More Stripping…

Well, after some odd 200 hours of labor, I can say the nightmare is over and the stripping is finished. After trying several brands and countless of hours I think I can say the best of all is the aforementioned D-Zolve.

As I posted above, I had thought the D-Zolve was junk, but on the home stretch we used it on some (what I thought) impossible to strip paint. After wrapping it in plastic and leaving it for three days, the paint just sloughed off.

Here’s the rub… The stuff is the stinkiest of any chemical I have ever used. Not only does it smell, but it lingers and lingers and lingers. Even just having the bucket open to the air causes your friends and family to run for the hills. If you have a heated hanger, with a floor drain, go for it. If you share a hanger or have other units attached to yours… Forget it! Of course if you can spray the stuff outside and then try to wrap it somehow, this might work really well. The key is TIME. You must let it sit for 24-48 hrs to really work. But I warn you… Stink stink stink.

For me, my stripping days are OVER. I don’t like to say never… but I’m pretty sure I will never strip another airplane. I’m super glad I did it, but once is enough for me~






Re-thinking strippers…

I have tried all kinds of product searching for the best (easiest) way to strip. Now that its almost completely over it really doesn’t matter, but I had been struggling with one last problem.

It seems that the paint used on my flaps and ailerons was a much different paint than on the rest of the airplane. No matter what product I used, nothing would work. I was about to sand and soda blast them but thought I would revisit one product I thought was junk.

There is a stripper by Solvent Kleen called D-Zolve  that I had tried early on. The company is right here in MA so I drove over to their warehouse and bought a 5 gal bucket. It was about $250 and the rep raved up and down that it was the bomb diggity etc… With enthusiasm, I gave it a try on a couple of test samples by brushing it on. 24hrs later, no joy. I called em up to complain and got no sympathy. In truth, I didn’t follow their instructions completely. 1) I didn’t shoot the stuff on with a gun, and 2) my shop was not near the 80+ degrees or so they wanted me to apply in.


I tried another couple of small tests with the same luck, and came to the conclusion that it would have been just as good to use oatmeal. Another complaint I had was that even though it was supposed to be “environmentally friendly,” the crap stunk so bad It was overwhelming, and hung around for a week.

Fast forward to the other day when I was scratching my head RE: the super-paint on the flaps/ailerons. I thought what the heck… I’ll give the D-Zolve one more try and did a small test. This time I wrapped it in poly and left it for 36 hrs.

To my surprise, when I came back and checked, it had removed all the paint. Way cool…

So this AM I brought both flaps and ailerons into the back of my office, cranked up the heat and went to town painting the stuff on. I wrapped them in plastic and am now letting them sit. Hopefully by Friday they will be stripped.

Downside: I used way more than I probably needed by brushing it on. Its pretty thick so difficult to get a nice even (thin) coat on by hand. Also, my landlord just came over and complained… (The stink has moved thru the industrial park.)

Net net: Looks like this might be the best solution for stripping (if:) you have an unattached hanger with a floor drain, ability to heat it up, have water in the hanger, and can spray the stripper on w/out getting it everywhere.



Pulling Flaps…


99% done with stripping, and in the spirit of never ever getting the Skywagon flying again, I went ahead and pulled the flaps and ailerons. It’s gonna be sooo much easier to strip the back side of the parts. Also a great time to replace the flap rollers.

I have made a decision on the final paint job. Wings will be polished, with painted flaps, ailerons, WingX and Tips.

Back in the 80’s, someone installed an Owl Cuff (Horton.) Of course like everything else, I couldn’t leave it alone, and it was pulled over the weekend.  The Owl came off super easy with no drama.  Should be pretty easy as the Sportsman has a bit more material and will bury all the old Owl rivet holes. Looking forward to the install!



No Patience…

Couldn’t stand looking at the beige paint and started in on the wing stripping….  Sucks.


Stripping Ain’t No Joke…

I think stripping an airplane is like most of life… If you have to ask, its not for you. For me, I don’t regret any of the work thus far, or any to come. Its very doable, but no joke and not to be taken lightly.

I still have to pull the wings and strip them. But that will be phase II after the summer season. Will be adding wing X, Sportsman, Monarch caps, and new bladders at that time.

If you strip, get ready to open a can of worms. You never know what you will find… and hold on to your wallet.


Stripping the exterior started today. Hope to loose at least another 15 lbs with the paint gone. Its gonna look nice polished!