BritBike Forum logo
BritBike SponsorBritBike SponsorBritBike SponsorBritBike SponsorBritBike Sponsor SteadfastCyclesBritBike SponsorBritBike SponsorBritBike SponsorBritBike SponsorHepolite PistonsBritBike Sponsor
Upgrade to: Gold Membership | Premium Membership | Vendor Membership | Site Sponsor Membership
Member Spotlight
smitty
smitty
cleveland,ohio
Posts: 87
Joined: April 2002
ShoutChat Box
Comment Guidelines: Do post respectful and insightful comments. Don't flame, hate, spam.
Search eBay for motorcycle parts in following countries
Australia, Canada, France, Holland, Italy, United Kingdom, USA
Random Gallery photo
a word from..
Manuals on DVD (Shipping included)
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Rate Thread
Best way to do decals?
#808919 05/14/20 4:23 pm
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 5,099
Likes: 8
Mark Z Offline OP
Britbike forum member
OP Offline
Britbike forum member
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 5,099
Likes: 8
I'm talking about fiberglass side panels and the top of the fuel tank on a '67 Lightning. I know there've been discussions on this, but I'm lousy at finding old threads. I recall from those discussions that there are two or three different kinds of decals/stickers/transfers. What is the best kind to use, and the best way to apply them, in terms of appearance and durability?


Mark Z

'65(lower)/'66(upper, wheels, front end, controls)/'67(seat, exhaust, fuel tank, headlamp)/'70(frame) A65 Bitsa.
Support Your #1 BritBike Forum!

Check out British motorcycles for sale: British Motorcycles on e-Bay UK, British motorcycles on e-Bay North America
Re: Best way to do decals?
Mark Z #808928 05/14/20 5:28 pm
Joined: Aug 2012
Posts: 805
Likes: 4
Britbike forum member
Offline
Britbike forum member
Joined: Aug 2012
Posts: 805
Likes: 4
[Linked Image]I like the decals from these people. https://classictransfers.co.uk/my-account/
Purchased some with clear background from other places and they sucked. You could see the clear under paint. These are vinyl and work fine under clear. Key is to mist light costs first and then build clear to a gloss. This company actually includes instructions for whatever decal you receive. Just my 2 cents worth.


Bill
1974 Norton Commando
1966 Lightning
1965 Lightning Rocket
1966 Norton Atlas
1967 Norton Atlas
1948 Panhead
Re: Best way to do decals?
Mark Z #808956 05/14/20 11:11 pm
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 6,482
Likes: 14
Britbike forum member
Offline
Britbike forum member
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 6,482
Likes: 14
Originally Posted by Mark Z
I know there've been discussions on this, but I'm lousy at finding old threads.


Mark,

There is another board here on the BritBike site that is dedicated to decals and all that comes with it.

BritBike Decal Forum


Jon W.


1957 6T Thunderbird 650
1968 T100R Daytona 500
1971 TR6R Tiger 650
1970 BSA A65F 650
1955 Tiger 100 - Project
1971 BSA A65 650 - Project
1972 Norton Commando 750 "Combat"


"Every time I listen to AC/DC, so do my neighbors"

Re: Best way to do decals?
Mark Z #809012 05/15/20 12:33 pm
Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 3,537
Likes: 10
Britbike forum member
Offline
Britbike forum member
Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 3,537
Likes: 10
"decals" refers to what are termed "water-slide transfers," like we applied to model cars and airplanes as kids.
Problem is: today's sellers call EVERYTHING a "decal" or a "transfer," but many of them are just "peel-and-stick" glue-backed labels.

True "TRANSFERS" used varnish to apply - a more complicated process. BSA generally used those.
But I don't know if anyone makes those any more.

Of the two most available today, I prefer the water-slide decals, as once in place they can be sealed with a thin coat of water-based varnish.
The "stickers" sometines tend to shrink, leaving a gummy ring around them that collects dirt.

Re: Best way to do decals?
Mark Z #809024 05/15/20 3:02 pm
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 5,099
Likes: 8
Mark Z Offline OP
Britbike forum member
OP Offline
Britbike forum member
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 5,099
Likes: 8
Ok, I'm convinced now that waterslide decals are the way to go. Can you tell me more about the varnish process? I've never used that before. First, is it readily available in hardware stores? Brush on or spray on? Do you have to coat the entire object, or just over the decals? With this stuff, is there a danger of screwing up the (fresh!) paint job? (We are not professional painters by any means.)


Mark Z

'65(lower)/'66(upper, wheels, front end, controls)/'67(seat, exhaust, fuel tank, headlamp)/'70(frame) A65 Bitsa.
Re: Best way to do decals?
Mark Z #809043 05/15/20 7:32 pm
Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 3,537
Likes: 10
Britbike forum member
Offline
Britbike forum member
Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 3,537
Likes: 10
What you want to cover and protect the decal after it is in place is a WATER-BASED varnish.

