Effective May 1, 2017, the base labor rate for all services (except sodablasting) is $110/hr. 100-Hour blocks of prepaid labor will be sold at the discouted rate of $100/hr. Projects that are already underway and those with deposits holding a spot in the backlog queue will be grandfathered in at their originally-quoted rate. See our "Ways to Pay" page (Company Menu) for more information.
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There's more than one way to skin a cat - and there's more than one way to strip a car or truck down in preparation for painting. There's always sanding - if you've got the muscle, stamina and lots of time. Then there's chemical stripping - which is messy and not always as effective as you might expect. There's always acid dipping, but will it compromise structural integrity? Then there's media blasting.

Media blasting comes in various forms - based primarily on the type of blasting media used. We've all heard of sandblasting (or "sand blasting"), but you rarely see actual sand used in professional media blasting because of the risk of silicosis. Instead, you see materials such as glass beads, ground glass, aluminum oxide, garnet, steel grit, walnut shells, etc. Well, there's a "new" media on the block. Good old baking soda has been found to be an excellent blasting media in situations where paint and other coatings need to be removed with minimal collateral damage to the underlying metal surface.

Here's a brief rundown on just some of the common uses for soda blasting:

  • Removes Paint From
    • Metal
    • Masonry
    • Fiberglass
    • Glass
  • Removes Graffiti
  • Removes Grease
  • Cleans Tile/Rocks/Concrete
  • Cleans Soot
  • Strips Pools Clean Prior to Repainting

There are several advantages to sodablasting over other methods of stripping:

  • Will Not Damage Glass
  • Will Not damage Chrome
  • Removes Paint from Fiberglass
  • Non-Toxic
  • Non-Hazardous
  • Water Soluble
  • No Etching
  • No Pitting
  • No Warping
  • Neutralizes Surface Rust

Midlife Classics' mobile media blasting rig was manufactured by Stripco and we are an authorized Stripco contractor. However, our particular rig is a unique Stripco product in that it is the only multi-media blasting rig that Stripco has produced. What this means is that we can use pretty much any blasting media that any other service would use in addition to baking soda (sodium bicarbonate).


The advantage to auto restorers is that we can go over the entire car with baking soda to remove paint and general grease and grime. Then we can go over the rusted areas with more aggressive media to remove all traces of rust without subjecting the entire car to the collateral damage that results from using such aggressive media.

One of the biggest advantages to using baking soda to blast a car is that while it will remove paint very quickly, it is gentle enough to not damage glass, chrome or rubber. And, once the paint is removed, the sheetmetal retains the original surface-tension boundary layer that it had when it left the foundry. Since it doesn't etch or pit the metal, it is not opened up to the elements like it is with aggressive media. This means that the metal will not flash rust overnight. In fact, the Mustang project pictured above did not have any protective coating applied to the interior or underside during the three months following it being blasted. During that time, all the bodywork was done to the exterior of the body - including a lot of rinsing. Three months later, there was absolutely no rust on any of the uncoated surfaces. On cars that have been sanded down to bare metal in the past (and had that surface-tension boundary layer breached), leaving the coating of baking soda dust on the body can help protect it from rust for up to six weeks.

There are few things more aggravating than having "junk" blow out of a hole or seam when you go to spray that first coat of paint. Unlike "sandblasting" (we'll use that as a generic term for blasting with aggressive media), when you are ready to spray primer and/or paint, you can rinse all the blasting media out of the nooks and crannies of your chassis because the baking soda is water soluble.

Cost is always a concern. While sodablasting is certainly cost-effective when compared to chemical stripping or sanding, it can be next to impossible to estimate the final cost of a blasting project without knowing what is under the paint. In the videos you'll find on this page, you'll see that a 12"x12" section of a painted body panel can be blasted clean in under 60 seconds. Underlying bodywork increases the time required as do grease/grime and other coatings - such as undercoating. The 1965 Mustang featured in the videos was completed in just 10 hours - and that project included every square inch of the chassis and body panels. Given an hourly rate of $165 (including materials), you're looking at just $1,650 to get down to a bare-metal chassis to begin your restoration. Granted, this particular Mustang is a best-case example because it had original paint, virtually no underlying bodywork and no undercoating. Having it mounted on our rotisserie also made getting to the undercarriage and other areas a breeze.

Blasting the exterior body of a car is the easiest part of the project, and if you are not concerned with blasting anything else, you can usually get away with just 4-6 hours of blasting ($600-$900). Engine compartments, interiors and undercarriages tend to be much more time consuming because of different materials that wind up coating the metal and the tight quarters that involve visibility issues because of "blow-back". So, if you're on a tight budget, you might consider just blasting the exterior body and limiting work in other areas.


There's a lot more you'll want to know about preparing your vehicle for sodablasting
Click HERE for more information about sodablasting YOUR vehicle


There are several other uses for sodablasting. For example, we've sodablasted wooden library benches to strip them of stain and urethane clear coat in preparation for refinishing.



Another great use for sodablasting is in graffiti removal. Below you'll see the before and after photos of a brick wall on a local business that was changing hands. We were tasked with removing the painted-on sign that had graced the building for years. Once finished (in less than 4 hours), there was no evidence at all that a sign had ever been there. Further down the page, you can view a video of the removal process.



VIDEOS

Click on an image to view the video

Send Mail to
bob@midlifeclassics.com