Chemical Paint Stripping for Bare Metal Restorations

There are several ways to remove paint from a vehicle. Come of the best ways include sand blasting, water blasting, and chemical stripping. All of these methods will completely strip the vehicle of paint, primer, and any old body work that is hidden underneath, leaving just the metal body of the car. This is what we mean when we say we are ‘taking a car down to bare metal.’

The point of removing everything and bringing it down to bare metal is so we can get a clear picture of what is needed. When it’s bare metal, we’ll see all the waves, dents and imperfections that we will need to address.

If we don’t take the car down to bare metal, the old body work, especially if not done right, can cause problems down the road, maybe let in some moisture in, etc.

We’ve had a few bare metal restorations that we have used chemical paint stripper on in the shop lately, including a 1964 Ford Galaxie, and this 1964 Mustang. Its owner affectionately referred to the process as #NoMoreYellow. And that is what is happening indeed.

classic car paint stripping auto body shop

1964 Mustang: Before

Chemical paint stripping is an effective way to remove all the layers of paint and old body work on the car. We use semi-paste/ gel chemical paint strippers that we apply to the paint with a brush.

After it has been on for a few minutes, the paint will start to bubble up. Then, we can easily strip it off with a scrapper. Here is how it looks when the paint is starting to bubble up…

asheville paint stripping restoration

Chemical paint stripper starting to bubble up the paint

One thing to note about paint stripper is that it is a highly abrasive solvent. There are precautions to take before starting to strip the paint. This stuff will burn your skin, so it is important to wear gloves and cover your skin.

We get a good amount of it laid out on the car, wait about 5 minutes or so, and then scrap the paint off that has now started to bubble up.

Sometimes the paint just glides right off, other times you have to get the scrapper in just the right angle and carefully work it off the surface of the car. Take a look…

mills river paint stripping auto

Scraping off paint

Underneath the yellow paint on this Mustang, we found a lot of bondo putty. This is old body work done by a previous body shop at some point. To get it fully stripped down, we scraped through the old body work as well so we can restore the car from metal.

asheville paint stripping - hendersonville body shop

Lots of bondo underneath that paint!

When all the previous paint, primer and old body work have been removed from the vehicle, we are left with completely bare metal.

classic car restorations asheville hendersonville

’64 Mustang in bare metal

Of course, bare metal left like this attracts rust very quickly. So, when it’s all stripped down, we apply a coat of primer. This is an epoxy primer that acts as a very thin base to prevent rust from popping up as we’re working on it.

From here, we have a clean slate to work with.

classic car in primer

First coat of primer

This is the first step of a bare metal restoration process. Now that we’ve evaluated the condition of the body, we can start on getting it straight again. We’ve discussed the condition of the body with the owner and given them an estimate on repairs (which Tim is very accurate with). Now we are starting to disassemble and begin the restoration process. Stay tuned for more updates as progress is made!

For pictures of our previous work, check out the Photo Gallery.

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Are you ready for a classic restoration? Contact us to discuss your project with us today!

1 Reply to "Chemical Paint Stripping for Bare Metal Restorations"

  • Michelle Hermann
    August 9, 2017 (10:51 am)

    Looking good Tim. I knew I made the right decision bringing my Mustang to you. Can’t wait till she’s done!

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