cold day and not already 90 degrees air temp! I would think on a hot summer day you'd be warm enough just in the air.



OK, here is a good example of what I mean by confusing newbs. I am talking about the prep phase and you say to use these progressively more fine sandpapers. OK, I assume you are saying to do this before painting, and then you say a coat of paint in between... so now I guess this sanding is after each coat? So prep and primer and then 5 coats of paint, one for each step of sandpaper you described? Are the last 2 clear coats? Then the very last coat, is it sanded also? No one is ever clear about that.

Wet sanding I finally think I understand. That's something else people assume you know how to do. Is that the thing where you have one of those block/spongey sanding blocks and you dip it in a bucket of water with dishsoap in it periodically?

Also I think you are describing all hand sanding, although initially when I thought you were talking about sanding the paint down as prep work I pictured a DA (Dual Action) sander. But I think you meant manual work, right?
OK when I say prep I mean all sanding prior to the last clear coat. Most of the prep work is done prior to your colour paint. So when you start out you start buy sanding down any scratches in the paint, by feathering what is meant is that if you have a scratch that is 2inches long and a eighth inch wide, you need to sand 3-4 inches long and 1 inch wide, that was you when you paint it doesn’t show up as divot. The same goes for dents.
So yes sand down the paint and scratches and get it fairly smooth. Your hand will tell you much more then the eyes. But get some bright lights from many angles too and look at it. Start all sanding with 400 grit paper, doesn’t have to be wet. Then prime. Then wet sand with the 800 grit wetsand paper. It will say on the packaging whether it is wetsand or not. Now they do have these pads at the auto store that are about a quarter inch thick and 3x6 inches. They can vary in size. They don’t have a way to hold the sandpaper onto them, but you can hold it on there. If you use your hand you might not get consistence contact. But with the pad you will. You can use your hand too. I did both. Keep a bowl of water next to you, and just keep dipping the paper in the water. I didn’t use soapy water, just regular water.
After you have sanding the item pretty well, clean it with a towel and water, then use a chemical to clean it too. They have some chemicals that are made for this, the guy at the store will be able to help you. Then right before you paint it go over it with a tack cloth to get any dust up. Then paint. Then wetsand again with the next grit up. You may do 4-5 coats, but you may do more.
Clear coat. I wet sanded with 2000 after the last coat of paint, and used the 2000 on the clear, and did a few coats of clear. The last coat of clear you will want to use a polish and polish it up, it will be a little ruf and if you use more. Sand paper it wont give you the gloss you are looking for. Now when I did my stuff I wasn’t going for gloss. I was going for Flat black so I just used a paper towel to brush down the slight ruf edge left.
Personally I didn’t use a DA sander cuz I didn’t own one. I didn’t buy one cuz I didn’t want the sander to get away from me and screw things up. My hands worked just fine. Just takes longer, and you have time since you are working on spare tins. I didn’t, but I was doing it this winter. I just put some towels on the floor and watched a bunch of TV.



This is the best argument for this I have heard. I presume you mean the factory paint will adhere to the metal better than the rattlecan primer. Is that what you mean?

I might do say the half of the rear fender that goes under the seat first now with the chem stripper and just scuff the rest and see how it comes out. I believe your argument but is this another consideration:

They sell different colors of primer, and darker primers seem to be for darker finish colors. I have dark green fenders and a black tank. Both dark, but I wonder if they will contribute differently to the white paint and make them not match? Maybe it won't make that much difference. Just trying to anticipate. It helps me process what I'm being told and what it all means.
Ok here is the thing, the factory paint is good stuff, unless it is bad don’t get rid of it. You can actually just use one of those green scratchy pads you use to clean pots and pans with to scuff the paint. They actually sell those pads for that purpose just a longer size. With paint it won’t stick well to a smooth surface it needs grab something that is roughed up a bit. And the green scratchy guy does the job.
The primer colour can affect your final paint some. I didn’t worry cuz I was painting black. I think you said you are doing white. I would use the self-etching paint I talked about, it is army green colour, so you may want to use a grey paint over that before you start with the white.



OK, I think I follow you. Tell me how close I am. When you say "if you get down to the paint" I presume you are talking about the prep method that involves just scuffing the factory paint. So are you saying to do that I just need to get past the factory clear coat? If so, how will I know when I'm that far? And I presume this will be done with hand sanding. Wet not necessary. Do I need to progress grits or anything or just use one? If so, which? 400?
I missed typed there, I meant down to the metal. I am referring to where ever you have to sand the paint down all the way to the metal. If you have to fix any dents with bondo you need to get to the metal, now with bondo don’t prime where you are going to put the bondo, it sticks good to bare metal, and in those spots you might want to use some 80 grit paper. The directions on the bondo will tell you what is best. Don’t be scared of bondo. They use it in the factory all the time over welds and stuff.

Been reading 'em, here and elsewhere. I found them to have 80% of the needed info with the last 20% inadvertently hidden by the assumptions of the writers. I have never painted anything but walls, houses, and misc. little doo-dads. Never anything automotive.

