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Old 07-04-2007, 05:59 PM
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Starting a project

I'll start by saying I have never attempted to restore a car before.

I have a 61 Impala one owner family car with original paint. Never had any body work ever. It has small rust spots in the usual places that will need to be fixed. But my main concern is stripping the paint off.

I understand my options as far as sandblasting, other media blasting, chemical stripping, soda blasting or sanding and grinding.

I've ruled out soda after reading some threads on this forum. I'm still not sure about sand as I've heard conflicting advice about warpage and such. I'm not sure I have the time or patience to sand the entire car. So lets start with a couple of simple questions...

1) What is the best method for removing the paint to bare metal?

2) If all trim and glass is removed, should the panels also be removed before being stripped?

Thanks in advance!!

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Old 07-04-2007, 08:46 PM
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I'll tell you how I do it. I start with 80 grit paper on a DA in the locked position, so it works like a grinder. If it has been repainted before, or there is bondo on it, I will go to 40 grit. If you have access to a "Mud Hog", they will work even better on the large panels. When you get to the smaller areas, I use a stripping disk from 3M, on a die grinder.

Now, some people will use a 7" or 9" grinder, with about 36 grit disks. You remove the paint to just about clean metal, then go back with 80 grit on a DA. One advantage to the grinder is that it is electric, so air supply is not a problem, as it could be with the DA or Mud Hog. You just have to be careful not to damage the metal, as 36 grit will eat up metal real quickly if not careful.

For the door jambs, and window frames, you can sandblast them fairly easy. There is little chance of warping them, unless you are really careless. You just have a mess to clean up, and don't want to get sand in some places.

That being said, and this being your first project like this, I would recommend doing one or two panels at a time. Once you strip the panels for that round, shoot some epoxy primer on them to protect them from corrosion. If you have filler work, you can apply that right over the epoxy. If you need to cut out rusted metal and weld in new, just grind the epoxy away in that area. Doing it in that manor makes it a bunch of small projects, rather than one hugh one. They can be overwhelming to someone not accustom to the work.

Aaron
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Old 07-05-2007, 12:47 PM
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Thanks Aaron. Sounds like a good place for me to start.
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Old 07-05-2007, 03:02 PM
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First of all congratulations on your first project, it sounds like you have a great base to start from. Since this is a 1961 GM car that means you have the old style lacquer paint and when sanding it off 80 grit and a DA is probably best. If you try to use a grinder it will melt the paint, plug up your grinding disk and generally make a mess. I've also not had the best luck with stripper and lacquer, the stripper just seems to liquify the paint and then it smears around. 80 grit and a DA will keep the paint cool so it sands easy, change your paper frequently and do a panel or two at a time so it's not too overwhelming and make sure you wear a good mask, you only have one set of lungs!
Welcome to the club.
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Old 07-05-2007, 04:20 PM
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I just noticed that neither one of us answered your second question. You don't need to remove panels when stripping the paint but you will have a higher quality job in the end if you do. Also you might want to invest in a small bead blast system, you will find it very useful for stripping hard to reach areas like door jambs and hood and trunk openings.
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