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Fireflake Bronze paint

Classic Norton Commando Motorcycles.

Fireflake Bronze paint

Postby GUTS » Thu May 07, 2015 3:45 pm

I sent a set of tins off to a fellow in FL(that for now will remain nameless :evil: )to have them painted Fireflake Bronze and after 9 months and $2000 he finally sent them back and they look like shit. The color is brown and there are no two flakes that touch. I am going to paint them myself and have been doing some research on the flakes in the original paint. I had read that Norton used only silver flakes in the paint for the metal tanks and side covers but I had trouble believing it when I looked at the bike, it looked like there was more than one color of flake. I took a side panel off today and took some closeups of the paint.

In this shot it looks like two or more colors of flake. Of course the shadows will have an effect.
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This is a part of the brace that was apparently painted black after the panel was painted with Fireflake Bronze. It looks like two colors of flake, red and silver, but there is red splotches that seem to cover the red flakes and actually spill over onto the base color, and that made me wonder if it was the tinted clear that had some pigment heavy spots in it. You can see the base color in a few spots that weren't completely covered with the tinted clear and also how thick the clear is where it is chipped on the edge.
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This is the back of the sidecover where it was just dusted with the clear-flake coat and it(to me)clearly shows that there was two colors of flake, red and silver.
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What do you fellas think?
Last edited by GUTS on Thu May 07, 2015 4:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Fireflake Bronze paint

Postby Rohan » Thu May 07, 2015 4:09 pm

GUTS wrote: I had read that Norton used only silver flakes in the paint for the metal tanks and side covers but I had trouble believing it when I looked at the bike, it looked like there was more than one color of flake. I took a side panel off today and took some closeups of the paint.



What color is your sidecover overall, when viewed from afar ?
Fireflake Bronze or Fireflake Golden Bronze seems to come in even more shades than other fireflake colors.
Some seem to be more bronze, and some more goldy... (?)

After a lot of 2-and-fro-ing, it has been firmly settled here that Nortons had a number of versions of fireflake colors over the years.
The early versions were in the fibreglass gelcoat, some with a transparent color overpaint,
and the later versions were all painted, so it is dangerous being too dogmatic.

My what seems to be a later NOS Fireflake Blue sidecover has stray blue tinted flakes oversprayed on the back,
so it definitely had tinted flakes in clearcoat, on a painted colored basecoat.
And B-bogus here has done some very authentic and marvellous looking fireflake repaints using tinted flakes, so the tinted flakes clearly win.

Have you found a source for bronze/gold tinted flakes ?
That 2 tone flake color looks interesting to reconstruct.

This sidecover (fibreglass) has been on fleabay, for quite some time.
Pinstripes look somewhat constricted, so may be a repaint (?).

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Hopethishelps.

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Re: Fireflake Bronze paint

Postby Rohan » Thu May 07, 2015 4:15 pm

P.S. Should we ask what year your bike is ?
Should have asked that 1st....

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Re: Fireflake Bronze paint

Postby GUTS » Thu May 07, 2015 4:30 pm

It's this 1973 Commando, the one you guys helped me bring to life last fall.
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Here is one of the sidecovers, original paint.
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Re: Fireflake Bronze paint

Postby Rohan » Thu May 07, 2015 4:40 pm

We remember, nice strong looking bronze fireflake, nice bike.

Did you supply the paint guy with an original, for him to try to match ?
I bought some paint recently (not fireflake) but showed him my ffblue sidecover,
shook his head and said the flakes were bigger than anything he could supply.

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Re: Fireflake Bronze paint

Postby Danno » Thu May 07, 2015 5:52 pm

$2000? You could get a Lincoln Town Car painted for that.
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Re: Fireflake Bronze paint

Postby Rohan » Thu May 07, 2015 6:31 pm

We might need to ask what condition the parts were in that were supplied though. ?

I've taken some junk in (entirely different painters of course) to see if it could be rescued,
and it came back looking like new...

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Re: Fireflake Bronze paint

Postby B+Bogus » Thu May 07, 2015 11:31 pm

A correctly done Fireflake Norton paintjob should not have any base-coat showing.
It seems this is the preserve of the custom car scene where they get the overall effect with fewer flakes, but not so with Nortons.
There was another similar thread a while ago, where a Purple bike was showing a lot of basecoat.
I generally use a black basecoat so it's readily apparent when I've achieved full coverage.

Close scrutiny of original FF Bronze paint shows it is two different colours, so the paintshop wasn't in error here, just in the miserly application of the flakes - unless they're made fully aware of how the originals were, they'll just do a 'custom car' job.

This is a photo of an original FF Bronze panel (note the toolbox rivet, and how the flakes turn silver when sanded down) - sorry about the mobile phone quality photo.

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And here's one I did earlier.

