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Powder Coat or Stove Enamel ??

Forums

I know this may be a question thats been asked many times before but waht are peoples thoughts on whether i should Powder Coat or Stove enamel my frame and cycle parts ?

Ive had my Commando for over 25 years and its long overdue a complete overhaul, i just want to do the best job i can with the paintwork.

Any thoughts would be much appreciated please.

Kind regards,

Ian

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I prefer stove finish as its right and looks it. If you go for powder check what prep is going to be done ,seen plenty of powder over pitted parts.

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Thanks Robert, i guess the original would have been Stove enamel or paint and to be honest its stood the test of time, all 41 years.

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If you can find a stove enameler [is this a correct word?] then I would have this finish, some reasons for this--

my '61 Bonnie was powder coated many years ago with what I believe to be an older process, it was returned in satin black!! I asked it be recoated in gloss so I think it was done exacly this way, when I came to install the engine etc I had to take off excess 'powder' with a flap wheel kinda thing and it actually came off as a powder,

the Commando frame was done by the same people in gloss but I noticed it was a little more brittle but it has been O.K, the G80Cs was also done by the same company but to my view with a different process and it is nowhere near as resiliant as the early one, these frames were done sequentualy with a number of years between, I submit this for what it is worth and my experience of powder coating. kind regards

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HELLO well I did have a SUZUKI GT550 and it was in power coating and one day I went for its MOT and the Mot-er founda rust hole under the power coating on the swing arm so the bike failed on this had to get a bus home and get my van to bring the bike home, I had the swing arm replaced So I do not trust powder coatings, anymore a good paint is better yours anna j

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I don't know when Powder Coating was first used, but I had certainly not heard of it when I had a frame stove enamelled in 1980. The original stove enamelling from 1957 had not really survived very well.

I had another frame Powder Coated in 2010 and I've no complaints and it seems very durable.

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I find powder coating perfect for me but like finding a good painter the same applies to good coaters. A different level of skill is required for auto parts than industrial coatings. The preparation is essential and a good craftsman will always ensure doing their own masking. Barrels and identification numbers should always receive a light coating for example.

It's all in the application but you may find powder coating less expensive.

My Commando was nylon coated back in 1989 but you have to check for breaks in the nylon, otherwise all OK. No problems with the powder coating since but mine only do auto bits.

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Previously Neil Wyatt wrote:

I find powder coating perfect for me but like finding a good painter the same applies to good coaters. A different level of skill is required for auto parts than industrial coatings. The preparation is essential and a good craftsman will always ensure doing their own masking. Barrels and identification numbers should always receive a light coating for example.

It's all in the application but you may find powder coating less expensive.

My Commando was nylon coated back in 1989 but you have to check for breaks in the nylon, otherwise all OK. No problems with the powder coating since but mine only do auto bits.

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It all depends upon the preparation irrespective of the coating that is applied.

I had some powder coating done on my Ariel. A big chunk flaked off of the oil tank and I had to re-paint it. This was down to poor preparation - perhaps the blasting media had left contamination?

Also, I have discovered that whatever the powder coating was, that was used, it is not Ethanol resistant.

Stove enamel is /was very good if still available.

You are not however limited to these two choices. Years ago I had my Ariel painted in cellulose and that lasted 30 odd years ; not that I am suggesting it is what you should use.

I am contemplating painting my commando frame with PJ11 epoxy. It is relatively cheap and can be done at home.

I repeat however preparation is key and the key objective is not to seal rust or contaminants underneath the coating(whatever it might be).

Keith

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Ian, I asked this very question on this forum late last year. In the end I decided to paint, the same decision I guess that someone at Norton made all those years ago. I have to say, I'm very pleased with the choice I made. Yep it might not last as long or be as durable as the other options but hey, it will last me out and the new owner will probably want to tear the bike apart anyways. After all, that's part of owning a classic bike isn't it?

