Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 09-12-2010, 08:57 PM   #1
1 Rivet Member
 
gmcryan's Avatar
 
1984 31' Sovereign
Edmond , Oklahoma
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 19
Images: 1
Hand Polishing

Has anyone ever tried to polish their Airstream by hand? I own a 1983 Airstream and am in the process of polishing it by hand. My goal is to not polish it to a mirrored finish because I don't want to worry about the upkeep. I've been using aircraft stripper to remove the clearcoat and I've been using an aluminum polish. I've been applying the polish "with the grain" (I want to keep the grain in the aluminum visible, just make it shinier). I'm also using rubber sanding blocks with terry towels to apply the polish (instead of sandpaper, of course). It makes the polishing process much easier. Polishing by hand is quite a time consuming process. I've only finished a 4x4 foot area (about one hour of labor), but I've tested multiple sections throughout the trailer. After polishing, I'm applying laquer thinner in order to remove excess polish. For the final step, I apply a hard wax, hoping it will somewhat help protect all my work.

Any tips would be greatly appreciated. Thanks
__________________

__________________
gmcryan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-25-2010, 10:29 PM   #2
1 Rivet Member
 
gmcryan's Avatar
 
1984 31' Sovereign
Edmond , Oklahoma
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 19
Images: 1
I spent the entire day removing clearcoat. I've been using aircraft stripper. It seems to work really well. I noticed that the top of the Airstream did not have any clearcoat on it (sun baked it off). For the most part, I had no major problems....except.... I got some aircraft stripper on the plexiglass on the front of the Airstream. It etched the glass. Can I still buy this part for my 1983 Airstream?

Tomorrow I begin the polishing. My Dad and a friend actually polished the entire lower half of the Airstream today. It looks great. Not a complete mirrored polish, but I am wanting a "back to original" look. As for the blue and white pinstripes, I am changing them to orange and white (I'm an Oklahoma State fan). Hopefully, tomorrow is smooth.
__________________

__________________
gmcryan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-26-2010, 07:21 AM   #3
Rivet Master
 
AIR-Quarius's Avatar
 
1970 27' Overlander
Espanola , Full Timer
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 1,752
Images: 39
Send a message via Yahoo to AIR-Quarius Send a message via Skype™ to AIR-Quarius
In some instances, I will hand polish small areas and I have had good results (see my other threads and posts) using 3M super duty rubbing compound (nicknamed 'gravel in a bottle') ..and finishing with mother mag aluminum polish. I use simple kerosene as it tends to keep the surface wet longer as a clean up of the black oxidation. I hit the salvation army and goodwill dumpsters for old tee shirts to wipe up with.
Orange and White? Heres a link to Inland RV...those plexiglas rock shield visors run up to around 300.00 -- but they look great regardless
Inland RV Center - The Nations Leading Expert in Airstream Innovations

AIR-Quarius is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-27-2010, 08:17 PM   #4
1 Rivet Member
 
gmcryan's Avatar
 
1984 31' Sovereign
Edmond , Oklahoma
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 19
Images: 1
Thanks for the tip on the Kerosene. I've been using laquer thinner. It seems to dry too fast which causes black streaks. I'm having trouble on the sides of the trailer. I have a lot of water runs which almost look like rust (which it can't be because the sides are aluminum... of course). It has been a batle getting the spots off. I'm going to use a buffer with a very fine polishing pad (nothing too strong).

I can't belive I ruined the plexiglass. I'm thinking I can color sand it (similar to sanding headlamp lenses). It will always be pitted, but I can at least get the white color out of the tinted plexiglass.
__________________
gmcryan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-27-2010, 08:38 PM   #5
Rivet Master
 
Melody Ranch's Avatar
 
1956 22' Flying Cloud
1953 32' Liner
1955 22' Safari
Valley View , Texas
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 3,960
Images: 78
Send a message via Skype™ to Melody Ranch
Try a hand spray bottle of mineral spirits instead of kerosene....usa as necessary. I am sure you will like it better.....but, kerosene does work well.
__________________
"If it can't be reduced, reused, repaired, rebuilt, refurbished, refinished, resold, recycled or composted
then it should be restricted, redesigned or removed from production."
Melody Ranch is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-27-2010, 10:09 PM   #6
Rivet Master
 
VIKING's Avatar
 
1955 22' Flying Cloud
Boulder Creek , California
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 1,177
Lacquer thinner and stripper will also ruin plastic marker light lenses and other plastic trim pieces. Kerosene should be okay if you're not a smoker.

