In keeping with the current times, I could have very well left the "patina" of the F-100's original yet weathered finish, detailed the underpinnings and drivetrain, and called it good to forgo a paint job. But then the '68 wouldn't have looked any different from all the rest of the beaters I've ever owned, which I'm not putting down, but I'd like to build AND own something that's "finished" for once. The idea behind the truck is that it's a modern twist-mostly under the hood-on what was being built in the late '60s/early '70s, which usually entailed being painted, chromed, and detailed ad infinitum no matter if it was a show car, dragster, motorcycle, or van. Well, we'll see how far I get with the infinitum part, but the fact is that I'm gonna give it the old college try.

The time had come for me to decide what to do to get the truck ready for metal and bodywork. I could sand the whole thing down or chemically remove the paint with aircraft stripper, neither of which would address the areas with surface rust on them. Plus, I would be doing some, not a lot of, custom metalwork, like raising the bed floor to clear the step notch over the rearend, and welding and smoothing some of the factory seams in the bed and cab-all of which could be done more easily with the surface in a more sanitary state like that left behind after media-blasting.

Having only ever needed small rugged parts media-blasted before, I was fairly green about getting a whole car or truck body-blasted, but most of us have probably heard about the dangers of blasting sheetmetal using heavily abrasive media and the potential for ruining body panels. Well, it seems there is a way to avoid this dangerous situation altogether-baking soda! Blasting with sodium bicarbonate or baking soda has been around for a little while now and is gaining more popularity every day.

To educate me on soda-blasting, I contacted Anacapa Soda Blasting in Oxnard, California. Owner Manny Vega has been in the blasting business for quite a while and is pro-soda for many reasons, but mainly because it's safe-for both the environment and what's being blasted. Sodium bicarbonate is nontoxic and doesn't possess the severe health risks that come with traditional sand-blasting that can lead to a deadly disease called crystalline silica when exposed to the silica in sand for an extended period of time. You still need to wear proper protection while blasting with soda, but you can breathe easy in your respirator.