Repainting Your Corvette? Don’t Be Afraid to Use Chemical Strip
A chemical strip is great, time-effective way to get your Corvette ready for that new paint job.
Pensive. It’s probably a common trait among DIY’ers who are tackling paint removal for the first time. It’s an understandable feeling, too, since fiberglass is soft, scrapers aren’t, and chemical strip products could pose a risk to the fiberglass, too.
Since many are aware that imperfections in surface prep are magnified, rather than masked with each additional layer on top of it, a paint strip becomes the first opportunity to really do some irreparable damage. However, that’s not the case according to some of our members, who range from DIY first-timers, all the way to body work professionals.
Between the three methods up for discussion, one forum member, who goes by DUB, brought up a good point. They said, “the funny thing about body work is you can always grind it all back out and do it over and over until you achieve what you want.” As well, DUB pointed out that almost any car which is getting stripped for a re-paint will need to have some amount of body filler added to repair damage, no matter what. Having the least amount of body filler “won’t win any contests.” Fair point.
That’s great for the two physical methods, but the issue that arose with chemical strippers is a possibility of eating away at the fiberglass, causing damage that can’t be properly patched over if body filler can’t cure to it.
However, Dave Cunningham, who proposed the original question went forth with the chemical strip, which he found to be extremely easy. With the use of a razor to clean up some of the paint softened with Aircraft stripper, the process became quite easy, and the results are looking quite good from what we can see in these project photos.
Forum member vetski179 also contributed his own experience, showing his 1980 C3 being stripped using chemicals. He was using strippers not explicitly made for fiberglass, and some of them did slightly eat into the material where undercoating was thin. Because of this, and the time-consuming aspect of chemical stripping by one panel at a time, he would have chosen a media blast in hindsight.
Is there one wrong way or right way to strip the paint off your Corvette? Well, there’s not really a wrong way, but depending on your end goal and skills, our members will be able to point you in the right direction for your project.