May 2010 - Continued paint removal


The nice task of paint removal continues and .............. continues. What an amount of work. 

May 1st 2010: A new month with new chances to get the paint off. The putty knife will do some overtime today. First I apply the paint remover and let it soak for about 10 minutes. Basically the paint remover does an okay job on the paint itself, but unfortunately has a lesser effect on the filler below. Some areas on the boot have a very thick layer of filler. Up to 3mm filler is applied in some places. The amount of effort required to remove the filler is enormous. In some places the original orange paint is coming through. I can only dream of the Giardinetta back in its original orange colour at this point in time. The paint removal process is going very slow, so it will take forever before the original paint can be applied again. Even though the result of today is not enormous it's again a small step.   

Some of the original orange paint coming through.


Thick layer of filler in some places.


End result of May 1st.



May 2nd: Even though it's Sunday and one of the few opportunities I can sleep in I will get up and continue my struggle with the paint removal. In this pace it will take forever to get the paint and filler off the body. I have to say that the boot has the most filler so I can only hope that the rest of the vehicle will be easier once I get this freaking boot done. The level of progress seems to be the same with previous days which means almost nothing :-( I get so frustrated that I decide to continue with the doors to get at least something done today. There are about 10 rivets in the doors from the door cards which have to be drilled out. This is a more straight forward job and gives at least a little bit of satisfaction. As expected the rivets are drilled out relatively easily. Also the rivets of the A-pillar trim have to be drilled out. Both the left & right hand side are attached to the A-pillar with 3 rivets. Also these rivets are taken out quickly. Even though the result is small at least it gives some satisfaction. A blister seems to be growing in the palm of my hand. This kind of labour with a putty knife is not normal for me so therefore a nice blister is coming up.

End result of May 2nd. Not much of a result.


Paint and putty mess on the floor of the garage. Result of a lot of sweat.


The relatively little amount of paint and putty is in no relation with the amount of effort put in.

Garage floor swept clean.

May 8th: Today I will go for another strategy regarding the paint/filler removal, I'll try removing some by chopping with the putty knife. It seems to work a bit better than the paint remover. Sometimes relatively big chips of filler are popping off. It feels good that some of the thick layer of filler is finally getting off. The end result of 5 hours chopping is not spectacular but definitely better than the way with the paint remover. The paint remover softens a thin layer of filler, but doesn't penetrate more than a thin layer. The "chopping" method is better and I will keep using it for areas with a thick layer of filler.

95% Filler & 5% paint removed with 5 hours of "chopping".


End result of 5 hours of "chopping".


An acceptable amount of filler removed.

Garage floor swept clean.

May 13th: Today is a national holiday so a great opportunity to get some progress in the paint removal. My dad will help today. 2 pair of hands make the work lighter of course. My dad will start with the right hand side rear window frame and I will continue with the boot. The companionship of my dad during the activities is enjoyable. The rear window frame has less filler than the boot so I hope that will go well. I will work on the section between the rectangular holes. 6 hours of hard work lead to the result that the lower section of the rear right hand window frame is more or less clean. Some small areas with filler remain but generally it looks quite good. Excellent work by my dad. My dad shares my opinion that the paint remover has very little effect. Regarding the boot I managed to clean the section between the rectangular holes, however if the speed of work doesn't go up I will be working on the paint removal in my grave :-( Anyway my dad helped me a lot and did some great work on the window frame.

Result at lunch time, boot section okay, rear window frame ongoing.


Final result of rear window frame lower section, quite clean.


Removed paint of rear right hand lower window frame.


Removed paint & filler of boot.


Quite an amount of paint & filler removed thanks to the help of my dad.

End result of boot.

May 14th: Due to the fact that yesterday (Thursday) was a national holiday today is mandatory holiday. The timing for this "mandatory holiday" is perfect, I want to make some progress, so this is a good opportunity. Again my dad will help out. Just like yesterday my dad will work on the right hand rear window frame and I'll continue my struggle with the boot. The progress on the window frame is good, my dad managed to clean the section below the frame very well, it's almost 100% clean, only very little sections with some filler are left. Although the result of his work is very good he is getting frustrated by the ratio between the amount of work and the achieved result. The boot is the same struggle as all the days before. After 3 hours of work little progress. The section near the right rectangular hole is almost free from filler. The filler was in some sections more than 3mm in this area. In the mean time the amount of blisters in my right hand has reached the number of 3. They are in the palm of my hand so that is quite inconvenient :-( A special kind of band aid should help .... let's see.

End result of boot after 3 hours of struggling.


Magnificent job by my dad on the right hand rear window frame lower section.


Result of many many hours of hard work.


Today's result of removed filler and paint.


3 blisters in the palm of my hand with special band aid.


