SBDU Paint Preservation is step one of the work I need to do following the earlier stripdown of SB9. I don’t know if SB9 has ever had a clean since it was built in 1974. Every surface, every scratch and every lug line seems to be ingrained with 46 years of dirt and dust.
I’ve been asked many times about how I clean my frames, so to answer all those questions, I’ve included a couple of videos in this blog post to demonstrate how simple the process is. If like me, you watch hours of television, you might have seen something like an Art restorer cleaning a painting; something that was once dull and faded is brought back to vibrant life just by cleaning the surface of the canvas. The dirt accumulated over years creates a mask, covering the true colours hidden underneath.
I see frames in the same way. A simple clean with soapy water just doesn’t do it. Water alone doesn’t provide the level of cleaning that is often required.
My Paint Cleaning Process
Step One – Water
I still use water to clean away any dust and anything else sitting on the surface of the tubes. Small dabs with a sponge are the best way to do this rather than wiping over the tubes. Let the frame dry naturally.
Step Two – Acetone
This step isn’t always required. Occasionally, frames have sticky residue on the tube surface, maybe from old transfers. In the case of SB9, it was from the cloth tape that had been used to line the frame before fastening the gear lever band and top tube cable clips. Small nail varnish removal pads work great.
WARNING… acetone is strong stuff. Keep it well away from frame transfers – it will remove them. It was the same type of pad I used to remove the transfers on SB4409.
Step Three – Paint Renovator
Rub the paint renovator over the surface of the paint. It doesn’t remove paint to reveal better paint, it removes dirt. It removes dirt really well. I use a soft polishing cloth to work the fluid into any areas such as lug lines and lug sockets, especially around the bottom bracket, seat stays and seat lug. Work it into scratches, paint chips and frame ends.
Over the years, even the cleanest bikes will still accumulate dirt around the edges. So make sure you work the renovator into these areas.
Once every inch of the frame has been treated, use a fresh clean polishing cloth of buff off the renovator.
Step Four – Polishing
Super Resin Polish from the same product range is used to lift the appearance of the cleaned tubes. It isn’t super glossy, it just helps to enhance the shine that the renovator produced.
Again, rub the polish in with one cloth and buff it off with another clean cloth.
Step One – Wire Wool and Oil
I normally have great results with just a small piece of wire wool and a light cycle oil. Lubricate the chrome with the oil and gently rub the wire wool over the surface of the chrome.
Chrome can sometimes feel a little ‘rough’. If you pull a finger nail over the surface you can feel your nail catching on tiny marks on the surface. Chrome also loses its shine and can appear dull, just like paint. Even if you place dirty chrome into sunlight you don’t get much reflection on the surface.
Step Two – Metal Polish
This is very similar to the polish applied to paint and has the same two step process. Rub the metal polish in with one cloth and buff off with another clean cloth. It leaves a smooth, clean and reflective surface.
The surface of the chrome feels smooth like glass, it has lost it’s milky dullness and shines bright in sunlight.
Ready to Rebuild
With the frame and fork cleaned and finished, the next part of the preservation process is to clean every piece of the Campagnolo Super Record 1st Generation groupset. SB9 has paint chips, scratches and a couple of marks on the transfers, but they are staying.
To finish this blog post, I’m just going to share more images of this amazing 46 year old SBDU frame.