Corvettes For Sale

Paint Stripping Using Soda Blasting Media

The challenge of restoring an old car (especially Corvettes) starts with the removal of the old finish and prepare it for the new. Paint over the years has a tendency to fad, peel, chip and what ever else the elements throw at it. The older cars use to use a Lacquer paint compose of basically in laymen s terms a liquid plastic and thinned with a lacquer thinner.

When the newer cars came out they began adding a metallic (aluminum flakes) to their paints and this caused problems with the buffing process and created a hazing effect and caused a discoloration of the paint. This was when the industry produced a base coat clear coat paint in the 1980s that is simply paint with a clear glass cover provided by the clear coat sprayed over the top of it. If you are using a solid color without the metallic then a paint like a one stage urethane works really great, can be sanded with 1200 grit and buffs to a high shine.

Stripping the paint from a car is not always the same technique used depending upon severity and body material that it is made of. If it is steel you have several options, but if it is aluminum or fiberglass such as a Corvette then you need to choose more carefully or the end results can be a lot more labor intensive.

There are three major approaches to stripping paint and performing paint removal from any car. The easy way would be media blasting with sand, walnut shells, plastic, or soda blasting. The sand blasting can be performed on a metal body using great care not to heat, warp and distort the metal, but cannot be used on aluminum and fiberglass cars. Sand blasting works well on the frame as it is a heavy gage metal and can easily withstand the heat and blasting.

Soda blasting is the preferred method of paint stripping and paint removal from any Corvette as it is gentle, effective, and safe even with windows and chrome still in place. It does require some special equipment to prevent moisture and allow flow. It is not your standard in house in the cabinet baking soda that is used. It comes in different grits much like sand paper and you work an area of, as an example, one square foot at a time.

Eastwood handles this type of equipment and also have invented an adapter for those who may have a sand pressure blaster that can be screwed on and removed when needed. If you do not have any type of media blaster then you would need to purchase one of their different sizes and the soda they provide in the grit needed.

If you have several coats of paint you may need to use a course grit first and maybe go back over specific areas with a finnier grit. This isn't always necessary but would have to be an option depending upon the job and paint being removed,.

Fiberglass, unlike metal does not Pitt and rust and therefore does not require the problem of deep pits and rust. However you may still need to go overt the fiberglass Corvette with an 80 grit DA sandpaper to remove any additional traces and make for better adhesion. Using a DA is also a caution as I have seen the damage done by inexperienced people thinking that it was just a matter of holding the DA down and let it do its job. The artist is only as good as the brush he holds.

I like to use an electric Black and Decker DA that I purchased 15 years ago and find it works great and don't tire the hand as much. Soda blasting is one of the best ways to go when paint stripping any Corvette. You can do it yourself or hire someone to do it. The last time I checked with someone about soda blasting was in 2007 and they wanted $985.00 to do a 1976 Corvette I was restoring.

You will have to take the cost, time labor and direction into factor when you are ready to do your job on your Corvette. Soda blasting has to be at the top of the list. Next article I will discuss using chemical strippers. As before you cannot use just any stripper. I will show you one I used and the effects and results I received from it.

Soda Blasting a 65 Corvette

Eastwood Has The Proper Equipment For Media Blasting


Media Blasting and Paint Strippers




GLASS BEAD #7 - Medium Fine - 25 lbs. - Sand Blast Cabinet BLASTING MEDIA
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1 Gallon Klean-Strip Aircraft Paint Remover  & Stripper - GAR343
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Klean-Strip Aircraft Paint Stripper / Remover Aerosol (18 oz.)-EAR322
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