Out I went first thing and bought my third, and last, gallon of MarHyde Tal Strip II. Jesse was kind enough to brush on a bunch of it first thing in the morning so it could sit all day and dry off so we don't have more problems like yesterday with the wet stripper getting all over the place. He used about 3/4 of the gallon on the whole car, and probably could have used a bit less, but we both decided to just slather it on and be done stripping. (If you are stripping just factory paint, I bet you could do the whole car with two gallons total. I just needed extra to get rid of the Maaco job and because of deciding to start to strip on a 90 degree day.)
I showed up after work and scraped the car off as explained over the last few days.
A unique twist occurred today. In all of the spots where the paint was gone and the stripper was applied over metal, the stripper had dried to a gel like consistency, yet remained fairly potent. It was easier to just brush the whole car, instead of all the patchy spots that had paint; but keep in mind that the gel stripper that has dried on the metal can burn you. I found myself being pretty careless, like I had been with the dried stripper in the past days, which was mostly neutralized. This led to lots of burns through my gloves, and several where I thought I had cleaned off a lower panel, yet leaning against the car led to burns through my pants, or was transferred to my skin from my pants later on. The burns don't hurt too bad, as long as you get some water on them when you start to feel them tingle. Then again, you'd be hard pressed to just ignore the pain which escalates rather quickly once a tiny bit of this stuff is on your skin. None of my 'burns' left any marks since I was quick with the water.
The books all recommend at this point, scraping off what remaining paint you have, and then using a scotch-brite pad to scour off the last bits, perhaps using running water. I didn't want to bring water into the garage or get it all over, and so I opted to just run over the entire car lightly with the Triangle Scraper and remove every last bit of paint. I'm sure you could probably get away with leaving small flecks here and there that would just be covered by primer, and would all even out when the car is block sanded, but I haven't spent all this time to have some small bits of paint come back to haunt me. So I spent several hours finding every last pinhead sized spot of paint or primer left, and scraping it off. I had to spend a ton of extra time on the rear end of the car around the license plate where all of the curves and inverted angles kept the stripper from laying on thick and stripping well. I got just about all of the car paint free, except for the door handles and several large sections of body work with really deep filler.
One other tip that I picked up during the process from some blog, that wasn't mentioned in any of the books I read was that you need to avoid Steel Wool at all costs. I was planning on scouring the last bit of paint with it, but it turns out that small bits of steel can be deposited in the cracks and sand scratches of the aluminum, and hasten rust. It is safer and easier to just use a coarse 3M Scotch-brite pad. I used the maroon ones. If you see them in the picture, they look unusual because they aren't normal rectangles. They are torn or cut from large 24" pads that Jesse uses for refinishing floors.
Also note: at this point, I kept finding myself scraping some of the oxidation off the aluminum to show the pretty shiny aluminum underneath. Most of the aluminum directly after stripping and sitting in the garage for a few days is pretty dark and splotchy. I probably spent two hours scraping at spots that didn't have any paint, just because I was so desperate to see the panels even and well prepared. This is a waste of time. Once the paint is off, stop, and leave the aluminum cleaning for later. It all comes off really fast with the right tools (ie, chemicals) which I'll do in a few more days.
Time spent today: 6 hours (1 brushing, 5 scraping)
1 gallon stripper: $36