And then of course there is the conflicting advice- you have to get to the metal, you don't have to take off the old paint, rattlecan is fine, never use a rattlecan, by a gun from Harbor Freight, etc. A guy can go insane listening to it all!

So that's why I plan to be so exhaustive and clear with this!

Also, I am in Omaha, NE. If there happen to be any members in my area who want to work on this together and do their bike as well I would be open to that. Garage buddy?
Ok so yeah a lot of things come down to personal opinion. Its all taste you make like something and someone else don't. I painted my bike flat black, it came out nice, and I like it. Others don't, screw em. When it comes down to methods some doesn't matter some do. Prep work matters, a decent paint matters. You don't want to use rattlecan paint that is for painting your lawn chairs. Get the rattlecan that is made for auto paint. It will give you a better finish. Talk to the guys at the store too. We can help, but talking in person someone can always help. I was a complete newb to painting a vechile previously to this. But I did a lot of research before I started, talked to alot of people, and read alot. But I was familiar with painting terms, so that helped some.
Good luck, I hoped that this will help.
 

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Newb with a Bullet!
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Discussion Starter #14
Sure does help! Thanks for taking the time to share.

I think you have talked me out of taking off all of the factory paint. I'll try the green scrubby and self etching primer.

I only have a very small area, smaller than a quarter, requiring bondo on my spare tins- the tank natch. I'll get it to metal via sandpaper by hand and then bondo. I'll document when I do it.

Guess I'll hang onto my can of stripper. I bet it comes in handy for something someday!!

Oh, and regarding the fellow with the NAPA story and advice, I think I am going to stick with cheap paint- Duplicolor or similar. For the simple reason that I think my lack of skills is most likely to be the limiting factor, moreso than the paint itself. In other words I'd rather do a poor job (if that's what happens) with less money invested in paint.

I don't intend for this paint job to last forever. I fully think I may well turn around and paint the tins that are on it now when they come off. Maybe over the winter. So I can paint them both with cheaper rattlecan until I feel like I am good enough at it and then I can get better rattlecan or maybe even an air gun!

But right now I'm on serious R&D time, so I'm not going to spend more than I have to. It doesn't have to be forever.
 

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Yeah first project, dont waste money. But don't waste money with crap product either. Stick with a good auto spray paint
 

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Newb with a Bullet!
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Discussion Starter #16
Oh yeah, going to stick with a name brand. Looks like Duplicolor is getting the nod since they are available a block from my house at Advance Auto.

Just did a 2 hour session working on them, hand sanding and scuffing. Quite an adventure and most enjoyable. The time just flew by.

Took a bunch of pics but too tired to post right now. Will put them up and continue the tale of my adventure tomorrow.
 

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if you wonder if youhave your surface properly ,here is a little trick I learned.Before you waste paint that you want to be permanent take one can of Dollar Store Gloss black warm it and shake it thoroughly just like the high dollar spray cans and paint your part with the gloss Black ,any flaws will just about jump out at you immediately,after checking to see if you are ready to paint take a rag dampened with Lacquer thinner and wipe off the black paint before it has a chance to dry good .If you are good to go, make sure the surface is clean and wipe it with a tack cloth, ask for one at the parts store,don't touch the surface to be painted and you are ready to spray ,start your spray off the edge of the piece you are working on and stop it off the edge of the piece you are painting when you are can,use several thin coats allowing it to tack up between coats of color when you are putting on color if you do get a run ,let it dry and wet sand with 1200 to 1500 grit after the paint is completely dry(over night),and put another coat of color on after wet sanding ,It is actually best if you color sand the whole piece(wet sand)before the final coat of color,as it will remove any imperfections before you make it really shine.The last coat is the hardest,because you want to put enough paint on to look wet but not sag or run,it is a fine line between shine or run so this is where the practice piece comes in,be sure to have abox fan or a fan of some kind running while you are spraying ,pointed away from where you are working to pull paint overspray away from where you are painting ,no open flames or smoking while painting either and this includes any pilot lights on appliances ,like water heaters and such,I hope ihaven't confused you even more and good luck,Denny
 

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Newb with a Bullet!
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Discussion Starter #18
Thanks Denny! One question on the cheap gloss black trick.

Am I doing that before or after the primer?
 

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If you want before and after,Before shows any flaws in your metal prep and after will show any sags or runs in your primer,, and when wet sanding ,either primer or color use the paper with your hand not a sanding block and clear water no soap.As you wet sand you can feel the paper grab over rough spots and keep plenty of water on your paper when sanding,it will feel like it is kinda floating when it is right.Rinse thoroughly when finished and let dry completely ,an air hose with a blower will help you get into nooks and crannies ,the last thing you want is a drop of water to sneak out on you when you are spraying paint,If it all sounds time consuming ,it is.The more time you put into these steps the better satisfied and proud of what you accomplished you will be,Denny.
 

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Newb with a Bullet!
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