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Carbon Fork repair question... please help(3 posts)

Carbon Fork repair question... please helpbigdave
May 18, 2002 8:16 PM
I just got my frame and fork back from the painter... frame is gorgeous, but as I unwrapped the carbon (Kestrel EMS Pro) fork from the bubble wrap, to my dismay I found two chips... one on the inside of each leg. Apparently it wasn't wrapped as well as they thought...

Anyway, my first thought was (and is) to send it back to be repainted... not a big deal, just a delay. But upon closer inspection, while one scratch is not even all the way through the color, the chip on the other leg is about 2 mm in diameter and looks to be *through* the carbon gelcoat... the underlying material in the center of the chip is a dull black, not the shiny black (gelcoat) like it was before I had it painted.

So now I am paranoid that this chip in the gelcoat has trashed the fork. I mean, let's face it, a fork is not something you want to be unsure about... and, Kestrel specifically recommends *not* sanding through the gelcoat when refinishing. So applying paint on top of it again to simply refinish it could possibly cause (chemical) damage to the carbon fiber.

Is there anyone out there that has experience with this type of situation? Can this chip in the gelcoat be safely fixed? Or should I make the painters give me a whole new fork?

I don't know if I am being overly paranoid about this or not... any help anyone could lend would be much appreciated.


Look closelyKerry
May 19, 2002 6:28 AM
If there are any fibers showing on the surface of this chip, it should go back. You might want to use a magnifying glass for a close look. The reason they don't want people sanding through the clear coat is that folks just don't seem to know when to stop. If you're into the CF matrix, then you're starting to compromise strength and/or create stress risers. Odds are good there is no real problem here, but if there are fibers showing, then you should start with a new fork.
Thanks... and I got this from Kestrelbigdave
May 20, 2002 8:13 AM
I checked it out... basically just chipped clear coat, no fiber damage. I also asked Kestrel about it and got this back...

if there is a chip in the Gelcoat( which is only clear coat paint) that has no effect on the strength of the fork. The only reason they tell people not to do that is because alot of people use paint strippers which would mess up the resin in the carbon. If they did your fork in clear then all you really need is some clear nail polish.Put a drop on it and your set. Saves you the time of sending it back and having to wait another 2 weeks or whatever the wait ma be.Hope that helps."

The only thing is, it's not clear... it's orange. :-) So I called the painter (Spectrum Powder Works) and they said "Send it back." So I am... :-)

BTW, when it's all complete, I will post a pic of the bike. The powder coating and custom logo work they did is awesome. They do outstanding work.