Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I got a fever and the only prescription: More Stripper

I started out the day grabbing another gallon of Mar-Hyde Tal Strip II. When I got over to the car, I was pleased to see that the second coat we'd laid down a little thicker had done a lot more to lift the paint. The great thing about leaving this stuff overnight was that it lifts the paint and then dries completely. So when you scrape it off, it just flakes off and doesn't stick to anything. It's a tad dusty, but not too much of a pain. Here's the hood after a light scraping with a plastic scraper (I used a plastic bondo mixing paddle kind of thing, you can see it on the hood)

Here in this close-up, you can see that the factory clear is mostly off, and there are a few spots where the factory paint and primer are gone, and the aluminum in starting to show through in spots. The bare aluminum is the darkest spots in the picture:

We spent another half hour doing a light scraping off the rest of the car. We had to keep remembering to just take off the loose paint and not scrape into the paint that hadn't lifted yet. It was hard not to get carried away with the Triangular Scraper.

We had some extra time, so we decided to apply the next gallon of stripper. It was a lot cooler today, in the mid 70's (yesterday was around 90*). The stripper went on a lot better. The instructions on the car say that you shouldn't use this stuff above 90*, and it obvious now why. The stuff dried before it even had a chance to work. At the lower temperature today, it was easier to apply, and it didn't evaporate as noticeably as before. We laid down the stuff as thick as possible, maybe 1/4" thick on horizontal surfaces, and 1/8" on the side panels. We used about the whole gallon of stripper, and I even went back and applied more to the thin spots. Here you can see clearly how the paint is lifting really well, and there are very few thin spots:

Here is a closeup of today's stripper in action, and you can see the metal starting to show up under the stripped paint:

Here is some body work under the paint that I didn't know about. The reddish color is the bondo / body filler starting to peel up. Body filler does get dissolved by the stripper, but not to the same extent as the paint. It just gets a little spongy, and scrapes up easily, but it doesn't bubble and lift like paint.

We let the stripper sit for a few hours, but still had a little bit of stripper left in gallon #2, and some time. So we decided to scrape off the stripper and paint that had lifted even though it was still wet. This turned out to be a bad idea. We had assumed that the stripper would have lost its mojo by now, and would lift any more paint, but what a mess. We used the big plastic scrapers to scrape the panels off, and stripper started to get everywhere. When we originally brushed it on, it is pretty controlled. There are very few spills, and it barely gets on your gloves. But when we were scraping this wet coat off, it was getting all over the floor. I kneeled on it a few times (It immediately burns the skin through the jeans, and I had to go hose my pants off until the stripper was neutralized.) It burned through my gloves a dozen times until I rinsed them off. It was hard to not track it all over the garage. It formed giant clumps on the ground that I kept stepping on. I accidentally leaned up against the car with my arms and legs and it just got everywhere. If I could do this over again, I'd let it sit overnight every time. The extra time would be worth not having to deal with scraping this stuff wet, unless you are really in a time pinch.

{This is also a great time to mention that it really helps to have some kind of cover on the ground for all the crap you are scraping off to land on, wet or dry. You can use cardboard boxes or thick paper. I had some butcher paper sitting around that we taped to the ground starting 12 inches under the car, and extending out about 20 inches past the outermost panels of the car, all the way around. It should simplify clean-up, and gives a place for all this crappy wet stripper and paint to land. Here is mine in action:}

{We are also tracking stripped paint all over. If you have an old doormat or leftover piece of carpet you can put at the edge of your workspace, it can really help. I ended up just wearing thick socks and flip-flops that I could kick off before I went into the house for a drink.}

We then went back over the panels and did some pretty aggressive scraping with the triangular scrapers to clean off some deep filler spots and to knock down some of the spots that had a lot of paint left, or that just hadn't lifted as well as other parts of the car. I knew we'd need one more gallon of stripper tomorrow, but wanted the last coat to lift up everything else and got carried away scraping. Here is a picture of the panels after this third coat (which was gallon #2):

You can see here that the headlight covers totally stripped after just two coats. The rest of the hood is mostly stripped.

Again, the lighter spots are where the factory paint is still there and the mottled dark gray is where the bare aluminum is showing through. The silver shiny spots are bare metal that was scraped too aggressively, or is catching the light just right. Also, you can see the tape is getting pretty hammered, but is still hanging in there. It actually was perfect because the stripper was soaking into the tape and starting to weaken the paint underneath, but the stripper wasn't dripping anywhere it shouldn't be:

We threw on what stripper was left from gallon #2, and called it a night.

Time spent today: 6 hours (2 guys x 3 hours)
1 gallon stripper: $36

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