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The Classic Car Body Shop - Shot Blasting

We are the only Classic Car Specialist to invest in our own shot blasting facilities.

For those who do not know about shot blasting ....

Not any old shot blasting company can blast a car, because shot blasting is normally done on very thick steel such as cast iron and RSJs.

So, if you take a car to a shot blaster and they blast it the way they blast metal normally, the car will become distorted because it is made of thin steel. This is why we invested in our own shot blasting equipment; we can do the work ourselves and guarantee the results.

We have a 6mx4m rubber lined room for blasting; we wear an air-fed protective helmet, holding a large hose that fires very fine glass shot (a bit like sand) at high pressure at a Classic Car. This process removes all paint and all rust back to clean metal; if it is very rusty it will remove the rust and leave holes.

Some people say to use paint stripper to remove the paint and use a wire wheel to remove the rust. Shot-blasting is the most effective way to remove rust and it does a far better job than a wire wheel.

Click for the bigger picture
Frome's cut-away car
Click for the bigger picture
Shot blasting at Frome
Frome's Nine Stage Rust Removal Process

Let us talk you through the nine stages of getting a Classic Car rust free.

The photographs above are of the Frome 'cut-away car' which was specially prepared to illustrate each stage in the process.

  1. The Original Car

    As you can see from area 1 on the car, the original car has plenty of rust and its old paint work.

  2. Initial Shot Blasting
    The objective is to remove the rust, so the car shell is shot blasted back to bare metal.

    In most cases the rust starts from the inside out; you cannot see the rust from the outside. If it is rusty inside, for example in a box section, the rust will have thinned the metal and the blasting will create a hole revealing the existence of the rust on the inside to us.

    We cut it out and replace it with new metal.

  3. Welding
    We do all the welding required: floors, sills, inner and outer toe board, boot floor, inner rear wings, bonnet hinge, etc. And we weld in new metal where there was once rust.

  4. Second Blasting
    Bare metal goes rusty very quickly. Welding causes blueing in the metal where the heat gets in and thins it slightly. This is often the first place where rust will start; so we shot blast it again to remove the blueing. If the metal is too thin the blast will make pin holes; we repeat this process until we are happy with the result.

  5. Filling, Zinc-Coating, Undersealing

    A thin coat of filler is applied to take out small blemishes, not to fill holes or big dents.

    A coating of zinc is applied and injected into all cavities i.e. sills, floors, A B C posts, bonnet hinge area, inside the toe board etc; the joints are seam sealed.

    The bottom of the body shell is under sealed and the inside stone-chipped for harder protection, this includes the underside of the four wings.

  6. Etch Priming
    The body shell and panels are transferred to the spray oven, two coats of etch primer applied.

  7. High Build Priming

    Then three coats of high build primer are applied after this it is baked off in the oven.

    We apply a black guide coat so that we can see all the high and low points in the high build primer. This makes it easier to wet flat the panels. Wet flatting gives a smooth base for the three colour coats.

  8. Base Coating
    On this car we applied three coats of base. As you can see from the picture, base coat goes on matt. Base coat and lacquer are what are used on modern cars today.

  9. Lacquering

    We apply three coats of lacquer, then it gets baked off in the oven.

    In a couple of days we wet flat and compound the lacquer to give that mirror finish.

    We only use a top quality paint that does not fade within a couple of years, unlike cheaper paint.

  10. Final Finishing

    After it has been lacquered and it has fully cured we will then wet flap the lacquer with 2000 and 3000 wet and dry paper, then polish back up with a fine cutting compound to give a beautiful mirror finish. The last process takes approximately two days.

Darren Arthur