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Old 09-26-2015, 12:23 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Punch View Post
Another consideration:

I am not a metallurgist, but having worked with classic cars for years I have often encountered the consequences of misguided polishing. This comes as an unanticipated "side effect" leading to the common metallurgical procedure of work hardening.

The basic principle of work hardening is that by stressing metal alloy its strength can be increased. The alloy undergoes plastic deformation and the metallic grains are broken and become smaller. The tighter grain structure prevents inter-granular slippage thereby increasing the strength of the alloy. This work hardening can be performed by stretching or bending the metal, or by vigorous polishing.

Increasing strength sounds excellent, maybe another reason to polish your AS....... but unfortunately this is not necessarily so. The downside of work hardening is that for large areas of metal sheeting that are subject to vibration or torsional stresses (like frinstance an Airstream barreling down the highway at 70 mph or bumping over a track down to a good campsite) work hardening induces a brittleness in the sheeting, leading to stress cracks and even complete failure.

Much of the structural integrity of an aluminum Airstream is dependent upon the ability of the metal to elastically resist and recover from the kind of stresses that the taut cylinder forming the aluminum body encounters when moving at speed or over less than smooth terrain. This taut aluminum cylinder is why Airstreams were always lighter than other designs.

Over the years working with classic cars I have often seen over-zealous polishing of brass and aluminum tubing lead to fracture. I wonder if anyone who has polished their tubular aluminum Airstream to a beautiful mirror finish has ever found tiny fractures or stress lines after putting a few thousand miles on it?
Not a metallurgist, either, but I am a self taught machinist that's worked with lots of aluminum, and I've done more than a little research on the subject. What I've learned tells me you're wrong, aluminum does NOT work harden like so many other metals, it hardens with age. Think about it, if work hardening was a major issue with aluminum, why would they use so much of it in aircraft, and why would so many of those aircraft still be flying after decades of take-offs and landings? Even a small plane takes a lot more abuse than one of our trailers, and you don't even want to think about the stressed involved in getting a jumbo jet in and out of the air.

In the interest of full disclosure, I'm in the process of prepping my AS for polishing, so I take issue with your statements, anyway. As I'm also in the midst of a shell off resto, I think my lack of mental stability is already well established . The frame work is done and the shell is back on the frame, the plan was to get it back together and polish later. But then it occurred to me that polishing while the inner skins were still off might be a good idea, so the plan changed. I've now removed almost everything hanging off the exterior except the main awning rail and the air conditioner, should make the polishing much easier. I just need another day to finish the stripping, if the weather will cooperate. Then it's back in the shop for the winter, to emerge in the spring as a glorious shiny silver butterfly. See what I mean about mental stability ? Later.

Dave
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Old 09-26-2015, 12:48 PM   #16
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Who asked you

Did someone ask you what your opinion was on polished Airstream?
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Old 09-26-2015, 12:59 PM   #17
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All of the 10 I owned had orig finish with typ. flaking and peeling and I always lived with that, but admired the ones with all the energy to polish and keep it up. Some folks are wired that way and im cool with that! I adore vintage chrome appliances and a shinny AS toaster seems the same to me!
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Old 09-26-2015, 01:00 PM   #18
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You know what I don't like? Brussels sprouts. Not knocking anybody who likes 'em but those things are nasty. Must not have the enzyme for them...

But I did once have a highly polished '67 Safari. Once. Not too smart on the coast. I prefer the natural clearcoat look now.
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Old 09-26-2015, 01:36 PM   #19
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Dave .... look up aluminum and work hardening. Aluminum does work harden. Aircraft alloys are aircraft alloys. Airstreams are not made with them.

Jaxon .... You write Not too smart on the coast. Thanks for making my point for me.

Once again I reiterate that I was specifically talking about
Airstream Classic Motorhomes.
Not trailers.Trailer people please calm down now. Breathe deep and regular. Everything will be OK.
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Old 09-26-2015, 02:18 PM   #20
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Quote:
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Did someone ask you what your opinion was on polished Airstream?
Doesn't matter everyone is entitled to an opinion, unfortunately that means you as well. I for one think it's a good discussion. There are pros and cons to polishing and nothing wrong with discussing them.

I like the looks of a polished Airstream to an extent but it's definitely not worth my money, time and effort to polish one.

To each their own.
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Old 09-26-2015, 02:20 PM   #21
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You know what I don't like? Brussels sprouts. Not knocking anybody who likes 'em but those things are nasty. Must not have the enzyme for them...
AMEN! I can't stand those nasty things either
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Old 09-26-2015, 02:43 PM   #22
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AMEN! I can't stand those nasty things either

My wife does a roasted Brussel Sprouts with Bacon recipe that might change your mind.

And I understand the reflection from polished motorhomes can roast bacon - so I'm somewhat on topic. 😃

Didn't someone recently post a pic of a polished MH in a sports thread I think. Looked very good to me.
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Old 09-26-2015, 03:29 PM   #23
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[QUOTE=SteveSueMac;1689228]My wife does a roasted Brussel Sprouts with Bacon recipe that might change your mind.

That sounds like a perfect waste of bacon😀


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Old 09-26-2015, 04:23 PM   #24
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I was going to paint my Sovereign, but the wife wanted shiny.... Which gets us back to my first fallacious assertion, "my Sovereign", when it is, and always has been my wife's trailer....

I painted some normally shiny stuff though.




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Old 09-26-2015, 04:49 PM   #25
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[QUOTE=sheriff1;1689256]
Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveSueMac View Post
My wife does a roasted Brussel Sprouts with Bacon recipe that might change your mind.

That sounds like a perfect waste of bacon😀
No kidding... And you 've got to take time to peel the bacon off, too.
.
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Old 09-26-2015, 04:52 PM   #26
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I must say that I am pleased with the response, which has been, for the most part, pretty civilized.

A while ago I spoke to a guy who owned one of the early Airstream motor homes, an Argosy. He decided to do the polishing thing and I guess didn't do much research, because he was very much surprised when he found the fiberglass sections at the front and rear. I was telling him that I owned a 1989 Chevy truck that was a clearcoated silver, and the same year we bought a Charmac stock trailer, custom made for us in Idaho. We decided to have it painted the Chevy silver. It was a smart looking combination, and an amazing number of people thought that we had an aluminum trailer. I was suggesting to the Argosy guy that the 1989 Chevy silver would look nice on his Argosy, and in fact if I had to respray a Classic MH, I would choose that color. The appearance of the polished look (almost) without any of the headaches.

I like Brussels Sprouts. You have to buy the small, dense ones. They are very good with roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, served with an abundance of gravy and baked parsnip chips as the second vegetable. I shall have to go and eat something now, I can feel my blood glucose dropping.
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Old 09-26-2015, 04:53 PM   #27
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That sounds like a perfect waste of bacon
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Old 09-26-2015, 04:53 PM   #28
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The thing about owning an AS is that you can do with it however it pleases you. You pay for it, you insure it, you use it (or some misuse it), you repair it, and finally you may sell it for more or less than what you want. I like the older AS to shine. I paid to have it shine the first time and now we keep it waxed. Thats our choice, but I figure life is short enough that you should be able to make your own decisions about this as best pleases you. It is at least not a safety issue unless you polish it so much that reflected sunlight blinds other drivers, and headlights do the same, but mine never polished that brilliant. Enjoy your AS.
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