Matching Vintage Bicycle Paint For Restorations

I decided to get a little progress done on the Raleigh Dawn project. As you may recall, I bought a used project Raleigh last fall. The project was a rather unusual Raleigh Dawn from early 1965 that was exported to Denmark, then imported into the US. It has rod and drum brakes, a Raleigh Sports style frame, 26 inch wheels, and a chaincase (I had to acquire a new one for it). My particular form of dementia involves acquiring large numbers of old and unique bicycles.

As you can see, the bike is dark green, though I have had to acquire a few parts for it that will need repainting. There are also a number of bare spots that need repainting touch up. If I could buy stock in rust I would because it always grows on its own.

My first thought was to try several types of commonly available spray paint. After all, I figured it was just "hunter" green. I botched that up- I tested the spray paint on several spare, waste parts I have on hand and they came out totally wrong. One was too blue and the other too light. ALWAYS test your spray paint on something else to make sure it matches. I have enough useless crap to test lots of paint.

Of course, I was no closer. So I decided to try "British Racing Green" Duplicolor engine enamel. The enamel has a ceramic component, which might make it a little harder than some other spray paints. Another test, another failure- too light and too blue. NEVER fully trust online paint chips- your computer monitor often tints them. Always see the paint in person if you can. In this case I could not and, sure enough, another useless can of green paint. I suppose if my lawn goes brown this summer I can use the green to recolor it...

Finally I gave up and took a part over to the local paint store. They first thought, just use a spray paint from the rack that looks close. I must have given a pained look because the man behind the counter recoiled a bit and took out a test strip for the paint. He tested the spray on a spare part, and sure enough it did not match. He scratched his head and took my part (the front fender) back to the manager.

The manager came forward and mentioned that an all-purpose oil enamel might work. Latex is a BAD move because it has no real rust inhibiting capabilities. Oil has some, and should stave off future rust (a big plus). I remembered that I had some experience with the Preval Spray Unit from the rebuild of the Columbia DeLuxe last year.

I went with the smallest container of matching enamel. I left the part with the shop for about 45 minutes, came back, and received a matching can of paint. I also bought everyone's favorite rust remover, Oxalic Acid.

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