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Hello The only trouble with power coating they Do not have ever colour or do Metallics is Ok if its Black and that it , Yours Anna J

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I have powder coated petrol tanks in silver with clearcoat as per alloy wheels, green with a silver speckle (which looks gold as the green changes how it looks) , blue with silver specs, Ivory white and Black. All worked well, not concours but they are for riding and the good tanks are on the shelf for showing off days.

 photo Petroltank003.jpg

 photo Norton001.jpg

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I would strongly recommend talking to a few powder coaters as to the pros & cons versus painting. Generally speaking, powder coating is more durable, will last longer, is less expensive, and much better for the environment than conventional paint. Most of the products you buy today are powder coated. The one down side to powder coating is touch-ups. You really cant touch up powder coating, you find a conventional paint that is close & that's all you can do.

Powder coating has come a long way in the 20 plus years since I first used it, you can now get all kinds of finishes including metalics & products that look like chrome! The powder coating today is as smooth if not smoother than a spray job, and if not, find a better powder coater. Powder coating is also more flexible than spray paint.

Powder coating will have a much thicker layer of color that paint, which in most cases is good, but on parts that need painted & fit between other painted parts where clearance is an issue, you will need to note that with your powder coater. Sometimes the powder coating will be so thick that some parts will no longer fit together & adjustments will need to be made. Threaded holes will need to be plugged, or re-tapped after powder coating.

I have bikes that are spray painted & others that are powder coated & the difference is like night & day, I will always choose powder coating, especially on frames, steering, swing arms.

In the old days I could spray in my garage on the cheap, and my labor was free, so powder coating seemed expensive at the time, but now days, many of the paint products can not be used by the home hobbyist & the modern water borne paint used on most vehicles requires very specialized equipment & no longer cheap, so powder coating is a very good option.

Powder coating is no more likely to "fall off" than any other paint or coating. As anyone in the coatings trade will tell you, it's all about prep & less about the finish.

But of course, thats just my opinion :)

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100% with you Skip, get a good coater who works with auto parts as their bread and butter, they will always insist on their own masking and do excellent prep. No contest on price or durability.

Anna, I had my 99 mudguards powder coated Dove Grey. (RAL 1013)

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Thanks for all the help and advice on this matter. It has really has helped me make a more informed decision.

Cheers Ian

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The original Commando frame was just painted with a very poor layer of paint. If water gets under powder coating it can corrode and track along under the coating with devastating results. You will be lucky to find anybody that will stove enamel these days. I went for a two pack paint finish but in future, and for the amount of the frame that you can see, I would probably have the frame blasted and spray it with a quality aerosol, Hammerite smoothrite is tough but doesn't cover very well, I have had good results with plasticote which is available in "The Range" stores and is a good price. I think paint sticks to the frame better than a powder coated finish.

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I recently brush painted my old boat trailer with thinned down black Rustolium (I think that is the spelling?) and it went on like the best coach paint you could wish for, absolutely no brush marks at all.

I'll be trying it on my featherbed/850 this summer.

Dave

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I have taken the decision to have my frame poweder coated. As many suggest the key is in the preperation and getting the right person to do it. So can anyone recommend a UK company that know how to properly mask off and prepare a commando frame/cradle & swinging arm?

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Hello Peter.

Although they are probably a million miles from you, I can recommend Colourcoat at Hethel.That's the Hethel where Lotus are in Norfolk. I've hada Commando frame, a 77 frameand various swing arms powder coated there and know that they do any colour you are likely to need. Quite a few years ago, on the one occasion that I had to take a swing arm back after a year because thecoating began to flake off, they were horrified and re-coated it for free. The preparation hadn't been quite up to the mark the first timeand rust began to take a toll. The rust had been bad in that particular spot mind. its OK now. Next door to them is a new bunch of painters who are painting my fiberglass Interstate tank. I'm holding my breath in anticipation.

