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Ironhead Sportster Motorcycle Talk (1957-1985) For all those that wanna talk about Ironhead Sportster Motorcycles

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  #1  
Old 8th November 2012
1957xler's Avatar
1957xler 1957xler is offline
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Default Applying water transfer decals for a tank

I know this isn't my sportster. It's my other bike? 1969 HD m65 sport. It's been sitting for 23 years. Just got it fired up, and rode for the first time. Aquired it from a police auction, with turquoise spray paint. (stolen). Got all turquoise off, and down to original paint. Only problem was it took the decals off. I've got new water transfer decals for the tank, and fender. Anyone got an idea how to put them on, and keep them on? I was told to clear coat them. Stuff I've read says clear coat. Don't clear coat. Varnish first. Varnish, finish? I was planning on placing decal, and topcoating with urethane clear just around the decal so as not to mess with the original paint. I know decals tear easy. Any suggestions, or help appreciated. Future 1st Harley ride for growing grandkids.
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  #2  
Old 8th November 2012
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Im looking at painting my XLH and have the same ???... so watching this.

I just had to post up and say that bike is AWESOME. and Good on you for wanting to make it original again.

Thos are some LUCKY GRANDKIDS!!!!
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  #3  
Old 8th November 2012
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measure, measure, measure, put some tape with marks on it where you want the decals to line up, get a squirt bottle with water and a few drops of dish soap mixed in, thoroughly wet the tank or area that the decal is to be applied, this will allow you to move the decal without tearing, gently squeegee air bubbles and liquid out from under the decal working from middle out, you can use your fingers or a damp sponge works well, let dry for several days before clear coating.
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  #4  
Old 8th November 2012
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apply the first coat of your clear coat very light and let dry thoroughly before applying the next coat.
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  #5  
Old 8th November 2012
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IMO find a "sign maker" in your area and have them help you.

My scoot as bought:



With some help from a sign guy:

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  #6  
Old 9th November 2012
PetesPonies PetesPonies is offline
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Water decals are different than vinyl, which is what is used today. With vinyl, some soapy water is helpful and a firm squeegie. However, with a water transfer, I would not use soapy water. But wet the tank well. If you want it protected from gasoline, then clearing it is needed. So, sand the entire tank first. You cannot clear just the decal. IUMO, bad move. I would sand the entire tank with fine wetsandpaper , something about 1000 grit. Then clean and wet for decal installation. With the tank wet, you will be able to move the decal all around. Once you have placed it, with a soft squeegie, get rid of any bubbles and extra water. Then let it dry a day or more. Make sure it is extremely well set and no moisture is left. Then apply the urethane clear on the entire tank.
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  #7  
Old 9th November 2012
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i've done many of these,water slide decals have been around a long time ,ever build a model plane or car? a 6 year old can do it. if you are going to clear coat ,sanding with 400 paper wont hurt,as long as they are wet they will slide all over the place for a couple of minutes for positioning them,let dry for a couple of days then clear coat with poly urethane...if unsure go to your local hoby shop and get a 50 cent decal to waste for experience,easiest thing you'll ever do!
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  #8  
Old 9th November 2012
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I wouldn't recommend spraying clear over the original paint on the gas tank. Decals aren't THAT expensive. If it gets ruined from gas getting on there (which doesn't happen often if you are careful), just replace the decal. That's better than compromising an original paint job.

Just my opinion...
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  #9  
Old 9th November 2012
PetesPonies PetesPonies is offline
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There isn't going to be a compromise by clearing the original paint. I paint daily, no issue with this and I would have no problems doing it.
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  #10  
Old 9th November 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PetesPonies View Post
There isn't going to be a compromise by clearing the original paint. I paint daily, no issue with this and I would have no problems doing it.
I'm not talking about if it will work or not, Pete. I am referring to it ruining the originality of the factory paint job. When it comes to original paint Harleys, you don't mess with the paint.
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