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Paint stripping info

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  • Paint stripping info

    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.
    64 Champ long bed V8
    55/53 Studebaker President S/R
    53 Hudson Super Wasp Coupe

  • #2
    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

    Tom - Bradenton, FL

    1964 Studebaker Daytona - 289 4V, 4-Speed (Cost To Date: $2514.10)
    1964 Studebaker Commander - 170 1V, 3-Speed w/OD


    • #3
      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
      64 Champ long bed V8
      55/53 Studebaker President S/R
      53 Hudson Super Wasp Coupe