As the decals arew applied with water, and water does not make the ink run, a water-based varnish will not affect the decal.

I have used a brush-on varnish of this type, and covered only the decal,and about 1/8 or 3/16 of an inch surrounding it.
Apply a coat, let it dry, then apply a second coat for further protection.

I recently saw a bike I restored for a customer about 35 years ago. He waxed and polished the bike a lot, and the varnish was
just beginning to be "polished off" to expose the decal itself.

Re: Best way to do decals?
Mark Z #809046 05/15/20 7:48 pm
Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 10,414
Likes: 16
Britbike forum member
Offline
Britbike forum member
Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 10,414
Likes: 16
"Back in the day" when varnish decals were the only "game in town" they were applied using gold size. It is what is used to apply gold leaf (illegal to sell in California). The decal had to be washed after applying to remove any of the adhesive used on the decal. They also never clear coated over them.

Today the results of clear coating over a water slide or vinyl transfers will vary with the clear coat used. As with the varnish decals the water slides should be washed with water after applying.

As paint is changing almost monthly, and is different in different parts of teh country, it is recommended to apply a sample decal to something that is painted and lightly spray several "dry" coats of clear, then a finish coat over the decal and wait a while to see the reaction. When you learn the process repeat it on the decal you are using.

You guys in California are on your own and should practice with available clears before committing one to a finished paint job. Of course next week they could change the formulation and "all bets are off."

Re: Best way to do decals?
Mark Z #809048 05/15/20 8:04 pm
Joined: May 2013
Posts: 6,658
Likes: 17
Britbike forum member
Offline
Britbike forum member
Joined: May 2013
Posts: 6,658
Likes: 17
Practice before lacquering.

Big decals are harder to do with water slides. The 67 lightning power decal being a good example, you want to try and remove
All the gum without damaging the decal, once the decal has dried.... use several dust coats of lacquer, let each coat dry (this is most important) if you let it go tacky then apply
Another coat the decal will start to shrivel up. If you apply
Lots of dust coats until the decal is completely
Covered you can start applying full coats.

If you want the decal to be totally flat apply Lots of coats (about 14 if using a rattle can minimum) then flat the area back until level then apply a couple more Lacquer coats after flatting back the lacquer across the whole panel.


beerchug

(Display name changed for cyber security reasons)

Re: Best way to do decals?
Mark Z #809059 05/15/20 9:59 pm
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 5,099
Likes: 8
Mark Z Offline OP
Britbike forum member
OP Offline
Britbike forum member
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 5,099
Likes: 8
Allan and John, you seem to be dismissing Irish Swede's prescribed method of brushing water-based varnish over the decals. This seems like a more benign method of covering the decals than spraying with clear lacquer or polyurethane. In fact, I'm not even sure exactly what paint was used on the panels, but I believe it was urethane. Even if the clear coat is compatible, I'm not confident enough in my spraying technique to ensure that I would not mess up a fresh and expensive paint job. So unless there's a downside to the brush-on water-based varnish approach, that would be my first choice.

Allan, can you clarify "...you want to try and remove all the gum without damaging the decal,..."? i.e., how do you do that?


Mark Z

'65(lower)/'66(upper, wheels, front end, controls)/'67(seat, exhaust, fuel tank, headlamp)/'70(frame) A65 Bitsa.
Re: Best way to do decals?
Mark Z #809063 05/15/20 10:47 pm
Joined: May 2013
Posts: 6,658
Likes: 17
Britbike forum member
Offline
Britbike forum member
Joined: May 2013
Posts: 6,658
Likes: 17
Hi Mark, not dismissing Irish’s comment and have seen good painters use this technique, but I always choose to lacquer, it hides the decal’s edges completely making it look part of the paint.

To remove the gum it depends on decal size, if it’s small enough you can gently pull them though your fingers. If it’s a large and flimsy decal like the lightning power decal then leave it to soak for a long as possible. Also buy twice the decals you need. There’s a high chance it’ll get fudged up.

Another tip is don’t have your soaking water too warm, baby bath water is a good aim. Hot from the kettle will kit it instantly for example. If it’s too cold they don’t let go off the backing so easily.


beerchug

(Display name changed for cyber security reasons)

Re: Best way to do decals?
Allan G #809071 05/16/20 2:34 am
Joined: Mar 2014
Posts: 718
Likes: 1
Britbike forum member
Offline
Britbike forum member
Joined: Mar 2014
Posts: 718
Likes: 1
Originally Posted by Allan G
Practice before lacquering.

Most suppliers will send some junk water slide to practice with if you ask for it when you order.

