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Questions of the Week #2

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Afternoon all,

Welcome to our second edition of QotW, some really important questions this week!  These questions/answers will also, in time, be added to our ever expanding knowledge base.  Check back regularly for updates, and don't forget that if you want our team of experts to answer your question (or at least try to! :)  ) please drop us an email on info@rkfst.co.uk or use the contact form on this site.

5) What's the difference between the different coatings on your waterslide decals?  Which one should I choose?

By default we supply our waterslide decals uncoated.  The inks we use are waterproof, opaque, and fine under most lacquers so typically a coating isn't required before applying.  Partly due to the material we produce, partly due to not requiring a coating before applying our decals are super-thin, making them very easy to hide under lacquer once applied.  The edge will vanish under only a couple of mist coats of even a low build lacquer such as nitrocellulose.

The Clear Coating we offer (not a lacquer, but actually a sandwich of the decal film itself) slightly thickens the decal, making it easier to handle and apply if you are not used to our decals, and also offers the ink some additional protection while handling and smoothing.  It doesn't affect the appearance or lacquer-compatibility of the decal in any way, and we still recommend protecting the decal with clear lacquer once it is applied.

For vintage-style instruments a more authentic appearance can be achieved by opting for the Aged Coating.  Slightly thicker than our Clear Coating and with an aged vintage brown colour, this makes the decal look instantly old, and provides the ink with some protection so if desired it can be applied on top of the finish just like the originals.

for the vast majority of applications we would recommend either no or the Clear Coating.

6) Can you ship nitro paint to me in ... ?

A number of our finishing products, including nitrocellulose lacquer, cellulose paint, lightfast stains, some blended waxes, thinners, and a couple of other items are highly flammable.  As such they are subject to shipping restrictions, so unfortunately we cannot ship them to all destinations.  They can only be shipped by road using one of our couriers with whom we have a Carriage of Dangerous Goods contract.

We CAN ship these items to:

Mainland UK

Remote UK

UK Islands

Republic of Ireland

Channel Islands


Most Non-EU European countries (inc Norway)

We CANNOT currently ship these items to:



South America

North America (USA and Canada)


It's unlikely shipping regulations on these items will ever do anything but tighten, and air shipping for them is too prohibitively expensive to consider for retail orders.  We hope eventually to be able to offer our most popular and useful finishing supplies through a network of worldwide dealers (interested? contact us for details).  Until then, as an alternative we have now introduced a range of high quality waterborne lacquers and paints which we can ship anywhere .

7) I cleaned the surface with lighter fluid and now the paint is reacting, what's happening?

If you're painting over an existing finish then it is wise to clean the surface beforehand.  Any contaminants that remain, such as old polishes, grease, dirt, mayonnaise, etc. can prevent the new finish from adhering properly to the old one.  The surface should also be lightly keyed in using 600 grit paper.

Cleaning the surface can be trickier than it sounds, as you need to use a cleaning agent which gets rid of the contaminants, instead of simply removing the existing ones and leaving behind something new.  We hear a lot of things recommended, including thinners, acetone and lighter fluid, none of which we would recommend.  They all, lighter fluid included, have a tendency to leave behind a thin film after use.  This film typically reacts with or inhibits any new finishes you put on top.

While lighter fluid is great for removing the residue of sticky labels from plates and crockery, it is not suitable for finishing.  Instead, to clean surfaces we recommend our Surface Degreaser and Cleaning Fluid.  It's the same stuff used in professional repair and body shops.  Not only does it remove all contaminants from the paint's surface, it does so without leaving any residue behind ensuring that you have a pristine unadulterated paint surface on which to work.

It is also worth noting that this process isn't required if you are applying a new finish.  For new finishes, rather than those going over old finishes, simply key between coats with 600 grit paper.

8) Will you print swear words in my decal?  How about accents and Cyrillic characters?

If it is simply a swear word or two then yes, we will print it - if you want your headstock/bike/model/etc to have a 12A certificate then it's not for us to stand in your way.  There are a few things that we definitely won't print on a decal or sticker, though, including but not limited to:

- Hate speech

- Anything with a sentiment that could be described as something-phobic

- Racism

- Sexism

- Libellous / defamatory statements

- Trademarks

If what you request falls into any of the above categories (or indeed creates a new one that we object to) we'll simply refund your money and say nothing more about it.

Thanks for reading,


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