Technical FAQ: Refinishing a titanium frame

  • By Lennard Zinn
  • Published Oct. 10, 2006
  • Updated Nov. 17, 2009 at 5:20 PM EDT

Dear Lennard,
You’ve probably answered this many times before, so feel free to point me to a reliable resource.

I’ve recently acquired an older titanium frame, my first experience with this material. It has what I think is called a brushed finish. Many of the decals are cracked and partially missing. I’d like to strip the whole frame and ride it au naturel. What the best way to remove the remaining decals and buff out shallow scratches? Steel wool? Emery cloth/paper? (wet or dry?) Any finish you would recommend applying afterwards?

Dear Bernard,
Remove the decals with solvent, protecting your hands with rubber gloves and wearing a respirator. Lacquer thinner or acetone works. Sand or steel wool the deeper scratches. Buff out the shallow scratches and revitalize the brushed finish with ScotchBrite pads.

FILED UNDER: Bikes and Tech / Technical FAQ TAGS: / / /

Lennard Zinn

Lennard Zinn

Our longtime technical writer joined VeloNews in 1987. He is also a framebuilder, a former U.S. National Team rider, and author of many bicycle books, including Zinn and the Art of Mountain Bike Maintenance and Zinn and the Art of Road Bike Maintenance, as well as Zinn and the Art of Triathlon Bikes and Zinn's Cycling Primer: Maintenance Tips and Skill Building for Cyclists. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in physics from Colorado College. Readers can send brief technical questions to Ask LZ.

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