CZ

Re: Best way to do decals?
Mark Z #809072 05/16/20 2:59 am
Joined: Aug 2011
Posts: 235
Likes: 1
Britbike forum member
Offline
Britbike forum member
Joined: Aug 2011
Posts: 235
Likes: 1
I really like classic transfers . These people really care about their work and have great customer service. They double checked my order just before they sent it, they sent a spare or two to test and sent easy to follow instructions. His wife sent me a nice thank you note. I first used Their transfers about 15 yrs.ago and they still look great.

1 member likes this: Beach
Re: Best way to do decals?
Mark Z #809099 05/16/20 1:54 pm
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 5,099
Likes: 8
Mark Z Offline OP
Britbike forum member
OP Offline
Britbike forum member
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 5,099
Likes: 8
Ok, ready to make a plan. Thanks to everyone for all the helpful input!


Mark Z

'65(lower)/'66(upper, wheels, front end, controls)/'67(seat, exhaust, fuel tank, headlamp)/'70(frame) A65 Bitsa.
Re: Best way to do decals?
Irish Swede #809248 05/18/20 1:18 am
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 342
Britbike forum member
Offline
Britbike forum member
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 342
Irish Swede, what brand of water based varnish do you use on the decals?

Re: Best way to do decals?
Mark Z #809665 05/20/20 7:54 pm
Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 3,537
Likes: 10
Britbike forum member
Offline
Britbike forum member
Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 3,537
Likes: 10
Sorry for the delay in replying. I decided to check to see if the water-based varnish I used is still available in local stores.

The chain of MENARDS stores still has it, and the selection is better than when I last bought mine.

VARATHANE water-based polyurethane varnish is still available, but in a wider selection of finishes and methods to apply it than a few years ago.
It comes in BLUE-labeled cans for brush application, but now is also available in spray cans, and selections are gloss, semi-gloss, and flat finish.
I have not tried the spray can version yet, but applying it that way would eliminate contact with the decal with a brush-on coat.

Also available is MINWAX water-based "polycrylic" varnish, again in brush-on or spray can versions, and again, your choice of gloss, semi-gloss, or flat finishes.

I guess "you pays your money and you makes your choice."

But I would choose the GLOSS finish varnish, to match the gloss paint on the surface to which the decal will be applied.
If you choose the spray-can version, mask an area around the decal, to have about a 1/8 or 3/16 inch margin, and apply a light first coat.
Then, when that dries, follow with a heavier final coat, which will serve as protection for the decal.

As a precaution, apply a decal you won't use to a smooth painted surface, let it dry, then experiment with the varnish to see if you get the result you want.

Re: Best way to do decals?
Irish Swede #809751 05/21/20 2:47 am
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 342
Britbike forum member
Offline
Britbike forum member
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 342
Thanks Irish, I'll have to check those out. I have had good luck with Minwax spar polyurethane, but it has a yellow tint to it and only looks right when the decal is on a black frame or tank. My next two projects have non black colored tanks and it would be nice to have a crystal clear coating over the decals.

Re: Best way to do decals?
Mark Z #809885 05/22/20 2:15 am
Joined: Nov 2012
Posts: 50
Britbike forum member
Offline
Britbike forum member
Joined: Nov 2012
Posts: 50
I recently did some water transfer decals on a 67 Harley Sprint SS. I used polyurethane clear and I wanted them buried under the clear for durability. Here is how I did it, came out well.

First off, make sure there are no sand marks under the decal or they will show through. That means either a put the decal directly over the base coat before clear coat or if you want to do them on top over a coat of clear make sure if you color sand the first coat of clear you do not sand where the decal will be applied.

Secondly, use a clear that does not require reducer, evidently the reducer may react with the decal causing it to wrinkle. Then apply very light/dry coats of clear over only the decal and allow to dry to tack between the coats. Not sure if the amount of light coats is critical, I did 3.

Finally, apply the final coats of clear over the lightly coated decal area in the way you would normally apply them. I applied 2 sets of 2 coats with a overnight cure between the sets being very careful over the decal area during the color sanding of the first set.

Came out great, absolutely no decal edge showing within the clear and completely flat where the decal ended. I don't think I would use this method over a vinyl sticker as the you would need a ton of clear thickness to build over the thickness of the decal and would run the risk of hitting the decal when color sanding the clear. I also wouldn't use this method if I was doing a concours style restoration as it isn't the way it was done at the factory, in that case I would do it the way Irish Swede outlined as it would come out much more "correct' looking.


1970 BSA A65L
1974 Yamaha RD350
1975 Honda CB400F

Moderated by  Jon W. Whitley 

Link Copied to Clipboard
Home | Sponsors | Newsletter | Regalia | Calendar | Bike Project | BritBike Museum | Spiders Cartoons | DVD- Manuals & Parts books
Upgrade to: Gold Membership | Premium Membership | Vendor Membership | Site Sponsor Membership
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.4