Wherever you take your parts to be painted, you need to talk to the guy who will be doing the job. Don't allow him to do the job without knowing exactly what you want/need, and don't try to beat him down on the price. Where painting is concerned, you most definitely get what you pay for. A happy painter is someone who will do the job right. Personally, I'd rather pay over the odds than wonder what exactly is undermy lovely new paint.

It helps to do as much of the preparation yourself, especially where getting dirt and oil off the surfaces is concerned. I know someone whoreceived a frame expecting it to be clean, and when he commented thatit wasn't clean, the owner said.'Well, how cleando you want it'? Duh!

I hope I haven't been teaching Granny to suck eggs here.

All the best.

Kev

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Hi

Reading back issues here, I read an article in classic bike many years ago about hand painting frames and decided to have a go.

Ordered the enamel paint and undercoat and a £25 sabel brush from the local art shop, tbey were horrified to learn I was painting a motorbike frame.

The result using the superfine brush was great, it looked like it had been sprayed and cost a faction of the cost with the added bonus of all the little parts being the same colour black, and looking just as good.

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Previously john_neely wrote:

Hi

Reading back issues here, I read an article in classic bike many years ago about hand painting frames and decided to have a go.

Ordered the enamel paint and undercoat and a £25 sabel brush from the local art shop, tbey were horrified to learn I was painting a motorbike frame.

The result using the superfine brush was great, it looked like it had been sprayed and cost a faction of the cost with the added bonus of all the little parts being the same colour black, and looking just as good.

Hi John,

interested in your solution, I keep asking myself the same question and keep comming back to brush. What type of Enamel did you use and did you use any special zinc primer etc.

thanks

Andrew

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I have always hand-painted my frames. It takes a bit of time in preparation but it is worth it as not only can you can also check the frame at the same time, but you can keep the paint off the frame numbers and earth mounting areas. I just use ordinary gloss paint you can get from DIY shops, which is particularly good if you want a coloured frame.

As for powder coating, I am currently trying to 'tart up' the alloy wheels on my rotary, which at some stage were powder coated black, and it is a nightmare! The coating is either rock hard or just falls off leaving a crusty white coating underneath.

At least with hand painting stuff you can touch it up with exactly the same colour if need be.

Cheers

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Hi Andrew

It was a long time ago now so can't remember the enamel type, but did use a grey undercoat from the same company. I made a mental note at the time to use the same brush to put on the under coat.

I am just in the process now of stripping my Commando back to the frame and am torn as what to do, and add to that now you can buy water based enamel paint, has anybody here used the water based enamel.

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Steve

Thanks for the information, i have to say that is a stunning restoration, i will be going along the same lines.

Am just about to buy a table, can i ask the make and model of yours?

Great polishing of the casings same question, can you tell me who did it please?

Would love to see more pictures?

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Table is a Sealey MC365 Hydraulic Bike Lift 365kg Capacity. Couldn't have done the job without it, makes working on the bike a pleasure! A great piece of kit.

Norman White polished the engine casings while he was rebuilding the engine and gearbox.

For some reason I can't add more than one picture at a time to my post?

Attachments img_0200-2-jpg
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And what a tidy workshop!

I must admit even if I could achieve a result like that I'd be reluctant to ride the bike as the first stone chip would be so depressing.....

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Steven:

Do you ever ride it?

Your bike is waaayyy to beautiful.

Or did you take the photos before putting it back on the road?

Mike

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I've only just finished the restoration last month and have yet to start it up.

Everything is done but I'm as nervous as hell starting it in case I've got something wrong! I was hoping to give it to someone who has good knowledge of Commandos to check over before pressing the button but everyone seems too busy.

Now the weather is a bit better I'll stick some fuel in it and give a try. If if starts I want to jump on and run it in with a ride rather than leave it ticking over in the garage. But with a newly built engine and gearbox, a new carb, new wiring loom, new starter motor, Tri-Spark ignition, CNW coil etc., I will be amazed if it starts!

 

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