Paint Removal

I've gotten a few emails asking about how we stripped the paint. In hindsight, this should have been the first thing we actually did. It wound up starting late into the project.

I initially had planned on having it all sandblasted. I heard it could be very bad, but the blaster I used said it shouldn't be a problem. He was wrong, and my seatbox was pretty messed up. They fixed that later at the body shop. I recommend avoiding real sandblasting. Then I found out about media blasting. One of the fenders was sent to be done and came out okay, but at that point we decided to just go with the chemicals.

Kleen Strip Aircraft Remover

We started with Kleen Strip Aircraft Remover; they had it by the gallon at a local body shop supplystore. Pep boys had it as well. They also had the aerosol version, which didn't work very well. You really need to be careful with this stuff, it smells terrible and burns the skin. I found that vinyl gloves used under heavy duty dishwashing gloves did a good job. But we went through quite a few. At first it's a novelty, you spread it on and it's cool to just see it start bubbling up. That loses its charm pretty quickly. After scraping the paint goo, we'd switch to steel wool and sort of scrub off the rest. Sometimes that would take multiple coats of the Aircraft Remover.

I also found another product we used a lot of, it was a citrus aerosol stripper that did an awesome job. It was a little slower then the Aircraft, but it smelled better and didn't burn nearly as much on the skin. While we only went through 2 1/2 gallons of Aircraft Remover, I probably bought about 20 cans of the citrus strip.

We also used a dual-action sander with a low grit and a wire wheel to get to the spots that the stripper wouldn't effect.

This was the same procedure for all the body parts and the galvanized trim. My trim had been painted over by a previous owner, so it looked pretty bad after the paint came off. Initially, I had planned on painting the galvanized trim using hammered paint, but realized that wouldn't look right.