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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am thinking of trying to do this over the upcoming weekend (weather is looking kind of yucky). Anyway, I have been reading where some people took a file to the fins first, before they started the sanding. What is the reasoning behind this? I know there is a protective coating on the fins, but won't sanding take that off? I know it's going to be a LONG process anyway, so I just thought I'd ask for any opinions. Thanks!
 

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The purpose of fileling the fins is to polish the edges tthen use 1/8 inch pinstripping tape before paint when the paint is dry peel off pinstripeing tape and you have a nice defined line on the fins polished out it looks good basicaly like a HD motor C-ya Bullett
 
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The reason for the file is to flatten the edges. You file in an angled pattern across more than one fin at a time to keep a nice uniform look. I started with a coarse file then went to a finer file then 220 grit sandpaper 320,400,600,800,1000,1500,2000 then polished it. Once you get to the 2000 grit a simple polishing same as you do your wheels will bring it right out to a bright finish. Then take 1/8 inch pinstripe tape and tape off the fin edges. Mask the engine and paint.

Alot of people are using VHT engine paint and thats fine but if you want a finish on your jugs that will be as shiny next year as the day you put it on .. find yourself a local auto paint store and see if they will mix you up some concept paint with hardener and put it in a spray can. There is a store here that does that. I was told by the guy at the paint store once its mixed you only have a few hours working time before it sets up.

As for the concept paint.. I have been told by many show car owners thats what to use on an engine. I also saw a 427 corvette engine that had been done a couple years ago. That car does get driven and the motor shines like new still. They had also done the valve covers black then with the paint still wet wiped off the fins and then shot it with clear concept. Looks very nice.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
OK, I am doing it this weekend. How big (or small) are the files that you guys used? One bigger, one smaller to get in the tight spaces? Also (and yes, I know this is a dumb question...can't tell you the last time I bought a file)do they make different types of files? (ie. rougher or smoother) Just don't wanna mess it up. :)
 

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I got my files at Sears. I bought a 5 pack of assorted small files and I bought one large metal file of a medium grit. This project took me 30+ hours. I took my time to make sure I liked the end result. I also used a di-grinder to shave down the fins around the spark plug cover area. Make sure to lightly rough up the case before painting, and use plenty of degreaser. Also use an air compressor to spray any water that is still inbetween the fins. Instead of pinstripe to cover the fins, I bought the 3m quarter inch tape used for painting flames and tanks, worked great and came off smooth.
Here are pictures of the finished product, they kinda suck because they were taken with my phone.

Good luck and post some picks of the finished product! :D


[/list]
 
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Agreed on the 30plus hours. I know I have seen some posts on here stating they did it in 10-11-12 hours. I dont see how and get it right. To do the job right expect to be at it all weekend. Its worth the effort to get it right the first time. a nice clean finish. You will be pleased with the outcome. Also do it in natural light. Artifical light lets small file marks hide then when you roll it outside you have to back up and touch things up. I found that one out the hard way lol .. had one side done thought it looked great till I opened the garage door the next day and rolled it out in the sun .. oops missed a spot! :)

I still havent painted mine yet. I had it all taped off ready to shoot and I seen an Iron Horse up in town that had been done with a different twist. So I paused to look into that before I paint.
 

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Here's my earlier post again...

http://vtxoa.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t ... shed+edges

The filing is the most important step, and you will do LOTS of heavy filing, hours and hours, with the rough and medium files, to get that nice, flat, ungouged, exactly 1/8" wide, perfect fin edge. Then go 220 though 1000, then use the small polish wheel in the angle drill.... LIKE CHROME! The edges are taped with 1/8" MASKING TAPE, NOT pinstriping tape!.
The effects of doing it by hand, you get a very even and flat, and perfectly polished edges. The new Honda machined edge fins, don't look nearly as good as mine, and the fin edge widths CAN vary A LOT! True diamond-cut edges might be better than mine, but I haven't seen any lately. H-D is also a machined edge, but there machining is levels above the Honda edge finish, and the H-D motors consistenly look great.
It's in the details..... if you're a master filer, and can make your fin edges fit the 1/8" masking tape, then you're on the way to being extremely amazed by the job you did on your own engine. I'm still amazed how mine turned out. Just lovin it.
P4 is on the way.
 