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I've also been guilty of painting a bike in the closest colour I could get until I could study an original - Happy enough with it, but it's not 'correct' (a little too orange).

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The early bikes certainly used silver flakes in the fibreglass gelcoat, and the red ones were sprayed with candy red like this early Fastback tank, but I'm 100% positive that the later bikes used coloured flakes - not a candy colour over silver.

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For $2000 territory I could supply a brand new Roadster paintset in metalflake blue, purple, bronze, silver or green, and no I'm not joking.
Cheers,

Andy

1974 Roadster & Interstate
1964 650SS CR
1971 PR project
1975 Ducati 900ss x2
1975 Triumph T160
1976 Triumph T140
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Re: Fireflake Bronze paint

Postby GUTS » Fri May 08, 2015 7:21 am

This is the bike that I restored for a friend of mine. He found this guy in FL and had me send the tins to him. I didn't like the idea but I couldn't change his mind. I was going to try to paint them myself at a friends body shop. I wish I would have know you paint these because I would have gladly sent them to you. The tank and side covers are brand new, they were white metal when they were sent to the clown in Fl so he shouldn't have had any problems with condition before he started.

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Re: Fireflake Bronze paint

Postby GUTS » Fri May 08, 2015 9:35 am

Here is the original compared to the new painted tin, it's not even close.
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Re: Fireflake Bronze paint

Postby Rohan » Fri May 08, 2015 4:00 pm

He did a nice job of not painting them much, didn't he !! :D

I'd be tempted to send him pics of what it should look like and what it does look like,
and ask what he is going to do about it ?
Say you want the rest of your paint you payed for.....

Although this may provoke more trouble than its worth.
And he does look to have just used silver flakes too.
$2k seems way over the top though, what would he charge for a car, as mentioned ??

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Re: Fireflake Bronze paint

Postby GUTS » Fri May 08, 2015 4:15 pm

I actually sent the jackwagon an original side cover to use and he didn't even send it back. My friend had me send the tank and fenders at the same time for the Harley SS175 I restored this winter and we haven't got those back yet so that's why I am not saying anything to him till we do.

This is the place that we sent them to. The guys name is George and he is the king of the bullshitters.
http://www.motorcyclegastankservices.com/

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Re: Fireflake Bronze paint

Postby GUTS » Fri May 08, 2015 4:16 pm

B+Bogus wrote:A correctly done Fireflake Norton paintjob should not have any base-coat showing.
It seems this is the preserve of the custom car scene where they get the overall effect with fewer flakes, but not so with Nortons.
There was another similar thread a while ago, where a Purple bike was showing a lot of basecoat.
I generally use a black basecoat so it's readily apparent when I've achieved full coverage.

Close scrutiny of original FF Bronze paint shows it is two different colours, so the paintshop wasn't in error here, just in the miserly application of the flakes - unless they're made fully aware of how the originals were, they'll just do a 'custom car' job.

This is a photo of an original FF Bronze panel (note the toolbox rivet, and how the flakes turn silver when sanded down) - sorry about the mobile phone quality photo.

Image

And here's one I did earlier.

Image

I've also been guilty of painting a bike in the closest colour I could get until I could study an original - Happy enough with it, but it's not 'correct' (a little too orange).

Image

The early bikes certainly used silver flakes in the fibreglass gelcoat, and the red ones were sprayed with candy red like this early Fastback tank, but I'm 100% positive that the later bikes used coloured flakes - not a candy colour over silver.

Image

For $2000 territory I could supply a brand new Roadster paintset in metalflake blue, purple, bronze, silver or green, and no I'm not joking.



What would you charge him to redo the tins?

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Re: Fireflake Bronze paint

Postby travelerjerry » Fri May 08, 2015 7:26 pm

Here is a NOS Firflake Bronze Fastback tank I have. For comparison to other pics that were posted. I have a Fastback original tail also. Hope it may help what it looked like original.

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Re: Fireflake Bronze paint

Postby Danno » Fri May 08, 2015 8:19 pm

GUTS wrote:Here is the original compared to the new painted tin, it's not even close.
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I was in an automotive paint store recently, discussing different shades and effects with the resident mixmaster. The process the freshly painted cover illustrates is what he referred to as "pearl" ( no, not pearlescent paint, pearl flakes in a clear or tinted overcoat on top of solid basecoat). It comes in several different flake shades in several different tinted semi-clears (the possibilities are endless) and is that distinctly different when compared to a metalflake paint. The flakes in metalflake (or "Fireflake, as it were) are aluminum foil and if they are tinted, are likely anodized before shredding. This is why there is a certain amount of silver flakes among the tinted ones, because not all land face up and only one side is anodized. This makes for a unique, unmatchable job each time and it the reason tinted flakes are less popular than silver, which takes on the color of it's overcoat. The pearl flakes are the same color on either side and are acrylic rather than metal.
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