View Full Version : How "pretty" should the un-painted un-Bondo'd work be?

04-30-2014, 01:57 PM
Hi Folks,

Some may have noticed that I have been entering a blog of my build each day.
It's all fairly pedestrian I am sure, but I've never done any serious metalwork before and so I am pretty-much feeling my way on my build.

Today was install the suspension pivot tube day (the full story is in the blog).

The pics below are the current state of play and while it is not as "pretty" as I would like, it is IN, it is square and it is NOT going to come out in a hurry. I have the option to apply more “clean-up” with files/flap-discs later.

http://s5.postimg.org/nv7oqkxur/P1020152.jpg (http://postimg.org/image/nv7oqkxur/)

http://s5.postimg.org/7vp1711sz/P1020153.jpg (http://postimg.org/image/7vp1711sz/)

http://s5.postimg.org/exmyt85er/P1020155.jpg (http://postimg.org/image/exmyt85er/)

Having seen all the fabulous finished creations in the gallery I wonder how "pretty" things need to be prior to any filling-in with filler and painting up?

I know there is only so much lipstick one can put on a pig (it is still a pig) but how much perfection should I be aiming for in the raw steel?



04-30-2014, 02:11 PM
Get a can of spray paint and give your work a quick blast.
Then you will see the finished result now.

I find although easier to sand bondo or body filler, you can spend as long filing and sanding this, as it takes to use a flap wheel.
Also if you want to get your creation powder coated, you cannot use bondo.

All a matter of personal choice ultimately.

Brad covers this topic well in every set of plans, so I would be guided by his experience.

04-30-2014, 03:27 PM
It's not the worst of the efforts shown here :)
Main danger is that in an attempt to "beautify" it you will be too energetic with angle grinder, actually weakening the structure.
You have two choices:
- one is to practice more before having a go at the bike building (seldom adopted here :rolleyes4:)
- two is to accept that ugly and strong is fine (and things will get better)

04-30-2014, 05:38 PM
Tim, I may just give it a "flash-over" to see how hideous (or not) it looks.

Chris, that's a very pragmatic view, and eminently sensible.
I would admit to wanting my welds to look "pretty" and yet I know I am a beginner in this area (and it clearly shows when compared to the TIG "art" of someone like FrankCrank).

But, as you say strong may have to be "ugly" for a while until I have a better mastery of the torch.
Rome was not built in a day and all that :-)

It's my first "solo-flight" so I wasn't expecting perfection all at once, and I am enjoying the "doing" of the task(s) as a creative thing.
In the grand scheme of things steel is relatively cheap, it's the gathering of all the bike-bits that is the hard part.

Thanks for the very gentle critique, much appreciated.



04-30-2014, 07:25 PM
The main aim is to get a project as good as possible unless you are building concours then it is a new ball game .

Using powder coat you need to get the frame perfect or you will see the flaws ,

Using a " cellulose" finish there is room to manoeuvre , A basic good frame with a little pug where needed , and given 3 -4 coats of primer and allowed to harden for 24 hrs ( minimum) flatted and checked for ample coverage and thickness , then given half a dozen top coats followed by wet on damp final laquer coat is how I do it , but this method is time consuming and can add another week on the build , more if you are using two colours ( colour and black ) I tend to use rattle cans ( warmed in hot water ) unless I am at home and then I use a gravity feed spray gun and auto paint ( also warmed ) but both need 3 - 4 days to harden before reassemble and even then , due to the harden of the paint is liable to chip .
Plastic coat / powder coat or stove enamelling are other options but not for the "home builder " , John and I were thinking of building a small powder coat oven , but the main problem is space and justification , personally I will go on using rattle cans or auto paint as they are easy to repair when they do get tatty due to wear and tear and does not cost the earth...:evilgrin:.

regards emma

04-30-2014, 09:56 PM
I was going to clean my welds up a bit when I painted my warrior.....that was over a year and a half ago.....and it is still not painted. I am having way to much fun riding it to take time to tear it down and paint it. I was talking to the son of the owner of my local bike shop and told him I needed to get it painted....he asked me "why, I think it looks great just the way it is.....like a ratrod". I wouldn't worry too much about cleanup......it helps show you handbuilt it and gives it character and a better conversation piece!

Warrior-finished but not painted
https://picasaweb.google.com/107830944100278065441/WarriorTrikePictures02?authkey=Gv1sRgCIyHyKmR3ryTD Q
Aurora (in work)
Tricruiser prone (progressive build)

05-01-2014, 04:31 AM
....one of the reasons I'm using stainless is I absolutely loathe all that tedious prepping that has to be done before painting. You do need a lot of patience, and I just don't have any of that I'm afraid :taz:

05-01-2014, 08:37 AM
I recall a post where instead of bondo, JB WELD was recommended. Works great and dosen't sand away as fast so easier to control how much you grind off to make it smooth.
It is also a good idea to prim the frame, assemble, ride then look for cracks in tthe welds. Easier to see after priming.
Another suggestion to wipe down the frame w/ vinegar before priming as it will tend to "etch" the metal.

