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Old 11-27-2005, 08:37 PM   #1
bilby05's Avatar
1962 24' Tradewind
1962 24' Tradewind
Canyon , Texas
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 264
Alternative to polishing.

Our airstream, '69 Sovereign, has a bit of a surface "condition." From what I have read on this forum, the alternatives run from: remove the old clear coating and polish the dickens out of if, or clean it and re clear coat it, or clean it and paint it (like the Airstream Life Project.)

Since I am not a kid anymore and repetitive movements (polishing) wreaks havock on my Carpel tunnels as well as other moving parts, I am not looking to polish on a regular basis. Not that I don't think that polished AS are not absolutely beautiful, just don't think I can keep one up.

The "having it done"(clear coating or painting) does not fit in with my "we tight" approach to finances.

So it seems like one could remove the clear coat, clean the aluminum with a medium buffing compound and let the aluminum establish a natural patina. Then when my ship comes in either have it recoated or finish polished.

Or, would that be counterproductive and possibly damaging to the metal?

Appreciate any opinions.

cheers, bill b.

1962 Airstream Tradewind
2001 Ford 7.3 Diesel
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Old 11-27-2005, 09:53 PM   #2
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1977 31' Sovereign
1963 26' Overlander
1989 34' Excella
Johnsburg , Illinois
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 2,925
Since you are 61 maybe you could do a Tom Sawyer and get one of your kids or grandkids to give it a little polish when they visit you. Tell them it is fun and they will be inheriting it some day. Otherwise, maybe one of the local high school kids could be hired cheap to give it a simple manual polish.

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Old 11-27-2005, 10:48 PM   #3
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1968 17' Caravel
Battle Ground , Washington
Join Date: Dec 2002
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My trailer was polished once before I bought it, and since has returned to a more natural patina. It is not particularly objectionable, but it certainly shows more wear in the front where the road dirt, wind and water hit it while travelling. The back is still fairly shiny! It will soon guilt me into repolishing it, I am sure. But you should know, if you polish it once, you might be able to go several years before it bothers you enough you have to do it again. Of course, if you do it every year the job will be small, and if you wait like I did, the job will be harder. And you have 31 ft to polish!

You're really opening up a can of worms when you start polishing things! I think the surface 'condition' is not harmful. I would leave it be until that ship comes in!

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Old 11-28-2005, 09:37 AM   #4
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1976 31' Sovereign
Currently Looking...
Chandler , Oklahoma
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,770
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My, it's good to be an Argosy owner. This question never comes up. You either paint it or you don't. No discussion. Love my Argosy. Bilby05, what is that cute little creature in your avatar?
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Old 11-28-2005, 08:53 PM   #5
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2001 19' Bambi
Running Springs , California
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 42
Bilby05- Have you considered a 'cyclo' dual head orbital polisher? I've had one since before my AS and am considering a polishing party myself on my AS. I have used this cyclo polisher to keep my vehicles in the wax without the repitition of going it manually. I can wax a car very quickly and do as good a job as the detail services I used to use. Anyway, check it out on the internet, but I'm pretty sure this is the tool of choice for an AS polish.
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Old 11-29-2005, 06:21 AM   #6
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2006 25' Safari FB SE
Livingston , Texas
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 436
Images: 69
Paint / Polish

Hi Bill

I have an Argosy, but have seen several Airstream's painted.
The Airstream purist will go nuts if you paint.
I stripped mine with intent of polishing it, but after looking at the cost & time involved desided it would take the fun out of fulltiming. I had it painted by Rush Peterbilt in Buda, TX. I can now wash and wax my 24' in two hours. I only wax twice a year and love the ease of maintaining the shine.
I am 60 years old and don't need the hard labor of polishing my home every two years.
Good luck with your delima!

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Old 11-29-2005, 06:54 AM   #7
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1974 31' Sovereign
1993 21' Sovereign
Colfax , North Carolina
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 19,577
One of our forum members (sneakinup) has a factory-painted Overlander. It looks like it is a dull polish job. You should find pictures of it in the member's photos.
Meddle not in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy, and taste good with ketchup.
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Old 11-30-2005, 06:12 PM   #8
bilby05's Avatar
1962 24' Tradewind
1962 24' Tradewind
Canyon , Texas
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 264
To buff or not to buff.

Thanks to all who made suggestions. I have 12 (yes, a dozen) grandchildren. Must be something in the water around here. So maybe I'll give them each a polishing cloth for Christmas and have them over for a polishing competition, as per the "Tom Sawyer" suggestion.

Yup, gray is really gray. Not sure I want to go there, although there is sort of a charm, in a 50's kind of way. The paint looks good on the Argosy, but as a respray on the Airstream I think it would be costly to paint it to a level that would look good, like the Airstream Life project do.

I like the idea of doing the clean up in a methodical and orderly way. Sounds like it would fit with my easy going attitude. Strip and do the first step of polishing, one panel at a time. Then if I get "sucked in" to the polishing thing, finish the mirror look.

Thanks for the info.
Also, the little critter on my avitar is a "bilby," a small Australian marsupial that has become somewhat of a mascot image for Australia. I started using it when I was on an Austin Healy Sprite list and one of the listers from down under said every time he saw my signature "bill b." it brought a chuckle because it reminded him of the furry little bugeyed creature in the picture. Seemed to fit.
1962 Airstream Tradewind
2001 Ford 7.3 Diesel
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Old 01-16-2006, 03:40 PM   #9
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1970 31' Sovereign
Denver , Colorado
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 2
Something to consider

We hear this all the time. Our company Shyne specializes in polishing, blasting, protecting and detailing Airstreams. It is true that the upkeep on a mirror finish let alone the initial polish is extremely work intensive... but oh so sweet. Protective coatings offer warranties on lasting effect. A less expensive alternative to polishing is blasting which also offers the protective option.
Hope this helps.


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