If you are going to do a job then the motto is “do it right” and this most certainly applies when it comes to stripping paint. Most professionals when stripping the paint from panels for example will depend on a chemical process to assist them. The chemical is specifically designed for stripping paint for the most part, though these are not cheap so learning to work with them properly can save you time and money. It’s still a time consuming project. You have to apply the stripper, leave it while it does its job, then come back and scrape of the stripper, then start the process all over again.
Here are some steps to help you get the job done fast and efficiently.
Get the surface ready. You do this by masking off the areas you don’t want stripped. Make sure you use a good quality masking tape, as you don’t want the stripper to seep under the tape. Also, be sure to mask well any openings or crevices that the stripper could get into. If this were to happen and go unnoticed then you could run into a problem later on. Stripper could easily surface up into the new paint you just recently applied.
There are many good chemical strippers on the market today. Make sure you read and follow all of the manufacturer’s directions exactly. Don’t just assume that the one you are using now is going to be the same as the one you used last time. Some strippers are in liquid form while others are in a paste form. One common brand that is quite good is Aircraft Remover that is specifically made for auto body use. You need to pour some of the stripper from its original contain into a disposable container. Make sure you use a chemical resistant paintbrush to apply it with otherwise you could end up with a melted brush.
When you are applying the chemical, apply it in one direction only and don’t work too much with it. Working it too much only reduces its activity.
This is an important step. Once you have your stripper on then cover it with polyethylene about 2-4ml thickness. Then secure this all around the edges. The reason for doing this is that the chemical components in the stripper that are responsible for softening up the paint evaporate quickly. Whereas if you cover it then it will work for a much longer period of time. You can leave it up to two hours for tough jobs. This little technique makes that expensive stripper go a little bit further. Another hint as well is with a 40-60 grade sandpaper just rough up the surface of the paint just enough to break through the paint film then apply the stripper.
Remove the polyethylene, scrape, and then use steel wool to get into the crevices. Make sure all of the stripper residue is removed before proceeding. Some strippers you can rinse with water, but read the manufacturers directions according to the product you are using.