Chromate freshly oven cured, it’s time for the colour coat. Powder coating has come along immeasurably since the days of murky industrial or basic primary colours-these days you’re pretty much limited only by your imagination and choice of finisher.
Much of this has been driven by the US, where traditional stoving enamels are comparatively rare but a blend of good quality materials and sprayer skill remain pivotal in achieving the best results.
There are copious myths concerning powder, some conceived out of ignorance, others with a bearing in reality. In the early days, many criticised manufacturers for the "orange-peel" effect but this was largely resultant form a lack of inexperienced sprayers and/or cheaper paints and comparatively rare nowadays.
The other factoid is that powder only allows for single colours. While true to say you can only have one powder colour, other two-pack and acrylic paints can be applied atop. Similarly, painting racks and other accessories to match is a route some like to take.
Powder is much less labour intensive than other forms of spraying. Earthing the frame means there’s no wastage, no over-spray and primer aside, a maximum of two coats.
Graham wastes no time, chasing around the frame bringing it into bloom one tube at a time. Start to finish takes less than twenty minutes with a further fifteen spent in the oven at 150 degrees. Those on tighter budgets can forgo lacquers but we're going for acrylic and the last word in glossy sheens.
Acrylic lacquer will blow if applied direct ly to a hot surface and so the teenage dream is cooled for twenty minutes at room temperature. By contrast polyester lacquers can be applied as the frame emerges from the oven and are a few pounds cheaper but as Graham and Chris explained, they have greater tendency to craze and peel in the longer term.
Total cost of this job would be around £60 (including blasting) whereas the mtb frame pictured would be another £40. However, repairing small dents and other imperfections will incur additional cost. My sincerest thanks go to Trevor, Chris, Graham and Liam for their help. Maldon Shot Blasting & Powder Coating can be contacted on: 01621 841 100.
Now to ask Justin (Burls) nicely if he will clean the offending seat-tube…
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)