May 15th: Before starting the "nice job" of paint removal again I went to the local "Do It Yourself" shop and bought 3 steel brushes which can be put on a drill. 50mm, 75mm and 100mm discs which hopefully speed up the work. Thanks to some good tips from members of the the Dutch Alfa club (thanks Ton & Martijn) I finally decided to buy these steel brushes even though they can cause scratches. I thought about it a long time, but with the blisters appearing on my hand everywhere and the thick layers of filler continue to pop up, I decided to go for it. Possibly due to the fact that I bought these brushes at the local DIY shop the prices were pretty steep. If I will buy them a next time I will buy them somewhere else. The filler on the boot is indeed going off much more quick than with my old fashioned manual way. The amounts of fine dust however are amazing. I was already warned for this phenomenon in advance but didn't expect it to be this bad. 5 hours of work cleaned up a portion of the boot quite nicely. My dad, who helped again today, continued his work on the window frame. The side an upper sections of the window frame are clean. The section below the frame is also started on, but the time was too short to finish that today. All in all a pretty satisfying end result today.

Steel brushes to put on drill, 50mm, 75mm & 100mm.


End result of boot after 5 hours.


Excellent job by my dad on the right hand rear window frame, completely clean.


Result of 5 hours of work.


Today's result of removed filler and paint.


May 16th: Today is the last of 4 holidays in a row. No activities on the car today because it's my birthday. From my parents I received several types of light bulbs from Philips to use in the future when my car will be roadworthy ;-) My brother and his girlfriend gave me 3 pieces of Philips halogen P45t headlights. I want to use the rectangular shaped headlights for my car which were originally in the vehicle however the light emitted by these Bilux headlights is rather poor when you compare it to modern headlights. These P45t headlights are H4 halogen lights which have a Bilux fitting. The ideal combination to maintain the original headlights and have sufficient light. In addition I received 2 new putty knifes which will come in handy and a can of epoxy paint to apply to the bare sections of metal. Nice presents which will be used well.

Epoxy spray, putty knifes and 3 H4 Bilux halogen light bulbs,

nice birthday presents from my brother & his girlfriend.

Several types of light bulbs and working gloves, nice birthday

presents from my parents.

May 21st: Today I have only a few hours to do something because I came back from my job in Germany late. Some evening hours in this beautiful weather hopefully bring some progress. The first welder I invited to take a look at my car made a comment about the tiny bubbles in the paint on the C-pillar. He estimated that it was a chemical reaction between the filler/ground layer and the paint. The second welder who came strongly advised to remove the paint and filler to assure that there is no breeding nest of rust underneath the paint layer. Today my focus will be on the RH C-pillar. The paint layer comes off quite good. Almost all the curls and flakes of paint fall into the ventilation opening. Unfortunately especially in the upper section there's quite an amount of filler underneath the paint. 3 hours of hand work lead to the fact that a good portion of the C-pillar is paint & filler free. Enough done for today. There are some small circular rust spots at the areas where the bubbles were however I wonder whether these small spots are the root cause for the bubbles.

Tiny bubbles at C-pillar, what is the cause of these bubbles?


Paint remover and it's peeling effect.


C-pillar with quite some paint removed late at night.

End result of 3 hours. Majority of paint & filler fell into ventilation opening of C-pillar.

May 22nd: Another day where I will have the ability to use 2 pairs of hands. My dad will help me again. He will start on the left hand rear window frame and I will continue my work on the boot & the right hand C-pillar. The progress on the window frame is not too bad. All paint is already off at the lunch break, of course the filler remains. The boot also has good progress compared to previous days. Possibly the higher temperature has a positive influence on the paint remover. Today is the first time I see the paint remover actually do the work I was expecting it to do. The paint pops up like popcorn. Unfortunately this only happens in an area of approximately 10 square centimetres, but at least the stuff seems to work a bit. It seems that the high ambient temperature is really making a significant difference. After 6 hours of scraping together with my dad we call it a day. The end result is nice, hopefully the same progress will be made tomorrow.

A big amount of removed paint & filler and a good result on the boot.


The left hand rear window frame nicely cleaned by my dad.


Quite an amount of removed paint & filler after 6 hours of labour with 2 people.


May 23rd: Today is a lucky day, both my dad and my mom will help with the paint removal. Unbelievable that they both sacrifice their holiday on this warm and sunny day to help me. My dad will continue his work on the left hand window frame and start on the left hand door where the rearview mirror is attached. My mom will work on the right hand door at the section where the rearview mirror is attached and I will continue (again) my work on the boot. As yesterday the progress of my dad is very good. The window frame is completely clean and also the door is nicely clean and additionally a start is made on the LH C-pillar. My mom did a good job on the right hand door. I removed all the purple paint from the outside of the boot. Now the only thing that remains is the filler :-(

LH door mirror section paint removed.


