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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all,

Its been a while since I'd written one of these and felt its long overdue. So here's some light reading and good pics. ;)

I feel it fair to mention that this particular project came to me ‘third party’, and all the materials were provided for me per customer specifications, so that’s why its not an exact match, merely a ballpark comparison. I’ll start by showing you my reference materials, and really the only thing I had to go off of:





And here’s a better image of this 2007 FLHRSE CVO I found on the web:



So moving right along, we start with one of these, a fiberglass half-shell provided by the SuperSeer corporation. Here you can see I’ve already done my prep which included sanding the gel coat, washing and cleaning, applying a spray fill primer and a sealer, then wet sanding with 600 grit. As you can see its ready for the base to be applied:



And now is a great time to talk about that base. I didn’t have the actual colors used on the ‘07 I was imitating. So I used Harley Davidson Scarlet Red. This particular blend was available to me in a lacquer. Its important to mention that in most states, lacquers are rapidly becoming obsolete. Many of HD’s colors are crossing over into urethanes now and it’s a simple matter of changing the last digit of the prefix in the paint code. In short, 98603 = a lacquer, 98609 = a urethane. For this project I used HD paint number 98603 LZ.:



I laid down a nice even base as seen here:



Now I was told the actual bike had a (and I quote) “glittery effect” over the red. I took this to mean there was a pearl involved which is pretty typical for most factory customs. But the customer wanted something with a bit more “bling” to it, so I used House of Kolor UMF01 Ultra Mini Gold Flake. I mixed about an 1/8 of a teaspoon with a clear lacquer and applied it over the base. Its difficult to see it, but you can see it well in some of the other shots.:



After I allowed it to flash off I lightly scuffed the surface with 600 wet and applied an ample flow of intercoat clear. The clear is basically going to help smooth out my surface because the metal flakes are literally just that, tiny little metallic squares. They don’t always lay down flat, and I wanted something to help ‘bury’ them so they wouldn’t cause any issues with the gold leaf.

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I allowed my intercoat to flash off and then I once again sanded with 600 wet. I made sure to sand nice and evenly, this helps promote adhesion for future coats, and the gold leaf to be applied.

I then had to plot my design on the sides. Using fineline masking tape, I defined both the center line of the shell and a low base perimeter for which to gauge my symmetry.:





After this was done, I applied my masking material. In this case I relied on my trusty R-Tape which is a common transfer tape material used most often by sign makers. It has good tack qualities that leave no residue, and its re-positionable. Because I’m not spraying anything, I didn’t have to go through the thorough process of a full smoothing. I merely needed to set a decent space for which I’ll sketch my design (as seen here) and apply the size. Size is the glue used in the gold leafing process:



After sketching my design I had to go through the careful process of weeding. Weeding is basically just cutting out the design. I did this right on the shell because I’ve been doing this for a long time, and I know how NOT to cut through to the painted surface. Believe me you can ruin a great paint job if you cut too deep on your masking materials. I’d like to also mention that the good thing about the R-Tape is that I could have removed it, placed it on a smooth piece of plastic, glass, or metal and cut it there. I recommend using this technique if you’re just starting out. You can then replace your tape onto the surface to be painted, but after its cut it can be a little bit of a pain to reset it properly. Time was the main reason I opted to cut it in place.:



And here you can see it in more detail with the full design removed. I should also mention I did this on both sides.:



Now I did a free hand sketch on both sides and only lined everything up by eye. Granted it still came out very concentric, there’s a way to get your side to side designs 100% symmetrical and that is to simply use tracing paper on the finished sketch from one side. Apply a light coating of chalk to the traced image, flip it, lay it down on the other side and lightly retrace. When you remove the paper, your image is successfully transferred. Takes a little more time but it does guarantee your image match.

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Ok so next I applied the size, Old World Art #802. There are many ways to apply this, ( i.e. brush, airbrush/spray, roller, etc.) as you can see here I chose a 1” brush for a quick and easy application.:



Here’s how it looks after application, sort of milky. It takes about 45-60 minutes for it to set up. Basically when its clear you should be about ready, it will almost seem too dry if you actually touch it, but believe me, it works.:



Here’s the leaf I used. It’s a composition, imitation gold leaf. I know it doesn’t match the variegated leaf on the bike, but again, the materials were provided to me for this one. I can’t complain. This particular brand came on sheets which made for ease of application. The leaf is loosely attached to a backing, simply place the leaf on the size, backing side up, and gently lift. The leaf is left in place, and if more is still sticking to the backing, just repeat the process until its all used. There’s little to no waste in this process.:



After I got all the leaf onto the surface I carefully ‘set’ it with a hand made tool. Just a wooden dowel with some felt wrapped cotton on the end. I carefully and evenly set the surface. Its best not to touch the leaf with your hands unless you’re very familiar with it. It can tear very easily and mess up your work if not careful, so tools like this are very useful. I did end up using a very light fingernail touch though because this project required a very defined flame edge and I wanted to make sure those tips were setting properly.



