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Old 03-27-2010, 12:58 PM   #1
lairdog
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Default Clear Coat over decals?

Anyone ever shoot Clear coat on top of Decals with good results?

The tank I am painting looks to have factory Harley decals on it.
these decals actually look pretty descent.
I need to re-Clear the tank since It is looking shabby, But want to keep the Decals intact. They have a very glossy appearance,
so I am thinking It is probably not going to work since sanding them
may jack them up. just wondering
if anyone here has done this with success.

*These Decals look like the type that are dunked in water before applied, & not a "Sticker" type that uses a glue, which would no doubt cause problems.
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Old 03-27-2010, 01:28 PM   #2
Creature13
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Default Re: Clear Coat over decals?

I'm interested in the answer to this too
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Old 03-27-2010, 02:06 PM   #3
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Default Re: Clear Coat over decals?

When I did a lot of shooting (several years ago) I was always told NOT to shoot / clear over "stickers" as they would wrinkle . I did do some research and did speak to people that have cleared over "decals".
This information is not fact, if it can be conformed please let me know because I am also curious.
"The wrinkling was due to the reducer in the clear reacting with the adhesion chemicals on the sticker". I was instructed to shoot a non-reduced clear in light coats to "seal" the decal. Once this has cured a scuff and recoat with your normal "clear".
Remember this was several years ago, I think decals and vinyl stickers have been "designed" to be cleared over by now...especially Harley decals...Call some decal / vinyl places, and talk to some jobbers at some body shops..Take notes, ask about products they use, if they follow the factory formulation, hell call one of the tech lines or speak to a field rep for the product...these guys a former jobbers themselves with years of experience. they are also on top of the formulation of their product as it is constantly changing due to EPA rules.
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Old 03-27-2010, 02:07 PM   #4
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Default Re: Clear Coat over decals?

Do not sand on (or close around) the decals, instead just rough the
surface of the old clear with a scotchbrite pad. Take care to NOT cut
through the old clearcoat, just to not make an edge or hole for the new
clear/solvent to f**k it all up...

Also, when spraying the new clear, take it slow&easy, no thick wet layers.

Personally, have tried this three times, and succeeded twice....

The third time, there was an unnoticed scratch in the middle of the decal,
the new clear went through that and formed a nice big bubble there.
Lots of bad language etc followed.
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Old 03-27-2010, 03:40 PM   #5
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Default Re: Clear Coat over decals?

I have cleared over decals many times with success. I only use 2 part clear (clear/activator, no reducer) Your Harley decals should be cleared over at the factory so as mentioned before scuff over the old clear with care around and over the factory decals and if you are hesitant start with a couple of light coats and finish wet after the flash time.
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Old 03-27-2010, 03:59 PM   #6
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Default Re: Clear Coat over decals?

These Harley decals DO appear to be factory clear coated, I just wasn't 100% sure. Just to be sure I think I will follow the good advise of lightly scuffing with ScotchBrite, Them a couple of very light UN-reduced (hardener only) Coats,
followed by a couple of fully reduced wet coats with about 15m flash between the wet coats.
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Old 03-27-2010, 07:18 PM   #7
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Default Re: Clear Coat over decals?

My buddy did a set tanks with stickers. Only problem he had was the fine tips on the stickers. They wanted to curl up when the clear was setting up. Don't know if laying your first few coats thin and not spraying much on the sticker till the final few coats would ease the tension on the surface of the sticker.
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Old 03-27-2010, 07:31 PM   #8
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Default Re: Clear Coat over decals?

Quote:
Originally Posted by lairdog View Post
These Harley decals DO appear to be factory clear coated, I just wasn't 100% sure. Just to be sure I think I will follow the good advise of lightly scuffing with ScotchBrite, Them a couple of very light UN-reduced (hardener only) Coats,
followed by a couple of fully reduced wet coats with about 15m flash between the wet coats.
I don't want to mislead you! The clear I use never uses a reducer, so I have never had a problem with reducer reacting! If your clear calls for reducer you should use it so it sprays right and flows out nice and smooth. If you haven't bought the clear yet or can find a different one (without reducer) do so. Actually If you don't sand through the factory clear you shouldn't worry about the clear reacting to your decals because they won't be touching them, just the abraided factory finish.
I would say, scuff/sand with 600 grit/1000 if the factory finish is faded but there are no scratches to be feathered out and re clear as indicated in the tech sheets that correspond with your brand of clear.

hope that helps and doesn't confuse.
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Old 03-27-2010, 11:10 PM   #9
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Default Re: Clear Coat over decals?

i dont know alot about paint but what about those old 3/4 helmets that were covered in PBR and budweiser labels? seems those are cleared over.
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Old 03-28-2010, 08:28 AM   #10
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Default Re: Clear Coat over decals?

its fine clear over them all day long most decals have some kind of clear ,old cheap ones made of paper could wrinkle but most arnt red paper
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Old 03-28-2010, 08:28 AM   #11
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Default Re: Clear Coat over decals?

