Paint Removal With Soda

I’m actively restoring an old Honda motorcycle and one of the requisite steps is paint removal. This isn’t the most entertaining part of the process, but a necessary step to get back to that “like new” look. This particular bike is 30 years old and has a fair amount of surface rust but no structural rust damage.

There are a number of products and techniques out there for paint removal. Some are easier than others. Some are more environmentally friendly than others. I’ve used “Aircraft” paint stripper a little and it is nasty stuff. The biggest problem with chemical strippers, especially on complex parts with lots of nooks and crannies, is getting all of the stripper residue removed after removing the paint. In my effort to be kind to the environment, and with little research, I head down to the “Discount Tool Store” (You know the one) to pick up a big bag of soda, gloves, hood, respirator… and a few other items to safely remove paint from my old motorcycle frame.

All geared up and excited about the work in front of me, I turn on the compressor and get to work. It turns out that the work is slow, very slow… a couple of days and 20 hours of blasting later I’m not even half done! What the $%#!

I get back on the internet for a bit more research. After a few searches, to my surprise, I find out that many paint manufacturers don’t recommend soda blasting. Why, because of potential paint adhesion problems. That’s great! What do I do now. The frame is covered with soda. The steps from here to rid my frame of the soda residue is painful… pressure washing with soap and lots of water. Then a day to dry.

So where do I go from here? The frame is only half done!

A lot more research online and I find that the coal slag product “Black Diamond” is relatively safe, environmentally friendly, and inexpensive too. Now this stuff is VERY abrasive, so please pay attention to what you are doing and always be fully geared up when blasting with it.

Amazing! That is the simplest description. In just four hours I blasted the entire frame and it went from a mess to totally clean, smooth, paint and rust free.. diamond painting