After most every type of paint removal effort known to man, the Raleigh Competition is ready for primer. It is masked and sanded and will receive an etching primer this weekend. I thought I would talk about the effort here. I started with a heat gun, which removed some of the paint, until it got to the lower coats, which were probably laquer. Then it stopped working. It seemed to work best on enamels and especially good on spray paint. Much the same for the next contestant, chemical stripper. It got a lot of the spray paint coats off, but slowly, and over many applications.
I then moved on to a drill with abrasive wheels, which was slow and tedious and only partially effective. I then went on to abrasives, sandpaper and grit blocks. they got a lot of the job done on the wider surfaces and main tubes. They did a good job, but this is not my first rodeo with stripping paint from bicycles, so I have a lot of such blocks in varying grits, from 36 to 400. They can also be soaked to work as sanding abrasives between coats of paint. They did a good job on larger areas, but that left me with confined areas like the lugs. These were dealt with both with knives and painting tools, as well as a set of ingenious picks such as those dentists use.
All of that got almost every trace of paint off the bicycle. That way the etching primer can do the job it was designed to do. I also have metal preparation cloth, another abrasive made to get metals ready for primer. After the metal preparation cloth, I go to gloves only handling, because I use Isopropyl alcohol to clean all skin oils and contaminants from the frame. I will then do some spray-can metal etching primer, which also seals against rust. I am glad I fully stripped the frame, because there were some rust spots present. I would not have found them, had I not stripped the umpteen coats of paint.
There were several coats of spray paint, in various colors. Cream and blue two-tone was the way the bicycle came. Under that was a grey coat, and beneath that was a blue coat. It appeared red enamel was applied over green, which covered the original black, with a primer of gray. The Black, green, and red coats all appeared to be well done paint jobs, the rest being less well done as the paint jobs stacked up. I may go with auto spray paint to see how well it holds up for the final black surface coat. Then several coats of clear to make it durable. I spray lightly, from about 2 feet away, and allow drying between coats, as well as wet sanding.
I find this makes for a durable final finish, if it is all done with care and patience. Drying and curing is necessary. I may make an experiment with the drying process. If it works, I will add it to the narrative. I think that will get us to the painted frame by winter, so it can be stored. There is plenty of cleaning and polishing of components yet to be done, and the finishing of the frame with decals, which will be no mean feat. This bicycle displayed decals for Raleigh Competition GS. It had both the Raleigh and Carlton names on the bicycle, as it was made in Worksop.
It had Raleigh as well as Made in England on the down tube, and Carlton on the seat tube. All of this would have been unique to the USA, as far as I know. That search for decals, as well as the search for the original components, will take a while. I can always stick with SunTour derailleurs and shifters, or use Shimano from that period, until I find Campagnolo in the Nuovo Grand Sport model. I personally have trouble seeing a lot of difference among them, but I want to complete the restoration by achieving the Campagnolo at some point.