Painting the Luxus folding bike
Successful spray painting really requires a pretty narrow temperature band. So of course I decided to spray paint the Luxus folding bike in the dead of winter. It went about as well as you'd expect.
Everything started well enough. A few unseasonably warm days in February gave me a good opportunity to get it sprayed, and I took it. I was cooking along and the frame was looking good when disaster struck: on the last coat the paint crinkled. I had violated a second rule of painting and mixed paints. They did not get along well.
So after spraying and wet-sanding multiple coats, I now had to strip it all back. Honestly, taking after it with a stripping wheel may have been overkill. It's possible I could have just sanded it back. But at this point I didn't trust my base paint anymore.
Of course, by the time I'd stripped it all back the weather had turned. Painting outside was no longer an option.
Luckily the individual parts of the Luxus aren't very large, so I took a large plastic tub and improvised a small spray booth. I don't really recommend this. It's hard to get adequate ventilation, and there will be overspray. It worked okay for me, but really, you probably shouldn't try this at home.
It was slow going, too, since I could only paint small portions at a time. Add in wet-sanding between coats and painting this little frame took a long, long time.
Because I had sanded back the first respray attempt, and I had more defects than usual from working in the cramped corners, I wet-sanded pretty aggressively between coats to get the best possible surface. For paint I was using a Rustoleum performance enamel which worked well, especially coupled with a good (and compatible) primer. But still, if you want a really good coat, you've got to wet-sand and polish.
With enough elbow grease it started coming together, finally. At this point the painting and sanding are done, and I've gone over it with Turtle Wax Rubbing Compound and then polishing compound. I may give a few areas a bit more polishing, but it's looking good.
While my paint was drying I polished up the original chrome chainguard, and had a go at straightening a few wobbles in it. I'm no metalworker and it remains not-quite-straight. But also not bad. With it sitting in place you can finally start seeing it all come together.
Up next: Decals and beginning reassembly. I'm looking forward to it.
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