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T: Fuel Tank Advice on applying VOC petrol tank transfers please.

Jim Bush

Active Website User
VOC Member
I need some advice from an experienced painter on applying the card backed transfers supplied by VOC please.

I assumed these are standard waterslide transfers and I applied them the usual way by soaking and sliding into position, dabbing dry and getting air bubbles out with soft cloth. They dried overnight very nicely, nice and flat. I hit them with a couple of clear coats of House of Kolor urethane (light first coat and allowed to set up, followed by flow coat), which was fine initially - but after an hour or so they started to bubble, then after a while longer looked quite bad. After a few days, I decided I would see what's going on and found they had not stuck at all to the sanded paint underneath. A complete redo required.

I came up with two reasons against me succeeding
- I had used wax and grease remover to clean off my fingerprints from applying the gold leaf lines and I believe at this final step in the process is a no no - and should have used soap and water, or the HOK post sanding cleaner. The clear coat also was not properly adhered either and I could lift if off in small sections which leads me to believe that the W&G remover was the issue
- I applied the transfers to a sanded sealer surface - wet sanded 600-1000grit, rather than the unsanded black base coat.

I have taken the tank back to primer and will be redoing the gold leaf lines and transfers again. I have one more set of transfers and must nail it this time.

I read in the Whitakerpedia about using meths to apply the transfers- this seems drastic? That may be old advice for early decals.

I am an 25yr experienced hobby painter, with a small booth, air supplied mask and proper guns. I do about a dozen paint jobs a year typically for Norton's - mainly the dry metal flake of the 70's. I specifically use the House the Kolor products and have never had any issues like this. Thankfully this is my own tank.
 

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timetraveller

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
I am not a professional painter so please treat what I write with care but from my experience with base coat all one need to do is to very lightly sand it down with water and, say, 1,000 grade wet or dry. Once it is well dried out,, ?overnight or heated for some time, then I do the same as you. Use water to release and slide the transfer into place. Pat it into place to remove water and air and then let it dry out again. Then just the same as you; a very light spray of lacquer to seal it and then once it is set some more layers of lacquer. This works for me but I only spray for myself, not commercially.
 

Ian Savage

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Jim, the key words in TT's post was 'very light spray' the modern transfer inks are more susceptible to solvents I've just put a head lug transfer on my twin and probably did 6 or 7 very light dustings of acrylic lacquer allowing each to dry.
 
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Jim Bush

Active Website User
VOC Member
Yes, agreed - very light initial coats, allowed to dry. There is always the temptation to just keep going once started. Like anything with painting- patience and discipline.

It has been many decades since I used laquer - I don't believe it has been available here in Canada for some time. I have been using the 2 pot urethane finishes - they have proper UV protection and the HOK ones are gas stain resistant, but the solvents & catalysts are very unique. This time I used a new HOK Clear - USC-01 their latest show clear, but has a new catalyst. I have had good results in the past with transfers using their standard UC35 Clear - I think I will go back to that to be sure.
 

Somer

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
A friend of mine has probably done 200+ Vincent tanks. He gave up on waterslide decals years ago. Modern paints attack them. Vinyl is immune to it but due to its thickness, they stand proud. He finally had some very thin vinyl ones made and uses those. He said every batch of paint is a new learning experience due to the changing composition of paint. One time he had to re-do a tank 4 times! Occasionally I hear of people having success with waterslides/clear. You might practice on the bottom of your tank. Good luck.
 

greg brillus

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
My painter has done loads of tanks/decals for me with the supplied VOC spares co waterslides.........He uses a small bottle of some kind of "Modeller's dope" this must be like a type of wall paper paste that helps to bond the decal to the painted tank surface. i think it is specifically designed for modeller's to do literally the same when applying decals to model aircraft........He never has any issues at all.
 

nkt267

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
When I did my tank I sprayed a coat of 2 pack lacquer before I put the transfers on, somewhere to rub back to if it goes wrong.Left it to dry for a couple of days and applied the transfers,again left it for a few days in the warm to make sure they had dried. Gave a light,very light ,dusting with the 2 pack clear again and let that dry for a few days..Then a coat of lacquer. Once dry do the lines and then a couple more coats of lacquer over the whole lot..John
 

mercurycrest

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
That is the stuff! Testor's model paints sell it in the USA as "Decal Set". Thanks for the UK equivalent's name.
 

