After a few years with my bonneville I started to look at the much loved but slightly boring black paint and thought it might be time for a change. I was very keen to give my bike a new lease on life which meant paint job!

I have never really played with paint, I wanted to see if I could do a half decent job on some scrap. Rather than buying an old car door or something of little use to me I dug around my garage to find an old cowl that was sent to me with a seat.

It was pretty beaten up, the previous owner had tried a spray job but it was pretty poor – matt black and had a lovely bubble texture… unfortunately I don’t have any pictures  of this monstrosity.

The first step was to sand the bugger down and to remove the existing paint. I had a good crack using a hand block and 80grit, but after 30 min I barely made a dent in it. I did think about pulling out my JCB sheet sander but it’s too heavy and to do the contours of the cowl it would likely ruin it. However I just so happened to pick up one of the Dewalt DCS355D1 hand sanders on Amazon Prime day and realised it has a orbital attachment for 93mm sanding pads – After a good hour with this I had all the paint off and worked my way from 80 grit up to 240 which gave it a nice smooth finish.

As this was a bit of a test, and knowing very little about paint I opted to use rattle cants from Amazon. After properly cleaning the part in the sink with fairy and wiping down with a tack rag (special sticky cloth) I had the part ready for priming and after a few coats the surface looked smooth good for paint.


From here I did 3 coats of primer with a light sand between coats using 600 grit paper. Cleaning it properly each time.

Once dried and it had it’s final sand I went to paint. Again I opted for rattle cans and purchased some gloss black.


I followed the instructions on the can to the letter but found this gave me a mixed finish, some parts were glossy, others slightly dull. I worked my around the edges and int the middle. I expect I got different results as the paint was drying at different speeds or where I did small touch up’s it dried slightly thicker.

At this point it’s worth pointing out my setup and how far from idea it is. I have the part on a paint can, on a MDF board with a bin bag behind – Whilst I got a good finish on the primer it did not bode well for a dust free environment – when it came to the paint this was less forgiving than the primer and dust did go on the paint – this had to be very gently sanded out and re-coated.

Whilst not thrilled by the ‘gloss black’ finish I still considered this a test so made my way onto the clear lacquer. This is by far the most challenging element of the process.

To lacquer the part you have to spray very evenly at the same speed and do it all very quickly. As I discovered if you do not do this you will end up with dull patches – whilst these might buff out it was far from perfect.

This said the end result was very good in my make shift test.


As you will see from the picture I got a nice gloss black effect, but there were some dull spots and small specs of dust. As this was a test and not a major part on the bike I was pretty chuffed with the results. It severed a purpose and showed me I could likely do a better job if I invested a bit more time during the prep and painting process.