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Blast Cleaning

Paint removal methods

Paint removal is a major job in a ground up restoration.  If you don’t remove all the old paint there may be paint solvent reactions or hidden defects under the paint.  So how do you get the paint off, and what do you do to get rid of the rust you inevitably uncover?

You may start off enthusiastically with a sander but find that the pads keep clogging and the wire brushes won’t reach into those dark recesses and corners.  Then it’s out with the paint stripper, but it’s hazardous to use, burns your skin, is difficult to dispose of and wrecks the kitchen floor when you go in the house for coffee.  How will you get off the residues left on the bodyshell?

Instead, you could send it to the local shot blaster, or maybe not; as many good shells have been wrecked by over zealous blasters using steel grit on car panels.  Soft soda blasting looks like a great system, but the soda is alkaline and as residues warm up on a hot day it becomes much more alkaline soda ash, which seeps out of the crevices and can damage your new paint later.

Chemical dipping gets rid of all the paint and underseal, but it also removes the original lead loading because the bodies are heated up and it melts.  All the seam sealer is removed leaving open seams that can harbour the chemical dipping residues, which may weep out later, and you will never re-apply seam sealer as well as the manufacturers did it.  The heat applied during this process may have the potential to cause body distortion, and applying advanced primer systems onto a chemically clean bodyshell is pointless before areas that require replacing are cut out – these coatings have to be ground away to weld and the very areas that need the most protection will be left unprotected. 

There is a solution. 
Because it is soft abrasive, Plastic Media Dry Stripping won’t distort steel panels and leaves no harmful residues.  Tiny hard abrasive particles that are measured in tens of microns and blasted at low pressure by a skilled operator can remove corrosion without distortion to panels, and can reach all the fiddly corners. 

This system leaves all visible surfaces technically clean for repainting.  By then applying a clear phosphate metal etch treatment which you can weld through and paint over, unlike with a conventional primer, nothing is hidden.  You can see everything is clean and the clean metal is protected for months while you complete body repairs before then putting on your protective primers.
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