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Re: Here's my earlier post again...

GA_VTXTC said:
http://vtxoa.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=66986&highlight=polished+edges
It's in the details..... if you're a master filer, and can make your fin edges fit the 1/8" masking tape, then you're on the way to being extremely amazed by the job you did on your own engine. I'm still amazed how mine turned out. Just lovin it.
P4 is on the way.
Now that you mention it, I did use 1/8", not quarter inch... good call. One more thing. I noticed when spraying in between the fins that its very hard to get the top and bottom in between the fins in one coat. It took numerous light coats to completely cover in between the fins. Don't put it on thick because it will build up and collect at the tip of the fins.
 

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1) 1st coat- get down LOW and spray UP at an angle.
2) 2nd coat- spray it dead level even to get down in-between.
3) 3rd coat- get up HIGHER and spray DOWN at an angle.

I didn't invent the technique, but it worked pretty good for me!
got most everything covered pretty even...
 

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Filing is not necessary unless you want to polish the edges of your fins. I prefered the total blacked out look. 8)
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
OK guys....I am moving along on this...I just finished putting the pinstriping on the fins (which for me, at least, was the most tedious part of the whole thing), so tomorrow all I have to do is tape the rest of the bike off, and paint that puppy. I noticed that everyone says they use Vaseline on the chrome bolts. I assume you just slather it on the bolt, then just towel it off when done?
 
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Yup just go easy and keep it on the bolts not the case. wipe it off after the paint dries. That pinstriping is a nerve killer I tell ya! .. Tape I had when I did it was crap and kept curling up on me. I need to stop and get some 3M. I'll probably end up painting mine as the guy with the Iron Horse wont come up off the info on how his was done. His paint doesnt come to the edges. The fins are polished so far back in and the paint fades in. My guess is it was done with an air brush. It looks super nice.

Post Some Pics! :)
 

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Are you guys polishing/painting the top fins on the bike or are you taking them off....it is two bolts to take them off....just wondering. The paint seems to come out much cleaner if you take them off then no overspray on the cylinders. Like this:
http://www.vtxoa.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=600247#600247
Also....VHT makes the clear high heat and from seeing the durability on show cars and how it came out on mine I highly recomment it. I used black satin VHT then the clear VHT and it gives it much more depth and gloss than the gloss black alone has. You can get it at your local speed shop for about $4 a can (or online for $5-$11 per can plus shipping).
 
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txvtx1300 said:
"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave
with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved
body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in
the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO HOO! What a ride!"
Amen to THAT! :D

The 1800 head is different than the 1300. We are painting ours on the bike. You did a great job! Looks nice!
 

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No, I didn't use vaseline at all.

Just wrapped a small piece of masking tape around each chrome bolt head. I didn't want petroleum based vaseline **** anywhere near my brand new paint. Mask 'em off, and then just pull the tape off when you're done with a sharp instrument. It only takes a couple minutes. Vaseline seemed like it'd be a little messier than it's worth?
Don't forget- pictures!
 

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Re: No, I didn't use vaseline at all.

GA_VTXTC said:
Just wrapped a small piece of masking tape around each chrome bolt head. I didn't want petroleum based vaseline **** anywhere near my brand new paint. Mask 'em off, and then just pull the tape off when you're done with a sharp instrument. It only takes a couple minutes. Vaseline seemed like it'd be a little messier than it's worth?
Don't forget- pictures!
Anyone tried using the elmer's rubber glue that was used in art class at school. It has a brush, but could use another brush for better clearance and it would peel off easily.
Big mike
 

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I used vaseline that I brushed on lightly with a ut down artists brush. I have clean chrome bolt heads and paint right up to them. With my meat hooks I couldn't get tape on cleanly.
 
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