I wasn’t planning to do this job today, it just happened. I’d been thinking for the past week about how to tackle the task of removing the transfers from SB4059… the problem is that they are sealed under a good layer of thick glossy clearcoat. While I was standing in the workshop, contemplating what to do, I decided to pick up a sharp blade and couldn’t resist having a sneaky pick at the corner of a transfer, just to see if I could break the seal of the clearcoat and get the blade under the vinyl… and that was it, once I had started I just couldn’t stop. And now there is no going back!
Most of the work I’ve done in the past with frame restoration has either involved modern replacement vinyl transfers without clearcoat, or older original varnish fix transfers. Each of these can be removed relatively easily. Vinyl without clearcoat can be gently heated with a hair dryer and varnish fix can be carefully wiped off with Acetone.
The heat of a hairdryer can quickly and easily deal with vinyl sitting on top of paint and clearcoat…
Even wafer thin varnish fix transfers can be removed easily with Acetone. Nail polish remover pads are ideal…
But once transfers are sealed under a thick layer of clearcoat things are different. I could have used wet and dry paper to simply attack the entire top tube and scrub away the clearcoat and work down to the transfers, eventually removing them. Instead, I thought that carefully picking them off by pushing a sharp blade under the vinyl would be better, and it would cause less damage to the paint. So my plan was to pick off the transfers first then deal with the edges of the clearcoat and then deal with the underlying paint.
All I’m using is a sharp craft knife and carefully pushing the tip through the clearcoat, finding an edge to the vinyl. Once the tip is under the transfer I can use the flat part of the blade to gently push further under the vinyl. As the blade goes in, the vinyl is pulled away from the surrounding clearcoat and peels away.
Once the vinyl is gone there is an impression left in the clearcoat where the transfer was fitted. I’ll deal with that in part two.
Next up is the incorrect Reynolds 753T frame transfer…
One thing I am aiming to achieve is to leave the paint intact and undamaged. I’m keeping the use of the blade to a minimum and only using it to get a corner of the vinyl to lift away enough so that my fingers can then pull the rest of the vinyl away from the protection of the clearcoat.
I’ve carefully used the blade at the bottom of top tube transfer lettering and at the rear of the seat tube for the 753 transfer. That means that if I do accidentally leave a mark in the paint, it won’t be in a prominent position.
Using a bit of care, some letters of the RALEIGH transfer can come off in one piece.
With both sides of the top tube finished, the TEAM RALEIGH wording has gone. The Reynolds 753T frame transfer has also been successfully removed.
I’m really happy with how everything has gone so far considering that the decision to start was so spontaneous. However, the next job may be a bit trickier as I need to tackle the clearcoat edges that still clearly define the position of the old transfers.