Save That Old Paint
Is your original paint looking dull and beat up? Does it look like there is still enough of it to be saved? Then save it! Most of the time when a "new" bike comes my way, I just give a good cleaning with a wax that cleans. Most of the time I use Turtle Wax's liquid wax.
I apply a generous amount on a soft cloth and rub the paint until it shines. Rubbing compound seems to be a little too much for the old paint. The Turtle Wax seems to have the right amount of abrasives in it to do the job without destroying everything. I even use it CAREFULLY over the original decals with great success.
Down by the dropouts and bottom bracket, where years of grease and dirt collect, I will break out an old tooth brush. I dip it in the wax and scrub the dirty parts till clean. If I need to get more aggressive with the caked on grease, I will spray the area with WD-40 to help dissolve the old grease in conjunction with a tooth brush to scrub it.
Then, once again, follow up with the Turtle Wax. When I am ready for that final shine, I break out the Shop Wax. Put this stuff on wet, let dry, and wipe down. Very shiney! I'm sure Meguires and other manufacturers have comparable final waxes. Now your bike shines! Don't worry about the few scratches that the bike has!
Scratches show the character of the bike. If the scratches bug you then maybe it is time for a restoration and that is a whole different subject altogether!! Dig that shine!!
Okay, you say. Your paint can't be saved and you don't paint! My friend does excellent work. For more info, have a look! BPJ Antique Bicycles
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