stripping and polishing a frame

i want to strip/sand the paint off of my aluminum trek frame - the paint is pretty shot. i’m about to hit up google, but i’m sure there are multiple ways to do this, so i figured i’d check here for recommendations first. i want to polish and clearcoat the bare aluminum. anyone recommended methods/guides? environmentally friendly/non-toxic methods preferred even if it means more work.

the best thing about an aluminum frame is the paint can get all chipped to shit and you dont have to worry!

the least non toxic is grabbing some sandpaper and a little elbow grease

If you have a place that does powder coating nearby, they should be able to strip the frame for you quickly.

does that mean the most toxic?

that’s the most non toxic

Don’t forget your dust mask. That paint ain’t so good for your lungs. And band-aids for all them blisters…

Aircraft Stripper And Mothers Mag Polish FTW!

Cool climbing bike.

I wrote some details in this thread:


Before you polish, you want to strip it. I’d recommend something like this:

Basically, any “aircraft paint remover” you can probably find it in an auto parts store.

Thanks, I built it for Mt Washington. For Mt Ascutney in Vermont I put a 32t chanring on as well as the 20T

I saved a few grams by stripping the paint! :colbert:

I want to do this to my trek now!
you guys suck.

I can’t imagine riding a bike up Mt. Washington. There are some parts where just walking it isn’t much fun. How low do the GI go on that? You must be crawling at the low gear.

20/25 for 21.1"

I find riding up easy then hiking up through Tuckermans. I get the ride over with in 1:37:00 or so. Hiking up and down is an all day knee killer.

Some of the longer Northeasts MTB races or the D2R2 are much worse in terms of suffering.

[quote=“frankstoneline”]I want to do this to my trek now!
you guys suck.[/quote]

It takes many applications of stripper to get the paint out of all of the nooks and crannies. At first it seems like its going to be easy. The first coat takes 80% or more of the paint of revealing gleaming aluminum. But then the stubborn paint sticks.

Toothpicks and a throwaway electric toothbrush helped around the welds and braze-ons. The stripper will eat the plastic on the brush but I did get some useful life out of it.

brass brush, 3m makes some nice stuff that can go on a drill motor, too. (Roloc discs)

thanks for all the advice. sorry i am stupid - i realized that my frame is powdercoated though (at least i’m pretty certain… it’s a 2005 trek 1000). so i assume this means i can’t strip the frame with chemicals?

i’m leaning towards just using sandpaper as i have more time than money currently. anyone know how careful i have to be about not taking off any aluminum from the tubes? i assume the frame is overbuilt for my 140 lb self so i don’t have to worry too much…

My Rocky Mountain was powdercoated.

this stuff worked well ... ctid=12814

There are solvents that will dissolve powder coating. I’m not sure which, though. I’d suggest doing some research in that regard though, because chemical stripping is way, way easier than mechanical methods, which suck fucking ass.

The “aircraft paint remover” mentioned above can sometimes be found in auto parts stores in the auto body section.

I send a lot of stuff to the powder coater to be stripped and coated. They squirm a bit any time I give 'em powder coated parts.

I’d take it to a sandblaster.