Saturday Night Stripping!

 I am sure when you saw the title of this post you thought I was posting some different kind of material. Sorry to disappoint 🙂

 I have spent the last few years reading the questions, advice, adventure and misadventure of people stripping their aluminum tanks down. I thought it was finally time to give it a try.

Tank Stripping Before

 Most of the forum folks recommend Zip Strip or Klene Strip. I couldn’t find either of these products locally. I spent a bit of time looking for a suitable “aircraft stripper” with no results. My next step was to look at the MSDS for Zip Strip. I found that the listed ingredients matched “Dads Easy Spray Paint Stain and Varnish Remover” pretty well.

 When I got it home, I read the directions which seemed pretty straight forward. The only thing I didn’t like was that they recommend 60-80 degrees for optimal results. It’s still kinda cold here and I had a fancy blue aluminum 80 that was due for hydro. So I headed for the garage to give it a try anyways. I am not really known for following directions.

 I sprayed down the tank with the stripper and waited. But I am not the patient type, so as soon as I saw bubbles I started scrapping with my plastic paint scrapper.  Most of the paint just slothed off like melting butter. Nice! There were a few spots like the shoulder of the tank that the paint seemed thicker and was a bit stubbourn.

Tank Stripping Durring

 In hindsight I should have waited a bit longer and maybe waited until we had a warm day. But after reapplying a few times and scrapping down onto a garbage bag, then buffing with a towel, I had a pretty clean looking tank. I also had a messy garbage bag, two ruined gloves and a towell that would never be the same. I took the tank inside to the laundry sink and washed with soap and water.

 There has been some debate as to weather or not the tanks have a brushed finish underneath the paint. The 1994 Luxfer that I stripped tonight was indeed brushed underneath and looks very much like the aluminum 40 that I bought that way.

Tank Stripping After

 I am very happy with the result and I think that even if the finish had been that dull grey / molted look that others have gotten, it still would have been ok. In hindsight again I need to do this when it is warmer outside and let the stripper work longer. That would probably cut down on the time it took.

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About Chris Phinney

An IWMS Systems Manager and part time student at McMaster University. Chris is studying anthropology, more specifically archaeology working towards his BA. Chris was formerly a dive shop manager and is factory trained in regulator and equipment service. Chris enjoys research and studying fine details.

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