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Old 07-27-2010, 03:30 PM   #1
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1968 24' Tradewind
2005 25' International CCD
Corvallis , Oregon
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 24
A few questions about polishing...

I'm in the process of starting the exterior renovation/restoration and had a few questions about polishing...

My first is the use of foam vs. wool pads. I've been using wool exclusively so far, but has anyone tried using foam pads? The wool pads that I have have practically no cutting power... Is there a wool pad that people recommend for compounding or the initial major cutting? Would foam pads work, or is there something that I don't know that would not allow for the use of foam pads?

Also, how many pads do people cycle through? I've found even with a good spur, my pads get caked and lose what little cutting power they had very fast. I currently have 3 pads that I can use in the morning, wash after they are all used, and re-use them after they have dried (usually the evening).

Then there are some basic questions that I've been wondering but haven't been able to find (please forgive me if they can be found easily, but I did use the search function before asking)...

How much pressure do you apply when compounding/polishing?
How fast do you move the rotary polisher?

That's all for now, thanks in advance to anyone who can help me out!

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Old 07-27-2010, 04:50 PM   #2
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1970 27' Overlander
Espanola , Full Timer
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Well....those foam 'terry cloth pads are about two bucks for four I think at dollar stores, I have been through to many to count. When they cake up with the O-dation, I will get a bottle of CLR and sneak off to a laundry. Seems like you can get three uses out of them before they start to break down with a cyclo. And mind you, a cyclo will certainly give them the road test! I know the rest of you get tired of hearing me pushing the 'Gravel in a bottle' aka 3M super duty rubbing compound. It's cheaper and preforms very well and you get a lot of it for 15 dollars or so from R & E paint supply. It has kerosene in it and this keeps it wet L-o-n-g-e-r! Nuvite is good but expensive. 'Gravel does almost immediatlt take out the 'crud' and even mild scratches...even deep scratches if you work at it, so well in fact that you will find your self searching all over town for those elusive pads. I will paste a you tube video in here too for you. Your 68 ought to be an (what they call) ALCLAD aluminum. There is an extra coating of it both inside and on the outside of the shell, which should leave you a spectacular shine (like mercury) in the end. I also finish out with Mothers aluminum mag polish and it's as simple as that. Low low cost for materials-lot's of supply on hand to boot, and all it's gonna cost you the most in the end I figure is your time and sweat effort --and this is using a cyclo as the tool. The cyclo people have in their attachments dept. These hook and loop rubber cups that fit over each head and those cotton pads stick right on there. They cost about 20.00 for the pair. ...YouTube - Mothers and Gravel in a Bottle Polish/70' Airstream

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Old 07-27-2010, 05:24 PM   #3
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1952 25' Cruiser
Foresthill , California
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I'm polishing my 52 Cruiser now. I'm compounding first using wool long nap pads & Nuvite Grad G6 & F9 for the many stubborn areas. With the Nuvite using less product revels better results, I get many sessions (days) without changing pads. I use a cleaning tool to free up and release the matting by moving it over the pad as it spins. A dull screw driver will suffice. It's not easy and I am applying some force to small areas but the results are there. I will finish later with the cyclo polisher and a th e finishing fine coat of Nuvite S grade. It took me awhile to get in the zone practicing with pressure, angle of pad amd the correct amount of Nuvite. I start at the top of a given area and move the polisher down at an slight outer edge of the pad, then repeat, then use more of the total surface area to kinda "clean the polished area. I thouroughly clean the small polished area with mineral spirits and throw away t-shirt towels. the repeat on the next adjacent area. Definately not an easy or fast way, but I am getting the desired results and I love putting the shine on something old and dull.
May we both have the patience and determination to complete the job.
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Old 07-27-2010, 05:36 PM   #4
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1979 31' Sovereign
1950 22' Liner
Powhatan , Virginia
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When we polished ours, we used the terry cotten heads for compounding and still have the original 5 from our 31', all in working order and great shape. The cyclo part, we have the foam heads on the polisher but used t-shirt material, wrapped over the entire cyclo (but not covering the air exhaust opening). You kind of hold the ends together at the top or use a large reusable zip tie to hold the bunsh together. This way, the foam doesn't get messed up at all and you just have to clean the t-shirt material. I think after cyclo'ing our 31', I finally wore out the first set of foam pads but only because they were so compressed down, not due to being dirty.

There is a really good blog on how to do this efficiently using the t-shirt material (moving it around as it turns black to use the whole piece). Do a search on polishing as I am sure I saw it here multiple times. I think the vintage trailer website also has the instruction on this.
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Old 07-27-2010, 05:52 PM   #5
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1968 24' Tradewind
2005 25' International CCD
Corvallis , Oregon
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 24
Thanks for all of the replies! I think I'll try using even less nuvite to see if that works for me. If not, I'll have to see about the rubbing compound followed up with the mothers polish, seems like great results were achieved for relatively cheap.
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Old 07-27-2010, 06:48 PM   #6
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1965 22' Safari
Vassar , Michigan
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I used the "Perfect Polish" method recommended by Vintage Trailer Supply. I have 6 wool pads and used up 2 jars of Nuvite 7. The compounding took forever. Then used Nuvite S with the Cyclo and Tee Shirt coth (disposible). The results are spectactular but does require much effort. Good Luck!....Tim
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