05-01-2014, 11:18 AM

You may not want to go to the extreme that I am on the Inferno, but here is an option.
I am a strong proponent of using JB Weld for cleaning up welds. If you haven't already, visit my "Turnbuckle Spoke Wheel"
thread. In there I show how I used JB Weld to make things look a bit nicer.

http://s12.postimg.org/7cmjvtu15/1st_flange_001.jpg (http://postimg.org/image/7cmjvtu15/)http://s11.postimg.org/nt0405gv3/painted_wheel_010.jpg (http://postimg.org/image/nt0405gv3/)

With my welds still being suspect, and looking that way, I wanted to find a way to clean them up without sacrificing strength.
Enter, JB Weld. I played around with it and found it is extremely hard, once fully cured.

I do a rough, 'contour' grinding, filing, flap disc, whatever works, for the specific area I want to finish out. I might do some spot welding to fill in any large gaps. Then I prepare just enough (guesstimate) JB Weld to fill in the area I'm working on. I let it stand and cure (usually 24 hours), then come back and do some more contouring. If needed I will fill in with Bondo (body filler) then prime and paint.

I started by using their recommended 50/50 mix. The temperature that you will be working in, will have an affect on the 'set up'. I have changed the ratio of 'harder' (+ or -) to get the desired result I need. As I'm not using this to act as the 'primary' weld material, I wasn't too concerned with the loss of strength of the JB Weld, if any. Though in my mind, it's much stronger than using body filler alone.

Example; if it's really hot, I might use more harder, because the 50/50 mix will 'flow', and not stay where you want it to. (I believe this happened in my 'Turnbuckle Spoke Wheel' project)

How do I know this? ......I've had to hold and rotate parts, until they hardened well enough to let them stand alone.

My research and now (experience), into the uses for this product convinced me, it's just what I need.

Hope this gives you an option for your project

05-01-2014, 11:33 AM
Can JB Weld be used if one is going to powder coat?????

05-01-2014, 11:37 AM
Thank you to all my many friends and colleagues here on AZ who have so kindly responded to my question.

I think it is a truism that we are each our own worst critics, so hearing so many positive stories and approaches gives me great heart that I can create a reasonable facsimile of a bike all on my ownsome.

Today has been the first pipe-to pipe joint at 45-degrees and it has been errr....shall we just say "Interesting".

I will blog it later, but for now I have some "grinding out" and re-work to do. LOL.

Regards to all,


05-01-2014, 11:39 AM
Can JB Weld be used if one is going to powder coat?????

Usually on metal only, though I believe there may be new ways of coating other materials.

05-01-2014, 04:31 PM
Can JB Weld be used if one is going to powder coat?????

Found this on the spec

Like metal, J-B WELD can be formed, drilled, ground, tapped, machined, filled, sanded, and painted. It stays pliable for about 30 minutes after mixing, sets in 4-6 hours, and cures fully in 15-24 hours. It's water-proof; petroleum-, chemical-, and acid-resistent; resists shock, vibration, and extreme temperature fluctuations, and withstands temperatures up to 500° F. J-B WELD is super strong, non-toxic, and safe to use. Before it sets, you can clean up with soap and water..

I think it might depend on the wording "withstands temperatures up to 500 F "

regards emma

05-01-2014, 04:56 PM
500f is 260c and as far as I know a powder-coat oven bakes at 160degrees C (at least that's the temperature we used when we baked my bike).

So, the temperature might not be the issue.

Powdercoat "powder" is applied by air-spraying charged powder at an earthed target object. As long as the JB-Weld meets the electrical requirements and can get coated with the powder might be OK.



05-01-2014, 05:27 PM

Do you have before pics that show the joint any hole that you might have been trying to fill? I ask because it seems like you have a LOT of weld material there...

Also, before spending much time on it, I'd suggest making sure you can still screw a bottom bracket or cups into it to make sure it is not to warped to be used.


05-01-2014, 05:42 PM
Hi Bill,

The piece welded onto the end of the tube here is the suspension pivot sleeve.
I have re-assembled it and attached the rear triangle with no issues, it is square, the suspension triangle pivots perfectly.
I know it is a lot of weld material (my bad) I slit each of the "tails" down the centre and panel-beat them around the sleeve (once it was fixed in position) and then I welded all the seams and the two slits (top & bottom).
It will never come adrift, but it may look a little "ugly".

I may have to pretend to prefer "function" over "form" for this bike while I am practising.
By bike 6 or 7 I should be OK. ;-)



05-01-2014, 05:54 PM
Can JB Weld be used if one is going to powder coat?????

FYI....A quick check of the JB Weld.com and:

FAQ....Will J-B Weld conduct electricity?
Answer. No J-B Weld is not considered to be a conductor. It is an insulator.

So I would think anyplace JB Weld was used would not hold the powder coat.
Rattle Can time ?

05-01-2014, 06:02 PM
Ahhh, the old brute force method huh? ;)

In that case, it will most like be in a spot that wouldn't take much notice anyway which is a shame for all the hard work put into it.