1956 Chevrolet BelAir Car Restoration Project - Part 4
While we are waiting for the floor braces and panels to arrive we decided to do some work on some of the other pieces. We used an 8" sander with 36 grit sand paper to start stripping the paint on the outer door skins and the outer trunk lid. The 8' sander is a low speed-high torque sander that is made for material removal, mainly sanding body filler and removing paint.
After the doors and trunk lid were sanded to bare metal we gathered up some other parts to do some sandblasting. We decided to sandblast the door jambs, inner fenders, the front filler panel, the radiator support and the underside of the trunk lid.
The trunk lid before sanding.
The inside of the trunk lid now has a good coat of primer on it. Note the old cardboard insulation on the lid. It will be replaced with new insulation.
This is what the trunk lid looks like after sanding it with the 8 inch sander. Notice the lid already has rusty hand prints on it. It is essential that the surface rust has to be removed before any primer is applied. Otherwise, the rust will eventually come through the finished paint.
After the sandblasting was finished we immediately prepped the parts for a coat of epoxy primer. We spent some time to remove all of the sand from doors and the trunk lid. We use compressed air and a vacuum. Basically all you have to do after sandblasting is to blow the panels clean with compressed air before applying the primer. Make sure the air is dry. Drain you air filters and compressor first if needed.
Inner fender after sand blasting.
Inner fender after being shot with epoxy primer. They are in good shape but will require some rust repairs. They had been previously repaired but the old repairs fall short of our standards, so they will be redone.
The front bumper-lower grille panel after sandblasting.
The radiator support was in great shape, shown after sandblasting.
The doors are in exceptional condition and will not need any rust repairs.
If you let the parts sit for too long in bare metal they will start to rust again. We
have had a lot of humid weather in our area lately and everything has been flash rusting within a few days. You also need to be especially careful not to touch the bare metal with your bare hands after sandblasting. The oils from your skin can accelerate rusting.
At this point there has been no bodywork or rust repairs done to the parts that we just shot them with epoxy primer. The bodywork will come later. The parts can now be handled for repairs without worrying about them rusting again from handling them. Any filler work can be done over epoxy primer. If there is any epoxy primer left on the metal after we remove any dents it will not affect the performance of the filler. You can also paint directly over epoxy primer so areas such as the door jambs may not need further primer if they are in good enough shape. More on that in future articles.