Chevrolet Body Tips & Tricks - Body Tricks

Ideas for Creating a Clean Machine

Jake Amatisto Aug 21, 2012 0 Comment(s)
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Enamel paint is a hard-drying substance that typically gets baked on in heated bays. Enamels are tough when they dry, but can be tricky to apply for the inexperienced painter. Enamel with a top clearcoat is referred to as a two-stage system, and the enamels that don’t require the clear are categorized as a single stage. Urethane paints are fairly new to the auto world, they can be pricey, but are easy to spray and have the toughness of enamels. Urethane paints are made using three ingredients: the color, a reducer to thin the color to the right viscosity for the spray gun, and a catalyst used to accelerate drying time. Once these elements are combined, the painter must use it posthaste or the paint could get ruined. Finally, the newest type of paint is water-based paint. This is a nontoxic product that can bond effectively to metal, primer, or even over an existing paintjob. This is the top choice for the hobbyist; however it does require a topcoat of clear urethane to protect the paint. All three paint types can be found at, even lacquer based.

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When it comes to patching a rot hole on a complicated angle, you would think welding in a nice square piece would be ideal, but actually, some skilled bodymen prefer a patch with a more rounded shape. The sharp edges of a square can hold heat, unlike an obtuse shape, which distributes heat more evenly. If a panel gets too hot in a certain spot, it can warp the area, causing you more work. Rookie welders should practice welding with different settings on some scrap metal before attempting to “fix” anything permanently. Some, if not most serious rot repair jobs should be handled by a professional if you want to remedy them for good, but if you’re daring, broke, and/or comfortable with your mistakes, try it; they say practice makes perfect.

The Assessment

As we drove home in a ’63 Nova hardtop that we just couldn’t pass up despite seven rot holes, all we could think was, “please have a solid floor”. Assessing your project after a purchase can prove to be a mixed bag; sometimes you get more than you bargained for. In our case, we got lucky and found a running shoebox a couple months ago on and although some rust had started to eat away at the roof in some areas, the fact that it was a straight and running specimen made it irresistible. Now since we are not metal fabricators, we are leaning toward remedying the rot using some DuPont rust inhibitor then filling the holes with All-Steel, the metal-bonding body filler. We know it’s not the absolute best way to get your car straight, but when you’re frugal and/or content with your projects being less than perfect, then this method may work for you too. Just know that rust bubbles can still show up years down the road if you just treat and fill the rust crevasses. Look for a series of buildup articles on this Nova in future issues of CHP, where we make it go from a regular beater to a face beater.

Blast Off

When you finally decide that adding that new coat of paint over your car’s 17 other layers of old paint is not the best idea, you’ll need to start thinking of your stripping options according to your elbow-grease-to-expendable-dollars ratio. We recently thought we’d try to manually strip our project’s paint to bare metal using some Aircraft stripper and a grinder, but after realizing how tedious and time consuming it was, we started looking into other options.

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Soda blasting is a process we found out about that uses sodium bicarbonate (similar to baking soda, but formulated especially for blasting) applied to a surface using compressed air. Similar to sandblasting, soda actually does not harm the surface of your work (or the environment), during or after use. And because it’s a relatively gentle substance, you can oftentimes leave the chrome and windows in place.

Carbon, grease, oils, gasket material, surface corrosion, paint and coatings from a variety of alloys, plastics, and composites are annihilated with the blasting process, however, soda blasting leaves hard-anodized coatings intact.

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Look for an article in an upcoming issue, where we head to Cal Blast in Upland, California, with our new project car to get its terrible ointment-colored paint blasted away to bare metal. We’ll be able to see exactly what kind of metal repairs and patching it will need.


Squeeg's Kustoms
Mesa, AZ 85210
American Muscle Cars
San Bernardino, CA
Wilmington, DE 19898
Cal Blast
(909) 949-9505
California Auto Body Shop Supplies
Quigley's Auto Body
O.C. Cars Inc.




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