View Full Version : Paint stripping info

02-10-2007, 07:44 PM
I recently spoke with Ray Fichthorn about stripping methods
and thought I would post his response here so others
might have his expertise as well.
Ray, just wondering, what is your preferred method on stripping the paint off when you re-do a car? On body-offs I really like the tank dipping process as it comes back factory clean but it is costly and I have to transport and pickup the car. On this Lark, I have used chemical stripper by hand then sandblasted (being careful).
> Thanks, Kerry

quote:For most pieces- I have them sandblasted. If you have an experienced
blaster that has done many auto-parts, it can safely be done without
damage or warping the panels. Where you run into trouble- is getting a
guy that doesn't know what he's doing- and he just blasts in one place
until the paint/undercoating is gone. This will warp panels easily,
especially the hood, roof, and any other large flat panels. Typically,
most stude sheetmetal is structural enough to not be affected.
I have my blaster leave the center of the hood and roof alone- and I
hand-strip that with chemical/sanding. He only blasts the edges about
12" in- where the structure of the panel is quite strong. Some
hoods/roofs can be done completely such as Hawk Hoods, and Coupe roofs.
The body-lines and curvature provide enough strength- that careful
blasting is fine. I NEVER have a 59-64 Lark hood completely blasted. The
panel is too flat, and there are no structural ridges or body lines in
them. The same goes for GT Hawk roof panels.

NEVER try to blast off undercoating or grease build-up. This must be
removed as completely as possible manually- before blasting. If you want
to strip the undercoating from the bottom of the body, or inside the
fenderwells...It's a 2-person job. One with a PROPANE TORCH, the other
with a variety of putty knives, screwdrivers, and scrapers. Lightly heat
the outer (opposite) surface of the panel in areas about 6" square- this
will release the bond between the undercoating and sheetmetal... the
undercoating will easily strip off in fairly large chunks..... It's just
kinda slow. I then take a (soft) wire wheel on a 4 1/2" electric
grinder- and remove the residue. The soft wire gets around and into
crevices much better than a stiff brush would. Then it's off to the

I don't chemically dip-strip, for the reasons you've stated. It's a
long way to the closest stripper, and it is comparitively expensive.

02-10-2007, 07:59 PM
The other problem with chemically stripping a shell is having all the nooks and crannies that paint won't get into. The car needs to be dipped in a primer or e-coat to protect these hidden surfaces from an immediate rust issue. The second problem is that there are fewer places that can e-coat a body shell than there are strippers.

While blasting doesn't get into these areas, whatever was left of the original paint and undercoat is still there. This can still be bad if what was there was rusty to begin with.

Tom - Valrico, FL

1964 Studebaker Daytona

http://i74.photobucket.com/albums/i280/Swifster/Studebaker%20Stuff/StudeRear198x131.jpg http://i74.photobucket.com/albums/i280/Swifster/Studebaker%20Stuff/StudePlate-FL197x100.jpg

02-10-2007, 08:25 PM
I always "flood" those areas with epoxy primer and seam seal
with a urethane sealer. Most of those areas were not painted
by the factory. Amazing how many times I have pulled up old
seam sealer to only find bare metal behind it. The sealer gets
old, shrinks up and cracks, allowing moisture to settle behind it.

53commander HDTP
53 Champion HDTP
61 Cursed Purple Hawk
64 Champ long bed V8