Friday, November 11, 2011

up on the roof

Even casual readers of this blog will know how much I love my wire wheel, but it has it's disadvantages. The most obvious is that you wouldn't want to use it to remove paint from any bodywork that will actually be seen once the car is finished, so when it came to stripping the roof I needed a different tactic. The main reason for going right down to the metal is that my car has been re-sprayed a number of times and the paint is as thick as eggshell in places, especially on the white-over-red-over-more-red roof.

I could have used a dual action (DA) sander, but that would mean a lot of dust, and wouldn't get into any of the tighter spaces, so I decided to go back to the aircraft stripper that was so successful when I worked over the doors. The obvious drawback was that I really didn't want to get stripper on anything that had already been painted, so I had to be very careful....I started at the driver drip rail and worked onto the A and C-pillars:

I mentioned above about getting rid of the thick old paint, but the second reason for stripping everywhere was so that I could get a proper look at the sheet metal - I don't want to miss any rust, and as it turned out I would have done (!). Unfortunately I don't have a very good "before" photo, but I had noticed previously that there was a raised texture at the edge of the roof above the drivers door - this is how it looked after the first layer of paint has been removed:

More paint removal and clean up gave a clearer picture of what was causing this imperfection...oh dear. A least I didn't paint over it. I'll have to figure out how bad this is pretty soon, but for now on with the stripping....after all, the most important thing is to find out if the other side is the same, and if there are any other hidden treasures lurking beneath the surface. I know a guy who found an aftermarket sunroof had once been installed in his 67 fastback at a similar stage of the restoration, so for now I'm counting myself lucky.

I pulled the sealer out of the drip rails with a pair of dental picks (note: an extremely worthwhile and cheap tool btw), and...oh dear...a lot more rust, fortunately it's only in the A-pillar as far as I can tell. I'll be coming back to this bit later too.


There are also quite a few areas of damage to the drip rails; another project for another day will be straightening all this out.

End of the first session and I've been all round the edge of the door opening on the outside and started working my way across the top of the windshield...this is going to take a while....

Next time out it was onto the roof proper after I added some more protection for the bit I already stripped.

Tool Tip: I picked up this scraper at Home Depot months ago for about two dollars - might sound a lot for piece of plastic and 10 razor blades, but it is actually worth a LOT more. To start with, it is exceptionally well engineered, and that includes the spring-loaded blades box which delivers individual blades in a very safe manner. I'm going to pick up a few more of these if I ever see them again....

Here it is in action. I actually don't recommend trying to take off seventeen layers of paint in one stroke as you have to press on pretty hard, but it can be done if you give a thick layer of stripper about 10 minutes to do its thing. After getting off as much as I possibly could with the blade I used some #000 wire wood pads to get right to the metal.

End of the second session, over half the roof done, and finished the top edge of the windshield opening.


  1. You are the master of metal cleaning! Nice work as usual.

  2. That looks brilliant. I sure wish my roof skin looked that nice. Also, great tip on the razor blade scraper tool. I'll be on the hunt for one of those for sure! Excellent work!

  3. A wire wheel and a razor blade. The man is the Picasso of Paint Removal. Joy, I'm beginning to wonder if just leaving it bare metal and sealing it in clear should be 'your look'. Paint only detracts from your work :)

  4. WOW! Very interesting technique. Great work indeed!

  5. Excellent job. You will be glad you did it, especially since you discovered some rust gremlins. Keep on it!