I wanted to get the car down to bare metal for a complete restoration. It seems to get harder and harder to find companies to media blast cars.
Chemical dipping is another option. I am opposed to chemically dipping any car or metal with overlapping segments. I have seen a few restored cars which were dipped rust from the inside out. I have also seen freshly restored cars take a corner on the first drive only to have chemical stripper run out of corner right across the fender. 

Problems with chemical stripper:

-Paint stripped in areas you cannot re-coat

-not all excess stripper neutralized

-stripper and neutralizer left in between layers of metal and channels only to ruin your day some time in the future


Media blasting is my choice in bare metal restorations. Some one will always warn you that Sand can warp body panels. Well hot air can warp panels if excelled hard enough and what must be understood is who is doing the stripping and the context of such. 


The problem with sand is if done by an "Industrial Stripper" who does not do cars they will likely  ruin panels. One must also consider the person stripping industrial equipment stands a good chance of messing up a body panel regardless of what he strips with.  


I have seen strippers who could strip most cars with sand and I have seen people take plastic media and ruin a panel. Know who is doing the work and know their back ground. My local sand blaster will not sand blast body panels and there fore I would not ask him to. He knows the limitations of the guys holding the guns. 


Having said that there are many forms of media to "Blast" a car with; sand, plastic, glass, dry ice, etc. In my area I do not have much of a choice. The last car I did was crushed glass and I found that to be a good compromise.


 The Pantera was soda blasted (baking soda). While it did get the paint off it did not get the surface ready for primmer. It was touted that the panels would not rust up after soda blasting but I saw little difference. 


Soda is very mild. You can blast a small part and it will not remove things like serial numbers. You can blast parts such as carburetors still assembled and wash them when done. 


They said if the car was sand or glass blasted that it may not be possible to remove the paint and primer with Soda blasting! Shows you how  sand/glass can rough up the surface making paint and primer adhesion very strong.


It did remove the paint but left rust and the surface was not ready to be primed. It was one of the few options I had as I could not blast the paint off with the equipment I had. I could follow up after the paint was gone as you will see.


***Click on photo for larger image***

Car stripped ready for transport. Rotisserie mounts left on but rolled onto trailer with dolly. Even apart the car looks great!
Car returned back from getting soda blasted. What secrets the paint held!!! A little naked on the return trip!


Soda blasting removed the paint but as you can see the rust was still there and the surface far from being ready to prime. Using my own small sandblaster every inch was blasted.
Blasting removed not only the rust but gave the surface a slightly rough surface perfect for primer adhesion! Every corner!


With my little blaster it was a full days job just to do one section. No one said it would be easy! Any non body panel was painted with POR 15. 

Coatings were applied AS SOON as the blasting was done!!!!

Another day, another section!!! NOTHING prepares a surface like blasting!


Holes welded up, Blasted!
Body panels were primed with Etch Primer! Wow, don't under estimate the work to get to this point!


Water was my number one enemy. I would blast for 10 minutes then wait for the compressor to catch back up. I fought and fought and fought water in the line. Finally I bought an air dryer from Harbor Freight and I fought water no more:


Etch Primer Industrial blasters have far larger compressor capacity then I. This barely got the job done!
Sand was scooped up and reused through a cooking screen and screen door screen. Don't try to reclaim it all. Let it work into the rocks and disappear. Fresh sand is sharper so reclaim some, add some.  I tried all kinds of sand and I found play sand to be some what mild and the best consistency over all. *HOWEVER* all sand store to store will vary. There is no need to buy special sandblasting sand; just good clean fine dry sand found in any hardware store (about $2.50 per bag).


The rest is scooped up for the next day! If sand is wet at all, spread it out and let it dry before using.
Here is a BIG key! Get a bunch of air hose quick disconnects. Pull off that heavy clunky valve. These last about an hour of blasting then they wear though the edge.  Pull it out and put another tip in. It makes the tip light and easy to handle and the hole is about the right size. The smaller the hole, the faster and more powerful the blast is. The larger the hole the more area covered. This is a good compromise. My combination of equipment:

See below.


Getting the right equipment is key. First I use a zip up painters suit from the hardware store (hooded). I wear cowboy boots( or some type of strapless boots). Helps keep the sand out of the shoes/boots. 

Breathing protection is a must. Sand is very bad for you when breathed. Sand abrasions in the lungs cause sores which do not heal which leads to cancer! So yes, a mask!

Ear plugs help keep sand out.

I use the thin disposable rubber gloves. 

I tried the hood with the glass and the screen which is suppose to deflect the sand so it does not etch the glass. It did not work well for me. I found the best solution was to purchase cheap disposable goggles from Harbor Freight; 3 for $4 (cheaper on sale). I wear them for about an hour then toss them for a new pair. I still wear the hood, but the hood has no glass.

Finally, you need to work out your own method of cleaning up acceptable to your spouse! The sand will follow you. I shower in the shop and it still takes a while to get the sand out of everything!