Somer

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
I wonder if that would work on the original transfers ?
 

Jim Bush

Active Website User
VOC Member
I used to use this product when detailing model trains - it is quite amazing and works - Strangely, I had forgotten all about it when it came to the Vincent transfers/decals. I may even have a bottle buried away somewhere. Thanks.

EDIT - I found this on the paint shelf buried away, should do the trick.
 

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Nigel Spaxman

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Jim I only did this job once and it was a few years ago now. I didn't have the problem you had. I think I put a coat of clear over the black before the water slide, but after the gold. I don't think I did any cleaning or sanding before the water slides.
 

kieronsykes

New Website User
Non-VOC Member
Having painted several Vincent tanks over the last few years for members of the VOC i personally dont use water slide transfers anymore. Whist i did wet sand with 1000 grit prior to applying the transfers, i've had too many fail once the 2k lacquer (without reducer/thinner mixed in) is applied. I've found that even though when the transfer was applied and dried for 2-3 days, there appears to be no air bubbles, and then lacquering in bubbles or wrinkles appeared from nowhere. I always use vinyl decals now and build up the layers of lacquer using high solids lacquer to get the build until the decal feels almost flat to the surface.
 

vibrac

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Classic transfers instructions (which i was reading today for my Douglas transfers )water slide (the same type as Vincent) say
"Do not flat surface before applying transfer"
they also say if you lacquer use 2K ( as you say) "no extra thinners" but add "do a light coat followed by a full coat 30 mins later"
BUT they say "not all 2K lacquers are the same" and offer no guarantees!
so if anyone have success with 2K tell us what 2K you used
 

Jim Bush

Active Website User
VOC Member
Having painted several Vincent tanks over the last few years for members of the VOC i personally dont use water slide transfers anymore. Whist i did wet sand with 1000 grit prior to applying the transfers, i've had too many fail once the 2k lacquer (without reducer/thinner mixed in) is applied. I've found that even though when the transfer was applied and dried for 2-3 days, there appears to be no air bubbles, and then lacquering in bubbles or wrinkles appeared from nowhere. I always use vinyl decals now and build up the layers of lacquer using high solids lacquer to get the build until the decal feels almost flat to the surface.
Sadly, my latest effort ended up the same - full week before applying decals, used Solvaset dope to affix, let dry another 2-3 days, then 1 light coat urethane clear, let set up and the then final 2 coats. Looked great for about 2 days, then as you say the bubbles started and does not look good now.

I wondering about using the gold leaf size as an adhesive first. But I am still thinking the decal material itself is reacting to the paint.

Where do you source the vinyl decals?

I am not sure what 2K is - here in Canada/USA we 2 part urethane clears are the typical
 

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vibrac

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
It specifically says in capitals
"CLEAR CELLULOSE AND SINGLE PACK ACRYILIC SPRAYS WILL CAUSE THE TRANSFER TO SHRINK"
I emphasise that these are not the instructions specifically given by Vincent spares but they are for water slide transfers so I have followed them
 

kieronsykes

New Website User
Non-VOC Member
Sadly, my latest effort ended up the same - full week before applying decals, used Solvaset dope to affix, let dry another 2-3 days, then 1 light coat urethane clear, let set up and the then final 2 coats. Looked great for about 2 days, then as you say the bubbles started and does not look good now.

I wondering about using the gold leaf size as an adhesive first. But I am still thinking the decal material itself is reacting to the paint.

Where do you source the vinyl decals?

I am not sure what 2K is - here in Canada/USA we 2 part urethane clears are the typical
2K = 2 part i.e. Product (ClearCost) + Hardner
I buy the vinyl decals from either classictransfers.co.uk or from http://www.bike-stickers.com/homepage.htm (the latter lately as classic transfers have staff who are off ill).
 

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