[CR]Doing it yourself

(Example: Framebuilders:Mario Confente)

From: <BobHoveyGa@aol.com>
Date: Thu, 7 Jun 2007 15:32:40 EDT
To: classicrendezvous@bikelist.org
Subject: [CR]Doing it yourself

Brian Baylis writes:
>The LAST thing a professional bike painter wants is touch ups. I've
>done more than my share over the years, preserving decals and such.
>The time it takes is ridiculous and the money is less than the regular
>low wage I earn.
>In nearly every case the touch-up will
>cost more than the bike is worth. If you're serious about preserving
>bikes this way, I suggest you try it yourself and see how much work
>and trouble it is.

As one who sent a Richard Moon frame to Brian for touch up of a couple of minor rust spots, I must confess that in retrospect I agree. I added to the workload of a busy painter/builder who had better things to do and I strongly suspect he did not make much money on the deal.

This brings up an interesting point. I've heard many varied opinions expressed with even more varied degrees of conviction concerning the treatment of the finish on our vintage bikes. The more conservative approach seems to be to do as little as possible to any remaining original finish (short of letting the frame decay into a pile of rust), while the more heretical approach appears to be repainting the bike as soon as the new wears off and it has accumulated an objectionable number of blemishes.

I strongly suspect that the great majority of us who remain in the middle may have chosen to be silent on this matter. Perhaps we are the ones who have neither the deep pockets for a complete repaint or an even more expensive painstaking touchup, nor the cruelty to strip and rattlecan a frame that still has most of its original paint and decals. Instead, I'm sure many of us do what conscientious bike owners have done for the last century or more, we grab a tiny bottle of paint and a small brush and we attempt to do the repair ourselves, as cheaply and as inconspicuously as possible.

I don't know about you, but I must confess to feeling a warm sentimental pull at the sight of a less than perfect touchup by a loving owner who took as much care as his limited skills and simple tools allowed. It is what one might call an "honest" or 'functional" repair... it protects the frame, it does not hurt what is left of the original finish, and it leaves no doubt what is original and what has been repaired (not unlike the fresco repairs where color is laid in with fine crosshatching so that future curators will have no doubt what is the repair). Perhaps this could be described as the bike owner's equivalent of a mother's "BandAid and a hug."

Therefore, let me suggest that if you respect the original finish of these bikes, and if you enjoy riding them (rather then sending them off for a few months to be repainted, then on its arrival find yourself riding with fear and inhibition lest you mar the perfect paint), then take a chance and do what you did when you were twelve... fix it yourself, don't worry about perfection, hop back on and go for a ride.

Bob Hovey Columbus, GA USA


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