Classic Car Restoration Services: Blasting Vs. Chemical Dip

Classic Car Restoration Services: Blasting Vs. Chemical Dip

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1942 Chevrolet Table Top Rat Rod

By sv1ambo (1942 Chevrolet table top rat rod) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Classic car restoration projects – especially Corvette restorations – require the owner and shop to make the critical decision between blasting the car and using a chemical dip service. Comprehensive classic car restoration services will make this determination based on the particular car and the type of body materials it is comprised of. In order to understand which process will work for your restoration project, it’s important to comprehend the basic differences between blasting and a chemical or acid dip.

Classic Car Restoration Services: Blasting

When it comes to classic car restorations, blasting refers to the process of stripping paint, enamel, finish and other coatings from the body, frame and other areas of the vehicle. This is accomplished by literally blasting particulates at the car at high velocity and intensity. These particulates are referred to as the blasting media, and can consist of different grades of sand, glass beads, crush walnut shells and other media. This process strips the paint and other surface materials off the body and leaves a workable surface that is generally ready to prime.

However, there are a number of things to consider when working on your Corvette restoration, antique Chevy pickup or other project. The most significant problem is that despite the best blasting efforts, it’s impossible to get the media into every space on your body and frame. Weld points, joints and inside the rails of the frame are all areas that cannot be reached with sodablasting, sandblasting or other blasting techniques. In some cases this issue can be corrected by filling these spaces with a waxy filler substance, but even this material will not be able to penetrate all areas where rust may be developing.

Working with a professional classic car restoration services firm is critical for a number of other reasons related to blasting. This includes the fact that blasting leaves a significant amount of particulate materials that are difficult to clean and may cause problems during the final paint coat application process as the particles work their way out of the car and onto the surface. Additionally, inexperienced restorers can actually warp the body elements of your classic car if they are not properly trained or provided with adequate equipment.

If done correctly, one of the most significant benefits of blasting your classic car is that the surface will be instantly ready for primer. Additionally, blasting does not strip the vehicle of sealants and primer in areas that you want left un-blasted.

Overall, blasting is cheaper than a chemical dip, and there are more classic car restoration services offering this particular method than there are those offering a full acid bath. Nevertheless, there are distinct benefits to a chemical dip as well.

One of the most significant problems reported with chemical dips is that the neutralization process isn’t always completed properly. In many cases the job simply can’t be completed properly (for the long term) because the acid neutralizer – applied to the car after the dip to stop the acid from doing residual damage – isn’t able to get into all of the same areas that the chemical dip reached. This means that over time, some of the acid may leech out and corrode paint or otherwise damage the surface of your classic car.

The trade-off here is that a chemical dip can force its way into every nook and crevice of your car- even attacking the rust on the inside of the frame rails. A chemical dip also means that there is very little preparation work needed – all undercoating, sealers, oil, resin, tar, dirt and anything else will be stripped away without any manual intervention before or during the dipping process.

Some classic car restoration services have reported that after an acid dip, the resulting surface of the car is so smooth that it’s difficult or impossible to get it to take a coat of paint. Couple this with the fact that an acid bath is often more expensive and less easy to obtain than blasting, and it’s easy to see why so many people complete their classic car restoration projects with blasting services.

However, a true professional classic car restorations shop will carefully analyze your vehicle to determine which the right choice is for you. Because there are so many variables involved and because even the slightest mistake can prove disastrous, it’s best to leave your serious, committed project to an expert classic car restoration services firm.

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