Hi Edward, Firstly, this is my personal view.
If you have the funds, without doubt chemical stripping saves labour. Colin will confirm that! Blasting removes rust and will leave you a clean canvas to work with. I think the mistake some people make is soda blasting. That removes paint but doesn't shift rust. If you do go this route, remember chemicals will go inside everything. You will need to make sure everything gets a good protective coating because it will get inside all the box sections . Another thing, that bare, steel shell well need a good coat of etch primer asap because every time you touch it while working on it you will start it rusting, that also goes for keeping it in a damp environment.
Sorry, I can't help you with the struts. Another guy on here was also looking for a pair, they seem in demand.