Soda Blasting

 

1939 Ford Project: Clean And Quick Paint Stripping  (From Hot Rod Magazine)

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    Readying The Car For Primer, Repairs And The Custom Sheetmetal Work
    By Steve Campbell Photography: Steve Campbel
     

    ’39 Ford Tudor sedan.

    In any project buildup, proper paint is crucial to the appeal of the finished product, and a good paint job begins with the thorough preparation of the vehicle’s surface. In some instances, original factory paint that has been correctly roughed is an excellent base for laying on new color and graphics. In other cases, however, it’s best to remove all of the old paint—sometimes many layers of it—to evaluate the soundness of the underlying steel, to determine what bodywork should or must be done and to spray a newly primed foundation for fresh colors. That’s particularly true of cars that have been painted several times as well as those like this car 55 years of history hidden under their pigment.

    Our ’39 has received a new Bitchin Products firewall, dash and floor, Resurrection Soda Blasting specializes in the clean and safe removal of old paint. Resurrection Soda Blasting utilizes a high-pressure blasting method to strip cars and trucks to bare metal, but the blasting medium is either baking soda or a combination of baking soda and slightly more aggressive media for heavy-duty cleanups such as deep rust pockets.

    Soda Blasting

    The basic blasting medium used by Resurrection Soda Blasting sodium bicarbonate—also known as baking soda. In addition to being a marvelous stripping agent, it’s biodegradable.

    Baking-soda blasting strips only paint from the car, leaving all rubber, glass and chrome unaffected. Body filler is also unaffected by the process, so previously repaired areas may be evaluated after stripping and either left intact or reworked. If desired, Resurrection Soda Blasting can also strip the filler.

    Soda Blasting

    Baking soda also offers post stripping benefits. Paint components can be separated from the medium and, because it is biodegradable, the residual baking-soda medium can simply be washed away without fear of harm to the environment. In addition, baking soda acts as a rust inhibitor, so the vehicle can sit coated in the blasting medium for a reasonable period of time after stripping without the formation of new surface rust. Resurrection Soda Blasting stripped the ’39 to bare metal in only a few hours. The same results, if done by hand with abrasives, would take days and require extremely meticulous detail work around body creases and seams. At the end of its stay in the blasting booth, the car was ready for primer, any needed repairs and the custom sheet metal touches we had planned.

    Soda Blasting

    The blast technician makes smooth passes with the blasting nozzle to remove all of the old paint yet do no harm to any of a car’s remaining rubber, glass, chrome or even existing body filler.

    Soda Blasting

    After half the car had been stripped, we washed away the residue from the car. In some cases—especially when the vehicle won’t receive primer right away—the medium can be left intact to act as a rust inhibitor until further bodywork is performed.

    Soda Blasting

    Here’s a graphic look at how nicely the baking soda removes old paint. Note that the body filler in the upper left trunk lid is unharmed by the blasting process. We can either leave that area as is or make further repairs to it.

    Soda Blasting

    With the body fully stripped, Schwab went back over areas that contained deep rust pockets with a mixture of baking soda and slightly more aggressive media.

    Soda Blasting

    This entire panel had been freckled with the type of deep rust that remains near the door seam. The more aggressive medium completely cleaned up the panel.

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    We blasted this pickup grille in only a few minutes to demonstrate how baking soda can be used to strip intricate pieces that would take hours of frustration to sand by hand.

    Soda Blasting

    We also blasted this soda can to show how gentle the process is. The baking soda eradicated the paint without even nicking the thin aluminum.