Soda Blasting To Remove Paint?

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Soda Blasting To Remove Paint?

Postby stx2006 » Oct 23, 2013 7:43 pm

Has anyone ever tried using soda blasting as a way to remove paint inside a cave? Soda blasting is a environmentally friendly product. Only bad thing is, that you have to clean it up with water..... Which I guess isn't a bad thing if the cave has water running through it since the soda will not hurt the eco system in and around the cave..

If you or know of anyone who has used it, can you tell me how well it worked for you?
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Re: Soda Blasting To Remove Paint?

Postby PeterFJohnson » Oct 23, 2013 8:37 pm

I have soda blasted outside of a cave and I wouldn't recommend it in one. Often, especially with porous materials like brick(or limestone), the soda doesn't wash away easily. You often end up with white residue on whatever you are working on. But perhaps you can test it on similar limestone before trying?
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Re: Soda Blasting To Remove Paint?

Postby GroundquestMSA » Oct 23, 2013 8:40 pm

I've done a bit of soda blasting for surface prep on industrial painting jobs. It works well, and is much gentler than sand or glass bead or corn or walnut blasting...but it's slow. I've only worked with a steel substrate. Soda would etch limestone if not used carefully, but that's probably the case for any method of graffiti cleanup. Removing large amounts a graffiti would take a while and make a bit of a mess, and despite its relatively inert properties, cleanup could be a big issue since you will not be able to remove the blasting medium from the cave. It would be dissolved into the cave stream or washed from the walls and soak into the floor etc. I don't know if everyone would agree that mixing a bunch of soda into the cave environment would be 100% harmless. The rewards may outweigh the risks in most cases, though it seems that graffiti removal in general is a pretty touchy subject.
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Re: Soda Blasting To Remove Paint?

Postby stx2006 » Oct 23, 2013 8:44 pm

Ok thanks for the input. We are about to start a pretty big clean up on a cave with a lot of spay paint. I was trying to see if I could find something that wouldn't take forever to do. It may end up being better to leave the paint and just clean the trash out and lock the cave down and let nature get rid of the paint over the next 100 years. :sad:
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Re: Soda Blasting To Remove Paint?

Postby caverdan » Oct 24, 2013 9:55 am

Hey Matthew,
The NSS convention will be in Huntsville this coming Summer. There will be classes on cave clean up. Hope to see you there. :kewl:

When removing paint from the wall, it is best to somehow contain and catch it or your just transfering it from one spot to another. Paint residue is sometimes more toxic to animal life than if you just left it on the wall

Another thing to remember is not to destroy historic grafitti when trying to remove newer stuff. The historians can read through the new stuff and still document the old things like stoke marks and carbine signatures. By wiping it clean, you also take away the history with it. :doh:
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Re: Soda Blasting To Remove Paint?

Postby Anonymous_Coward » Nov 7, 2013 3:47 pm

Sand blasting has been used in heavily vandalized caves, but it's still pretty messy.
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Re: Soda Blasting To Remove Paint?

Postby JD » Nov 8, 2013 3:49 pm

You are correct that it is usually better to stop the creation of more grafitti and then leave what is there alone. There is quite a bit of disagreement in the caver community on the use of particle blasters in caves for a number of reasons. Historians and archaeologist are generally outraged by the whole practice, while many who want caves to look better (aesthetic restorationists), and who want to discourage future grafitti at unprotected sites, embrace the practice. There are a lot of considerations here. As someone concerned with cultural material, both historic and prehistoric, I advise that at a minimum all sites considered for clean-ups be carefully inspected by qualified persons well before a clean-up is planned. If pressed, I will say to leave the walls and ceilings alone and pick up the trash instead.

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Re: Soda Blasting To Remove Paint?

Postby UnderGroundEarth » Nov 12, 2013 4:51 pm

stx2006 wrote:Ok thanks for the input. We are about to start a pretty big clean up on a cave with a lot of spay paint. I was trying to see if I could find something that wouldn't take forever to do. It may end up being better to leave the paint and just clean the trash out and lock the cave down and let nature get rid of the paint over the next 100 years. :sad:


You should reach out to the SERA Karst Task Force (SKTF) for some assistance. They could offer resources, information, and possibly more volunteers for your cleanup. The SKTF is a a committee of the Southeastern Regional Association of the National Speleological Society and have a lot of experience cleaning up caves in the southeast. The current chair is Maureen Handler and her email is tnshotgun@earthlink.net. You can also join their facebook group by going to https://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/sera ... e/?fref=ts.
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