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Bare metalling panels


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How does everyone go about doing this? I've used the clean and strip discs in the angle grinder to good effect in the past, but they are only really good for easy to access sections, and still leave large areas to remove inside wheel arch lips etc, which can take a lot of sanding, and I hate manual sanding!

I've used 'proper' paint stripper in the past, and still know how to get hold of it, but wouldn't touch it now knowing how toxic it is. Not surprised it's banned for consumer use. Even then I think it's overrated.

The straight wire brush angle grinder attachments look promising at first, but have a reputation for shedding wires which can be equally dangerous at high speed. The knotted wire brush types don't, but they are too coarse in my experience.

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Horrible job whatever.  Unless you have it blasted (soda of walnut shells by someone who knows what they are doing!!), dipped or baked.  Did have the GT6 chassis blasted and the guy who did that swears he does body shells for Haynes......  I'm chicken though - I've seen panels warped and stretched beyond recovery.  

Have always done ours by hand using a mixture of the methods you describe - though modern de-toxed paint stripper seems to be a waste of money.  Wear thick clothing, strong gloves and very good eye protection when using a mule skinner - they are vicious things that want to drink your blood!

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Hi Richard,

removing paint by any method has its faults.  The best methods are the simple ones where it comes off quick and clean(ish)

A sanding disc is easy in flattish area but you MOST wear a mask and googles.

Paint stripper is very handy for the awkward areas. You need a chemical that will remove it quickly. Starchem is excellent Stripper. Use full PPE and plenty of ventilation.

The grit/soda/plastic media blasters can do a good job - bit only in the hands of an expert.

The chemical dip processes have had bad press, probably with good cause, as removal of the chems in the joints can be difficult.

There are some thermo processes that work well but I have no info on them.



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Thanks both, as I suspected then. No easy way out!

Now I'm ready to start doing the bodywork, it's dawned on me that my smug collection of stanpart panels is a liability of time. I have so little of it these days, but they've all at least got enough hints of spidering or rust that they're all going to want bare metalling and priming with bondarust before I use them. God knows how long it's going to take to do rear wings.

I'm equally wary as you both on blasting. My Spitfire's original bonnet was lost when the previous owner blasted it during a restoration and it was warped beyond repair. Don't see the point risking it with original panels, because the main reason I got them to have something at least close to the right shape...

I had the chassis and shell stripped with pyrolysis and I have to say despite my worries, all the panels came out extremely well with no distortion. Even the TR6 hardtop I included for my Dad came out mint, and that's a huge flat-ish area. I didn't dare send my spare panels off though, took me years to find them bit by bit.

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Bare metalling the "new" panels is not the worst - especially if in the older red oxide which sands off fairly easily.  The more recent black stiff is less funny but still better than layers of paint of filler that you find on the car itself.  The GT6 had enough paint on it to blur it's lines.....

If you've got spidering, you might want to r=try a rust neutraliser like  Hydrate 80 or even the Rustins stuff Toolstation sell - very cheap and seems to work very well.  Avoid Fertan!!

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That gives me hope. They are an interesting mix - inner sills, sill closer panel and drivers bulkhead (actually a 60s early Spit panel) are red oxide. Outer sills are grey Rover primer and rear wings are 90s ecoat (earliest being Oct 1990).

I've done one of the Rover outer sills already and the grey primer was pretty rough to remove, despite being quite pitted with surface rust underneath. 

My neutraliser of choice is Clarke rust remover. Its a hidden gem, 7 quid for a litre of it. Its basically just phosphoric acid with a lovely pink hue, and works tremendously well. The sill I took to bare metal was wiped down with it and left in the garage for 6 years, not a trace of even the slightest surface rust on it now. Dont know what dilution it is but whatever it is, its very effective at taking heavy rust off too with a bit of brushing and time. I have generic phosphoric acid too that can be mixed down, but you cannot beat the clarke stuff for convenience.

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For anything that is not an outer panel, I sand blast.  There is no simpler, more effective process to remove paint, rust and most other material from metal.  For outer panels with a lot of shape or curvature, I do the same.

For more flatish outer panels, it is usually a Methylene Chloride stripper outdoors, and then abrasive wheels.  The blaster might be necessary to get into some tight areas.


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