Sandblasting the enormous honkin’ rack

Today saw me sandblasting metal shoulder-to-shoulder in the midday sun with Dave, pharm as we stripped the roof rack we picked up last week and primered it and the van’s roof in prep for painting.

The prop shop next door to Dave in (undisclosed location) has a compressor the size of a Volkswagen, which powered Dave’s sandblaster through 100 pounds of #30-grit sand.

It’s tedious, filthy work …

Dave is, as should be obvious, some kind of zen mensch to take this on. With the help of him and lovely wife Janine and their neighbor, we muscled the rack down off the van and parked it in the driveway atop some tarps.

No pictures of the move, because it took all four of us to get it down from the van without being killed. It weighs somewhere in the neighborhood of 400 pounds, and bulky as as a bishop juggling a hippo that has a supertanker balanced on the end of its snout. But we got it down and commenced to shredding the paint off it with 30-grit sand.

I hope our respirators were tight enough. Silcosis is a drag.

For sandblasting, you need a sandblaster – which is basically a simple siphon powered by a big-ass compressor.

(It just so happens, the prop shop next door to Dave in (undisclosed location) has a compressor the size of a Volkswagen. )

Hook up the compressor, shove the steel siphon into a bucket of sand, point the nozzle at the paint and rust you want to obliterate, and FFFFFFSSSSHHOOMM, you’re off to the races.

Your face and arms are constantly peppered with grains of sand barely a few pecometers across, you wind up with it down your back, in your shoes.

We took turns blasting the rack, and when it wasn’t my turn, I busied myself sanding the roof:

I managed to get the whole thing sanded, and then started painting, when I realized it was going to take forever to get anywhere: Too windy. By the time I quit, I had Rustoleum all up and down my right arm (and across the windshield), but it came out looking fairly snappy.

So we moved the rack inside the yard from the alley, and called it a night.

More photos later this weekend (and my most humble and profuse thanks to Dave! Even after showering, did you find sand in your scalp and ears too?)

2 thoughts on “Sandblasting the enormous honkin’ rack”

  1. I am always surprised to be referred to as “burly,” but I guess that’s lingering memories of how scrawny I was for most of my (misspent) youth. Now I look at these photos and go “Whoa! Who’s the wandering offensive lineman?” Anyway – it was actually rather Zen … like Zen and the Art of Dangerous Tool-Use or some such. It was a surprise how much effort it took to blast that stubborn paint off the rack. The rust flaked right off, but that latex, man, that stuff is stubborn.

    What I most treasured was the looks of horror in the family in the sedan that mistakenly drove down the alley, and found me looking like a Cowboy Alien. Or perhaps a menacing Meth Chef (have I been watching Breaking Bad too much lately?)

    Those respirator masks are sure dorky, but I do prefer that to hocking up a lung for the rest of my life.

  2. Breaking Bad indeed – paranoia, flop sweat and cursing, on my part. Of course now I wanna go back and sandblast all the xylophones too – should give ’em a wicked sheen.

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