This is what it looked like after I had the leaf set.:



To insure good adhesion of the leaf, I allowed it to sit for 24 hours. I didn’t want to risk removing the R-Tape and lifting what had taken me a while to lay down. The next day, I was ready to use my swaffing brush to remove any excess leaf. it’s a soft brush, that I can use to gently wisp away any excess without damaging the leaf. The leaf is still very fragile even though dry, so this is important to just take your time and do it right. After this, I carefully and slowly removed the tape, revealing a very nicely set design with minimal jagged edges.:



I cleaned it up for a better look, and in this shot you can see the symmetry of the design is very appealing.:



After this I tacked off the shell to remove any little leaf particles from brushing and then carefully wiped the surface with wax/degreaser to clean any tape residue that might have shown through once I cleared again. It was then time to apply another intercoat clear.:



So that’s gold leafing in a nutshell. From here I’ll sand one more time, apply my pinstriped edge bordering the leafed flames, ( HD basecoat, 98609 BNR) and apply two topcoat clears. Then its back to SuperSeer where they’ll finish up the shell with the liner, harness, beading, vents, etc.

I’ll try to grab some finished pics when I can. That’s all for now, hope you’ve enjoyed it.


Badger
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks,

I'm working on a '73 Sporty restoration project for a customer right now. The factory decals for it are being shipped to me from AZ, the paint is in stock and I'll make sure to grab some pics to post.

In the next few months I'll be doing another frame build and also some custom shaped tins in the shop. I'll make sure to do another How-To of those to post as well.

Thanks again,

Badger
 

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That is vey nice! Thanks for posting. It is just the sort of thing needed for my anthracite colored Shoe. How would this process change or could it be done on a already factory finished helmet?
 

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Very nice, looking forward to your future how-tos.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Is there such a thing as white gold leafing?
Very good question. I'll will try to find this out for you. I know there is red, green, blue... basically every color of the rainbow, so I'll check on white. I do know there is a platinum/white gold which looks sort of silvery to me, I wouldn't consider it the same thing. I'll check it out.


Badger
 

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Very good question. I'll will try to find this out for you. I know there is red, green, blue... basically every color of the rainbow, so I'll check on white. I do know there is a platinum/white gold which looks sort of silvery to me, I wouldn't consider it the same thing. I'll check it out.


Badger
Platinum/white gold sounds like what I was thinking.
Is this the sort of thing you are promoting as a do-yourself project or just sharing artistry with us that should be reserved for professionals?
Are there only a limited percentage of custom artisans who do such work or is it widespread throughout the community?
 

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Then there is also silverleaf, not sure if this might be what DiamondLil might be talking about....
 

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Then there is also silverleaf, not sure if this might be what DiamondLil might be talking about....
Truly what I was curious about was something that looked shiny & silvery. I used white gold as a contrast to yellow gold.

Is this material pretty noticeable in the daylight? Does it glitter in the sun?
 

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Found this article that may be of interest to you.

http://www.streetchopperweb.com/tech/0504stc_custom_paint/index1.html

There are many effects that can be made with gold/silver leaf from an engine turned look (think 77 Trans Am dash panel), to tinting it by spraying a candy over the leaf design... Perhaps Badger can expand on what other kinds of things can be done with leafing.
 

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Thanks for that! I'd no idea what sort of work could be done. It seems logical now that I see it. It is the "white" as oppossed to yellow that I was referring to as well!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Is this the sort of thing you are promoting as a do-yourself project or just sharing artistry with us that should be reserved for professionals?
Hey DiamondLil,

Great question, I actually post these 'How-To's as sort of an encouragement for others who might be interested to give it a try. There's not too many free resources available in the custom paint field and so I try to add what I can where I can. :D

Are there only a limited percentage of custom artisans who do such work or is it widespread throughout the community?
There are quite a few, that I'm aware of, that perform leafing in their work. But I know a great many 'up and coming' artists that don't seem to have picked up on it yet. Again posting articles like this might encourage them to try it out.

Leafing can definitely be a little difficult to work with at first, but like anything a little practice goes a long way.

I did find out there are many leaf colors available. Not sure if I mentioned it above but 'gold' leaf can be imitation or actual gold. 12k, 24k, 48k, the karats and of course price go up on the materials used.

The white colored sheet, is just that, plain white and wouldn't (in my opinion) look as great on a bike where white paint could perform the same look. The white gold/platinum leaf is very brilliant and silvery in appearance.

Other colored leaf seems to have a metallic or 'glittery' look to it, so that it stands out quite well. Again though, I can see many areas where metallic paints and pearls could perform similar results, where as gold, silver, copper, (and various aged metals) have this kind of unique look to them.

I have the finished pics of this project by the way, I'll get them uploaded this evening for everyone. :cool:


Badger
 

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Badger,
This is all so interesting. Thanks for sharing it with us.
I am had a very bright red HJC helmet and when I changed to the Shoei the only color they had in the store & at a great price in my size was anthrhacite.

Friends tell me it is definitely nowhere near as easy to see as my old one. I've been interested in doing something short of a $300-$400 custom paint job to brighten it up.
Your leafing got me thinking it might work. What do you think?
 
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