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Old 11-19-2003, 12:24 AM   #393
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I havent tried to polish my Airstream Yet but Im sure I will eventualy. However I have quite extensive knowledge in polishing aluminum and steel and stainless and brass. When you sand, grind or polish aluminum you remove the layer of oxydation. This layer is basicly 1 atom thick. it is the layer that is formed emediatly after the underlying atoms are exposed. Aluminum oxide is the same material that Rubys are made from or the grit on aluminum oxide sand paper. It is basicaly a very tough hard substance. By the time it gets dull enough to need polishing it is many atoms thick. If for instance you try to just polish off the hard suface, the polishing wheel will cut through here and there and make a very rough and wavey surface. so you have to cut the hard oxydation of with something as hard or harder than it is, AND something that is on a hard substrate so as to keep the surface smooth over a large area. Wet sanding with a block will do that job. Componding will do that job. I personaly think that wet sanding with a medium hard back up will do the job faster than the compounding , but I havent done this exact job yet. Then you have the low spots caused by rivits and small dents. thes would probably be removed better by compounding. so I will be prepaired to use every available way of cutting and polishing the oxydation off with much forthought. Mac
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Old 11-19-2003, 07:03 AM   #394
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Cool Just got back

Safari Tim
I see while I was away on a trip.(down to Va Beach)
Hmmm..
Thanks for your reply..I could not have said it better.
I do see that there's several points mention by austreampete, that needs clarification.
But, first..I have to run my Burb to the garage..exhaust manifold needs to be looked at..

ciao
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Old 11-19-2003, 11:09 AM   #395
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Clear Coat

Since we are getting comments from folks that "haven't been there" I thought I would add what seems to be missing from their comments.
The first step is to remove "all" the clear coat and this will impact the resulting effort required to polish your A/S. An area that may seem ok with no clear coat can have some risidual clear coat that will not compound out, can be sanded but you end up over sanding into areas you shouldn't have had to sand and cost a lot of extra time. Tim also ran into some other problems with tiny spots that wouldn't polish into a good shine with out a LOT of extra work. Everone doing the polishing has run into something unique that required experiminting to resolve. If you read thru this thread you will get some ideas of how we dealt with these problems and sharing our ideas to others that are thinking about undertaking the polishing effort.
The first step is very important in the over all effort and I believe there are as many options on removing clear caot as there is to polishing.
However; I don't think an Airmark is a reasonable solution to the DIY since you could have the polishing done by a profesional for the cost of the Airmark equipment.

Garry
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Old 11-19-2003, 01:14 PM   #396
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Garry-

Good day,
I appreciate what you say, and you're right about the diferences- its been explained that everyones caravan is from a different area, has had different exposures etc.

You have a very new caravan- considering that pre '64 had no clear, and many others as well. I've been looking at Spartan Manors, which have a fantastic construction, far superior to an Airstream, and also have no clear.

I've also never seen clear on any aircraft- I'm not saying its not possible, but I've never seen it, and because of the maintenance it requires- as you've shown.

It does however appear to preserve the skin, to an extent, and I assume that your job was easier than someone polishing a skin that was neglected and from 1947.

I also say that a caravan owner who wishes to make life simpler, is far better served to take on the Airmark system. Its 1/3 the cost of having it polished, and you'll own it for life, and can use it yearly to touch up and re-polish much faster and easier.

Your caravan would cost roughly $3000 to have polished by a real pro- not a start up novice with a cyclo who is looking for a way to make ends meet. The results from a barrel or drum polisher are incredible, and should be less strain on the skin, due to the fact that they leave no swirling from compound.

I asked my brother who has a better memory than I, about our Dads planes and the wet sanding around rivets. He said he used a block sometimes but held the paper in his palm and allowed his fingers to spread open and flow around and into the rivets and the light compression, and said it was no problem.

Mac certainly has a good handle on the polishing aspect as well. Polishing caravans isn't something exclusive- its a very limited market. Polishing of all metals and parts is quite a large industry, and if someone has polished an air cleaner from a 1967 Triumph Tiger, its basically the same knowledge that goes into a caravans skin, just a slightly different application- and a lot less time involved.

I'd like to hear Mac's opinion of the Airmark as opposed to the cyclo as a polishing tool.

Cheers! Peter.
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Old 11-19-2003, 02:22 PM   #397
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Peter I havent a clue what an Airmark is unless its a brand name for some industrial tool . Please put a picture and small definition on your next Letter. Mac
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Old 11-19-2003, 03:54 PM   #398
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www.airmarktools.net

Air driven barrel/drum polisher- made specifically for polishing aircraft skin.

Had you ever heard of a cyclo before?

I can say that we have drum polishers in Australia, but no cyclos that anyone has ever seen or heard about.

Read about them on the site and using your knowledge of polishing in general give us a neutral opinion. Cheers! Peter
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Old 11-19-2003, 06:36 PM   #399
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Please~!

austreampete
Quote:
caravan
Pete, do me a favor~
Please refer to our Airstream for what it is..an Airstream, not an caravan...Yuck~

After all, this is an American Icon~

thanks..
ciao
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Old 11-19-2003, 06:57 PM   #400
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Gary You mentioned that my axles may need replaced from looking at the picture. Today I crawled under there and checked them and Your right they average about 5 to 7 degrees below the frame , with the trailer empty. I'm quite sure with water and food and all the other stuff They will be flat or worse. well Ive got more time than money and a well equiped machine shop so I will probably adapt some sort of booster springs. probably small air bags. If I do you'll all see the pictures next year. Mac
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Old 11-19-2003, 08:16 PM   #401
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Axles

Hmmm..... I would sugest you look at some of the threads on axles before you make that decision. There are lots of good info on how to verify bad axles and resolving same.

Garry
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Old 11-19-2003, 08:28 PM   #402
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caravan

Peter, I'm ok with you calling your caravan anything you want, after all, it's your baby.
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Old 11-19-2003, 08:33 PM   #403
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Thumbs up Right mate

Tin Hut
He can call "his" (if he had one) anything he wants..but, I still stand by my request..

An American icon called "Airstream"..

ciao
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Old 11-19-2003, 08:36 PM   #404
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ciao

Glad we agree.:
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Old 11-19-2003, 10:16 PM   #405
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Lightbulb Check this~

Okay...
Here's the results so far..
I made a quick trip down to Va Beach over the weekend and, the waxed job on my Airstream is still holding up~!! I was able to just lightly buff the water marks off..I'll wait till Spring, for the final results.

ciao
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Old 11-20-2003, 12:27 AM   #406
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Thanks Gary for your concern about the axles. I will definatly get informed before I do something stupid Mac
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