Bicycle companies having been clearing over decals for years now.
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Old 03-28-2010, 09:37 AM   #12
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Default Re: Clear Coat over decals?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Coco View Post
Bicycle companies having been clearing over decals for years now.
...as I stated before, these decals/stickers MADE to be cleared???
I will do some more investigating on this.....regarding BOTH clear and decals/stickers...
More to follow...
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Old 04-06-2010, 07:59 PM   #13
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Default Re: Clear Coat over decals?

Ok, back with some information....I talked to several painters and suppliers... the information was pretty much the same in that "auto" painters and suppliers stated "it isn't recommended to clear over decals or vinyl".. even when I stated that I had done this in the past with mixed success, H.D.s and other manufactures are doing it, I got the proverbial cringed face... This told me I was talking to someone with little or no experience with this situation.
I then turned to "the guys"... these are the people that aren't working with insurance companies, have "mixed" paints and clears (the way you aren't supposed to) and get the job done.. From what I found clearing over decals and vinyl graphics is a every day occurrence. Reason being the newer Urethane Clears... they have lower VOCs and do not require as much reducer if any. Just make sure your surfaces are clean, the decal has a small amount of "bite" on it's surface and don't try to bury it with one coat.
Did find out some cool information on "making" your own tranfers / decals with a laser jet printer MADE to be cleared or laminated....more on that later....
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Old 04-06-2010, 08:02 PM   #14
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Default Re: Clear Coat over decals?

if possible use a good quality 2 part (non reduced) urethane clear..
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Old 04-06-2010, 09:11 PM   #15
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Default Re: Clear Coat over decals?

clear away, done it 100 plus times over

all paint mfg's will all tell you not to because they all want to cover their asses, they want you to use their etch-surfacer-sealer-base-and clear within their guidelines to prevent warranty of their products

just apply urethane base, then use clear base,apply sticker,GENTLY scotch brite with grey pad on sticker only, use first coat of clear lightly across the sticker( if you use medium coat-the clear will run off the sticker),apply second coat after 1st coat has got out of dust, 3rd coat normal

wait a couple of days and gently block without going through clear on the sticker area and reclear for 3 more coats and it will be identical to harleys stickers in every way

do not bake-or heatlamp the stickers or work piece at all
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Last edited by suprrat; 04-06-2010 at 09:20 PM.
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Old 04-07-2010, 10:07 AM   #16
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Default Re: Clear Coat over decals?

Here's the secret.

After you put on the decals, let it set for a day or so. If you didn't use water or any kind of transfer agent, then it doesn't matter.

Mist several coats of clear over the decal allowing at least 30 minutes between coats. When I say "mist", I really mean "mist". Very light coats, almost to the point where it doesn't seem like you're putting any clear on at all. The key is to bury the decal without "wetting it out". The solvents will lift the decal if it is put on too heavily. Once you have several coats and the decal appears to be "buried', you can start laying on some heavier coats. Even here, lighter coats until a good heavy build is achieved is good. You can always go back and scuff it and reclear the whole thing with heavy coats, after the decal is buried and the clear has had a chance to set up overnight.

The real secret is patience. Go slow and don't put too much on, too quickly. I've cleared over many decals and even some hokey ass stickers from bubble gum machines (not my idea), and have only had problems when i rushed it.

Hope that helps.
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Last edited by toxiceric; 04-07-2010 at 10:10 AM.
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Old 04-07-2010, 12:55 PM   #17
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Default Re: Clear Coat over decals?

I don't know much about painting and I picked up decals off of ebay for my XLCH. I had an experienced painter spray my tank and tins and it came out great, he never said that he might have a problem with the decals. Here is a photo of the tank with the cleared over decal.

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Old 04-07-2010, 01:05 PM   #18
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Default Re: Clear Coat over decals?

...Problem....

What problem..???

That looks sweet......
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Old 04-07-2010, 02:19 PM   #19
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Default Re: Clear Coat over decals?

I did a few years back .... On a RC boat I was messing with.All I can say is that the stickers are still on,looking new and let me tell you that fuel has fallen all over this thing and I don't remember ever even wasting my time even wiping it off. I am not sure it would be the same on a bike but it shouldn't be verry different.
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