raw steel treatments/clear coats

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  • Are there any diy solutions for raw steel?

    I'm considering buying a raw frame to make another cheapo bike to replace the white one I'm on most of the time but I want to do a clear coat or something so it doesn't go to crap instantly.


  • i've used linseed oil on a raw frame and also on an old rusty frame just to help preserve it.

    back in the days of black and white, people would use this on their tools to stop them getting rusty.

    only down side is it takes a while to dry and is still a little tacky once set.

    but it does go on quick and easily and sets evenly. should you scratch it just dab some more on. nice and simple.

    failing that you can either lacquer it with spray lacquer, powder coat it clear or wax it.

    linseed oil is like £2.99 a bottle and probably the quickest, cheapest and easiest to apply option which will 100% work.

  • I've been using this (from E2 Parts on Cambridge Heath Road) for painting furniture for ages - £5 a can, you'll only need one.

  • @Dogtemple sounds like it will wash off in the rain?

  • linseed oil? not really, it's oil - would take a lot to make it wash off, it's used on wood to seal it from the rain.

  • I've linseed oiled a frame, and would never do it again.

    It's horrible stuff to work with, stinky and supposedly likes to spontaneously combust if left on rags. I also found it stayed sticky forever, rubbed off where my clothing contacted the frame and washed off where water was directed at it - front of bb shell and where the mudguards pass the seatstay, chainstays and fork legs.

    Clear lacquer is too porous to protect from damp, it'll not be long before you get spider webby rust patterns forming under it.

    Satin black powder coat will protect from rust, won't chip when you lock up, won't rub off on your clothes, won't spontaneously combust and for how long it'll last, is the cheapest option.

  • I'm reading online about rust converter type sprays "rust converter" "kurust" wait a bit then blast the frame with it and it will go black?

  • i have used kurust on my car and on one of my bikes, goes a purpley black, looks cool but its only to neutralise rust, you need to paint over it as it wont last as a top coat.

    anchor wax is used on boats - could try that, people use it on cars with good effect. anything like this though will need going over periodically and will be a compromise in many ways. clear powder coat would be best if you can spend a bit and want it to look raw.

  • linseed oil is by far the best option, if you apply it correctly (dilute it slightly with gt85) it goes on really easily.

  • I have a black powder coated steel frame and want to strip it all back to clear coat it. Surely car laquer should work as it works on cars.

  • Clear coated cars?

  • Yeah you have a base coat (the colour) then a clear coat (the laquer) the clear coat is what gives the paint it's shine and protection.

  • I linseed-oiled the inside of some frames to protect them against rust. Some of it got onto the outside because I was a bit over-generous with it. The oil that got out onto the paintwork did set quite hard and seems quite durable but, because it remains slightly tacky, it attracts and holds onto dirt like an absolute bastard. My white frame now looks really grubby (I don't care because it probably makes it less nickable). I can't see any reason why it would be different on raw steel, so "approach with caution" would be my advice.

  • I found this while searching, the frame I'm thinking of getting mentions it being "raw, phosphated" but I can't tell if that's the same(and so ready to use/ride).


    But yeah, would be really happy if I could get a frame to look like that one.

  • Treatment of steel with phospohoric acid is a common treatment prior to spraying. If it's not clear that it's been sprayed afterwards you may still need to paint/lacquer it.

  • Yes, provides the paint with shine and protection, but paint doesn't rust. The paint and primer stops the metal from oxidising. As above, spray lacquers are too porous to go on raw, untreated metal. Water molecules will get through, then the lines start spreading, then the lacquer just peels off.

  • So if it has been phosphated what do I need to buy to keep that look but not have it go to crap after a short time riding? Just spray the hycote stuff above?

    I can spray really easily atm as a large part of work is disused/building site.

  • Yes I agree. This is known as milking. Happens to cheap or damaged alloy wheels.

  • what about the proper lacquer job from a powdercoating. I'm thinking something like on the raw brompton?


  • So, I keep coming back to these conversations... and thought I would chuck this one in:

    Options and info galore... enjoy.

  • Gonna dredge this up as I did some linseed oiling yesterday.

    I'd read some posts on various forums about techniques for using linseed oil and found a few people talking about putting heat into the mix, heating the piece before application and heating or 'smoking' it once the oil is on.

    As usual with internet posts, everything was a bit vague so I've no idea if I've done it right or not...time will tell I guess though initial results seem pretty good.

    I was doing a handlebar so easy enough to heat the whole thing at once. I used a mapp torch but a propane torch or maybe even an oven(?) could have done the job.

    I warmed the bars to a point where they felt warm to the touch but definitely still handle-able then applied a generous coat of oil. It wasn't drippoing off the bars but they were pretty wet and shiny looking.

    I then took the torch to them again which dried them and left a pretty dull, matte finish.

    I repeated a few times as I wanted to be sure I got in all the nooks and crannies and covered everything adequetely.

    By the time I'd torched and oiled and torched and oiled a few times the bars were pretty hot (I had clamped them in a vice) but I never actually observed any smoke, nor any real change in the colour of the oil/finish which was something I'd read would happen.

    End result, matte greyish bars that are totally dry to the touch. I thought I might scratch the finish a bit mounting the bars but this did not happen. It doesn't feel like a finish on the metal rather something in it if you know what I mean? A few drops of rain I got on them yesterday seemed to bead up and roll off leaving no mark. I guess time will tell if corrosion forms or not. Will update with how they are holding up in a while.

  • Very interesting! Is this something you need a naked flame for (i.e is combustion a key part of process) or is a heat gun adequate enough? Sounds as though it would still deliver what little amount of heat is necessary ...

  • Ehh...good question.

    The posts I'd read all talked about doing it with a torch but its not like the bars caught on fire when I was doing it if you know what I mean? So I think a heatgun would probably do it.

  • Anyone got some recommendations of good lacquers for on raw steel?

    Preferably spray can but brush on would be fine too.

    I am aware that lacquer will not be totally impervious to moisture (so the steel will still rust) but I’ve been using a basic Halfords rattlecan lacquer and I imagine there’s probably something better out there.

  • Seeing this pop up I thought I’d mention that one of my Stayer’s earlier life was with a clear coat. I think it was done at Aurum Finishing (ex Armourtex) so definitely not DIY money, but not crazy expensive either and well done and solid too. The bike was like that for a year or so only but was used extensively over that time. Good resistance to rubbing from frame bags as well.

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raw steel treatments/clear coats

Posted by Avatar for Clockwise @Clockwise