RH door mirror section & some more paint removed.


LH rear window frame completely clean & C-pillar started.


End result of boot, paint off completely but filler remaining in LH lower section.


Big amount of paint & filler removed from boot & C-pillar.

Big amount of paint & filler removed by 3 people.

May 24th: Again a national holiday completes this paint removal session for this long weekend. May has been successful due to the several holidays. Today again the work will be on the boot. I will try to remove the filler in the LH lower corner section. The only issue is that I've been keeping my right hand around the putty knife with a firm grip for so long that my hand won't come back in it's normal straight position anymore. I hope this will be resolved after a few days of no action. The filler in the in the LH lower section comes off slowly but steadily. I won't stop until this section is clean. After 6 hours I managed to get this section clean. Now it's time to stop because my hand is hurting more and more. It's a nice sight to see the majority of the boot clean. The amount of work &  sweat put into this result is more than I anticipated, but the end result is nice.

End result of boot, LH lower corner free from filler.

Only filler removed with many hours of hard labour.

May 25th: My right hand is hurting like hell and is all swollen. It looks like an internal infection of the ring finger & middle finger joint. Probably this infection is due to overload to these 2 joints??? I can only hope that the infection goes away swiftly because it hurts a lot and it looks terrible. If the swelling doesn't disappear I have to go see a doctor. The only option now is to take the medicine Ibuprofen.

May 26th: My mom and dad spent some hours working on my car again today. Unbelievable how kind they are to help me out whilst I'm in Germany for my work. The left hand and right hand C-pillars are the items for today and some small cleaning of all the paint and filler which fell inside of the vehicle. The LH C-pillar is very clean, the right hand side has some small sections of filler remaining at the top. A great result, thanks mom & dad.

LH C-Pillar completely clean.

Removed paint & filler from LH & RH C-Pillars.

May 29th: The weather is very nice today, sunshine and some wind so nothing to complain. The only thing to complain about is the infection of my right hand. I will only use my left hand today , let's see how the result will be. My mom & dad will help me out again today. My dad will clean the roof section where the sunroof used to be, the bad section on the bonnet and the right hand door frame. The welder requires some bare metal surface to attach new metal to close the hole in the roof. My mom is working several small areas such as the left hand rear light opening and some window frames. Due to the fact I can't use my right hand I will use the drill with the steel brush only. The front section, the connection of the front wings to the sills, the inside of the boot, the right hand inner wing and the left hand door frame are my targets. The roof and the bonnet cleaning operations come along very well. Also my mom is making some good progress. My own progress is also not too bad even though I can't use my right hand. The effectiveness of the steel brush is getting less, but still good enough to make some good progress today. I realise that the previous owner welded the front wings to the sills in order to get a good surface for the skirts. I will not put the skirts back and want to make this section original again so the front wings have to be cut free. The amount of filler the steel brush sweeps away is quite some.

Sunroof area end result.


Bonnet end result on the outside.


LH door frame end result, still a lot to do.


Boot rectangular hole inside paint removal.


Right hand rear wheel arch cleaning started.

End result including cleaning of inside of vehicle.

May30th: Even though my right hand is not healed yet and it needs rest I will continue today, but only with my left hand and using the drill instead of the manual operation with a putty knife. Today I will work on the front section. Due to the fact that a Alfasud TI spoiler and fog lights have been mounted there are several unwanted holes. I wonder if this part is salvageable, but I hope so. What surprises me is the fact that the colour Alfa red (AR530) is appearing underneath the purple paint and filler. The front section must have been used from another vehicle during the previous restoration. Also on this part the amount of applied filler is significant and again the painstaking work of filler removal pops up. In 4 hours I achieved some result, but the huge amount of filler is slowing me down.

Paint peeling effect of paint remover.


Alfa red paint underneath the purple paint & filler.


End result of front section for today.

Today's removed paint & filler.

May 31st: Only very little time is available today so I will try to clean the lower section of the LH door frame. Again I will use the drill only because I have to give my right hand some rest. The lower section of the door frame has 2 bad sections. These sections appeared after removing the paint and filler. These 2 sections would have definitely surfaced with rust in a few years if left in this condition. As a final task for today I removed a bit of remaining filler from the boot. Not a big result but there was not much time today.

Lower door frame most paint & filler removed, 2 bad sections surface.


Vertical door frame getting cleaner.


Little result of today.


All in all I've made some significant progress with the paint removal in May. I was very lucky that there were some national holidays which gave me the opportunity to make progress. Also the great help of my parents contributed to the result. Even though I finally made some progress it won't be enough to have a complete bare body by June 12th when the car will be shipped to the welder.