Archive for November, 2015


Left Over Paint

Having finally finished up Bike Number 4 (“Miss Behaving”) it was time for me to catch up on some deferred maintenance on the rest of the fleet. I also needed to clean up the clutter in my workshop that always accumulates around a framebuilding project, especially during the thrash at the end when you finally push away the empty paint cans and tape and just want to bolt the damn thing together and ride it.


The killer paint job that I eventually laid down for “Miss Behaving” is its own story.  What I wound up with is a completely different paint job than I had first envisioned.  The blue metallic pearl that ended up on the bike sort of evolved and mutated over time as I muddled my way along.

And what also happened is that, with the color change, I had a lot of left over paint. Paint that ended up as the basis for a really cool accidental customization of another bike.

It went like this:

The original vision for Miss Behaving wasn’t the snappy cobalt blue that is on bike now, but rather a Lime Green metalflake, with black trim.  My thought was Lime Green would go with the wheels that I had for the bike – which were black. Whatever color I painted it had to work with black.  Lime Green works nicely.  So I bought paint – a color called “Gatorade Green” that I thought looked the part.

I painted the fork (see picture); and it wasn’t what I wanted.  A very cool color, sure. But not what I wanted.

After some soul searching, I decided that actually a bold blue ‘flake would be just the ticket.  The blue worked with the black wheels; let’s go with that!  So I bought more paint, this time a cool blue pearl called “Bad Azz Blue.”  I laid down a white base coat, like they suggested, and then started shooting pearl coats.
Lots of pearl coats.

Now I know that with pearl you build up the color gradually with lots of coats, but I quiclkly realized that I would go broke piling on the pearl coats before I got the color I wanted.

So…I stripped the bike and started over. This time I picked the blue metallic base coat instead of the white and then shot the blue pearl coats over that.

It worked.  Perfect.

But now I had a buttload of “Gatorade Green” paint and a slightly smaller buttload of  non-returnable”Bad Azz Blue” pearl left over from the two prior attempts.

Enter my commuter bike, the trusty and rusty 1998 Bianchi Volpe with a billion miles on it. One of the tasks on my to-do list was to blow a coat of paint over the frame in an effort to forestall further entropy over the winter. The bike still had its original jade green paint that was barely hanging on and, worse, the frame had some serious rust issues. It needed paint. Badly.

I decided to experiment a bit. I could always just get a can of Rustoleum and have at it, but where was the fun in that?  Looking at the many cans of leftover Gatorade Green and Bad Azz Blue pearl that I had lying around, I figured that I might be able to make the Gatorade Green turn a less bilious shade by shooting a couple of very light coats of the equally-leftover blue pearl over it.

Here’s the result – it turned a sort of reptillian metal flake green that, for some reason, reminds me of the album cover on Alice Cooper’s “Billion Dollar Babies.”  The crappy iPad pictures don’t do it justice; it is really cool looking.  In fact, I get more unsolicited comments about the bike and the color than with any of the other bikes that I own.  Sure, my spray technique can certainly use some work – getting the blue pearl to mist evenly over the green was hard to pull off on something as weirdly shaped as a bicycle, so there are a few splotches and blotches where the pearl got away from me. But overall it looks wicked. 

 I did some decals and then clear-coated the shootin’ match. We’ll see how it holds up to daily commutes to work this winter.


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