April may be the cruelest month, but November is surely the dullest. It is dark and getting darker, cool and getting colder, frosty and getting snowier. Its one public occasion is sombre. I would lay odds that Shakespeare wrote his “winter of discontent” phrase in November. Grumble.
However, that makes it a good time to tend to the abuse and neglect, a.k.a. stone chips, suffered by Lady CoMo.
Lady CoMo’s paint has suffered from the occasional stone, and (most aggravating) shoes that rub across the crossbar. One cannot dismount a tandem by swinging a leg over its hind quarters without kicking the stoker in the teeth. This is generally considered poor form. Rather, the foot must be lifted, retracted, and replanted, all the while balancing on the other leg and holding the beast steady. Inevitably an unintended brush of the rubber sole against her shiny paint leaves a small, dull abrasion – aye, there’s the rub!
So this November I settled down with instructions from the CoMotion web site to make right the wrongs of our dear Lady.
First step, acquire materials and equipment: fine grit (2000) wet-dry sandpaper, fine artist brushes (00, I couldn’t find 0000), rubbing compound, microfiber cloth. Oh, and paint. Paint was not an issue. I ordered some a year ago (I have had these good intentions for a long time).
Second, give Lady Como a good, careful cleaning with soap and water and a careful drying.
Third step, steel my courage. I followed instructions exactly. The wet-dry sandpaper was soaked, fitted carefully to a sander and gently applied it to the blemishes. Sanding the stone chips was straightforward, but the crossbar scrapes would not smooth out. The sandpaper was too fine to make an impression. In fact, I couldn’t really tell what the sandpaper did anywhere. But I followed instructions.
Sanding with wet/dry sandpaper
Next came the rubbing compound. Rubbing compound is a white paste that is applied with a damp cloth and then rubbed vigorously. I must say it does bring up the finish very nicely. But does it remove the scrape marks from the crossbar? Of course not. It makes them stand out even more than before. Sigh. No matter. Instructions are instructions.
Rubbing compound after sanding
Microfibre rub for a finish
Here is an interesting example of using rubbing compound only to remove a minor blemish that did not need painting.
And now came the climactic moment – the application of the paint. The paint bottle was opened – and inside was a pool of tar-like goop. Over the course of a year the solvent had evaporated. What was left came out as a sticky, thread-like web. There was no way that was going on Lady CoMo.
Pete Stasney at CoMotion came to the rescue. He shipped out a small vial in a big box that was innocuous enough to avoid the attentions of Canadian customs.
As it should be
Out with the brushes, on with the paint. The first coat was nice and thin. So thin that I couldn’t see it. Let dry. I stirred up the paint a bit and put on another coat. Let dry. Well, that was a bit better. So I stirred it again. I dipped my brush right to the bottom of the vial to get a good load of pigment in the bristles. That certainly gave coverage. This technique worked well on the stone chips. But it may have been a bit excessive on the crossbar rub marks. Maybe those little paint blobs will give better protection against future scrapes.
Stone chip after drying overnight
It looks better in daylight
The CoMotion site offers consolation. “No one will notice your little touch ups more than yourself!”