Bare metal builds thread - Let's see em'!

There seems to be a lot of builders stripping paint this year. Some are media blasting and some are doing it by hand. :)

I wanted to try one for some time now and did it by hand to preserve all the scratches, toning, and "character marks" that would have been cleaned up by beadblasting the frame. Due to the previous owner using some kind of indestructible finish, It ended up being a lot more work than I thought and I have new-found respect for anybody that's doing one of these.

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Cool thread idea, I am building in bare metal this year (My first) so I'm pretty stoked there are more than just me. Mine was stripped before I got it then was painted with a really cheap blue paint that was old and starting to flake off so it was easy to peel off the majority with a razor blade and finish it up with a sanding sponge to bring the metal to an even and consistent finish.

Also just a tip for future reference if you don't want to harm the metal by media blasting and don't want to kill your hands by hand sanding it you can use easy off oven cleaner and let it soak for about 30 minutes and it will loosen the paint to the point of bubbling and falling off. A few applications and it will be bare. I used this method in 15 minute intervals last year to break down some of the paint on my RaTornado build. (I just wanted to distress the finish rather than remove it)
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My build is in bare metal for a different reason, because I'm building it from scratch.

I'm not positive of what its final finish will be, but I suspect that no paint will go with the hodge-podge of parts that I've collected, so I'll probably end up coating in in boiled linseed oil, and calling it good.
Aug 21, 2013
Another good product for stripping the paint of is Citri-Strip. Its non toxic and can be used indoors.

Excessive sanding is a waste of time. Strip, then wipe, then minor sanding if needed/wanted.


I build stuff.
Jul 1, 2010
Roanoke Rapids, NC
My build, Freecycled Fifty, will be bare metal, though I will be clear coating and hopefully getting it pinstriped.

I used a hardcore spray on chemical stripper that will burn the new out of you if it barely gets on you and you must wear sunscreen since it rips a hole in the ozone layer above your head.

That being said, you always get some stubborn paint that wants to cling on, like that ketchup still in the bottle that just won't freaking let go.

Anyway, after the stripper I use a wire wheel (straight wire, not twisted) to get the rest and sand paper to work out any more problem areas or to correct swirl marks.
Apr 11, 2014
I am doing the bare metal thing. I first broke down some primed pieces with some goof off and realized that stuff was crap. I moved to the chemical that should have had a warning label that it will take five years off your life. I made the mistake of using a brush scrubber that flicked tiny pieces of the surface of the sun across my forearms. My son in Colorado called me to tell me his skin was on fire! The engine I am using was the most stubborn for this. I want almost all bare metal and a touch of black.
Sep 22, 2011
First, I used a wire wheel on my frame, second, paint stripper and then I finished it with a foam sanding block. I wore a pair of Nitrile gloves and they didn't hold up to the stripper. For my fork, I started with the stripper. My wife suggested that I double glove it when I was going to play with the stripper, and that actually helped out. I was careful to scrape and wipe everything down and it was easier than the wire wheel on my grinder. I used the foam sanding block to finish my fork and it looks really nice.

Jul 26, 2011
San Antonio, TX
Mine is bare-ish? I've stripped most of the paint, but left a little to add a splash of color and contrast to the rust that will come later.

I did mine with a wire wheel, in a power drill, dialed down somewhere in the mid range.
Apr 11, 2014
I am doing the bare metal build. I just like the look of the steel with brass. I know it is part of the vintage build process I have been able to get rid of the rust and paint I just have pitting from the rust which does not bother. I used a couple de-rusters I tried the goof off pro-remover for paint which was a joke then I moved to the industrial which was a nasty gel to work with (I used it on the engine that will be in the bike as well which will be mostly a steel and alum finish). I don't think paint would make this look any better it has a nice patina that will get better with age. I am thinking of oiling it or waxing and keeping it to a metal with black accents.

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Dec 9, 2010
I've had a few bare metal builds in the past couple of years but they have either found new homes or end up painted.
As the build off has come to a close and my bike KING BEE has not been painted, it will remain as a bare metal bike for some time to come.
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