In this video, a YouTuber named Mid-Year Mitch takes the paint off of a ’60 Corvette in preparation for refinishing. While not a Mid-year as his name may imply, or a C3 for that matter, the process is very similar and of course, there are a few cameos of two Mid-year Corvettes for those keeping score.
The first step is to mechanically strip the body of all bright-work and anything that you don’t want “stripped”. The first two minutes of the video show the highlights, and then the work really starts. The car in question has the usual layers of paint and primer that you would expect for a car that is almost sixty years old. While for some, paint stripping might seem akin to three hose-wielding giraffes washing a football, there are actually some ways to do it that won’t douse the entire shop area with caustic fluid. This video helps give some insights.
Firstly, the reason for stripping a car’s paint is to remove the possibility for imperfections to rear their ugly heads in the future. If you’re worried enough about imperfections, then you’re detail oriented and that leads us to the first tidbit – work a small area, and do it well! While some will slather on paint stripper like they’re topping off the world’s largest DQ sundae, “Mitch” methodically works a small area at a time and makes sure that it is fully stripped before moving on. This limits the amount of stripper working at any time, and it allows you to remove the old paint adequately without leaving a mess.
Secondly, his use of steel wool limits a blade’s digging into the ‘glass and also has a nice abrasive characteristic. Don’t believe us, just ask that day-old, burned on egg in your frying pan. Now we can say that steel wool has been used to clean almost every surface, including paint, so long as you don’t WANT the paint anymore!
Thirdly, and likely most importantly, USE the proper safety gear! Gloves are a must, and of course, proper ventilation will help you keep all your breathing capacities intact. Also, clothing is a key consideration. You don’t want any chemicals getting onto your skin, so be careful, and while “Mitch” may not be in a full-on body suit, you can tell that he’s not wearing his “Sunday go-to meeting” clothes either. Wear what you’re comfortably safe wearing, but also it doesn’t hurt to err to the safe side when in doubt.
Whether you’re thinking of doing some paint work down the road, or you’ve always been interested in learning how the process works, this video can be a good primer on what paint stripping is all about. It’s worth the six minutes to watch, although we will say that sometimes, we’d rather hear “Mitch” than the music. Just sayin’.