Rich the Viking
__________________
VIKING is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-27-2010, 11:25 PM   #7
4 Rivet Member
 
1975 27' Overlander
High River , Alberta
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 393
My trailer needs help . . . re-coating would cost about as much as I paid for it . . . a mirror polish seems like more work than its worth. I just want it to look decent, not showroom new. Your approach seems like one that would work for me. I wonder about the effectiveness of a good wax. I find annual waxing with a high quality wax is fine for a car, using a quality car wash soap on a regular basis. Even twice a year might be acceptable on the trailer, using an electric buffer.

Keep us posted. Photos would be great.
__________________
AlbertF is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-28-2010, 06:28 AM   #8
Rivet Master
 
AIR-Quarius's Avatar
 
1970 27' Overlander
Espanola , Full Timer
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 1,752
Images: 39
Send a message via Yahoo to AIR-Quarius Send a message via Skype™ to AIR-Quarius
Some waxes will leave a foggy finish and you sure don't want that to look at when finished. Depends on where you live too. Kerosene will not tear your hands up. Lacquer Thinner certainly does clean, but the vapors and harsh nature will leave you with mixed emotions. Kerosene is something you can go to some gas stations and fill up a gas can with it, and you won't worry about running out plus it's cheap and will not fry your brain.
The 3M compound cream polish is about 14-15 dollars a quart. It also has kerosene in it. Even though I use a cyclo, the 3M if hand polishing does the same thing--takes the grime and crud off and takes you down to a dull even finish that is ready to polish up to the shine, or near shine that you want. The vintage skins on these airstreams are 'well coated' aluminum, called 'Alclad', which when polished right will leave you with an almost 'mercury silver finish'. That once finished will almost stay that way for months at a time. Polishing will FLAT OUT-WEAR YOU OUT! But it's a great way to work those muscles.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	DSCF4468.JPG
Views:	118
Size:	150.3 KB
ID:	111803  
__________________
http://customrvdecalplus.com
AIR-Quarius is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-28-2010, 08:42 AM   #9
Rivet Master
Commercial Member
 
bredlo's Avatar
 
1954 22' Safari
Deerfield , Illinois
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 1,419
Images: 23
Send a message via AIM to bredlo
Using power tools on a 31 footer is cause enough for many people to tear out their hair...
I can't imagine the permanent psychological scarring from doing it all by hand. Best of luck, and check in often - otherwise, we may need to perform a "welfare check" now and then.
__________________
Brad
bredlo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-28-2010, 05:12 PM   #10
Rivet Master
 
toastie's Avatar
 
Currently Looking...
1955 22' Safari
Great Lake State , .
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 1,459
Quote:
Originally Posted by gmcryan View Post
Has anyone ever tried to polish their Airstream by hand? I own a 1983 Airstream and am in the process of polishing it by hand. My goal is to not polish it to a mirrored finish because I don't want to worry about the upkeep. I've been using aircraft stripper to remove the clearcoat and I've been using an aluminum polish. I've been applying the polish "with the grain" (I want to keep the grain in the aluminum visible, just make it shinier). I'm also using rubber sanding blocks with terry towels to apply the polish (instead of sandpaper, of course). It makes the polishing process much easier. Polishing by hand is quite a time consuming process. I've only finished a 4x4 foot area (about one hour of labor), but I've tested multiple sections throughout the trailer. After polishing, I'm applying laquer thinner in order to remove excess polish. For the final step, I apply a hard wax, hoping it will somewhat help protect all my work.

Any tips would be greatly appreciated. Thanks
Going to polish my 1955 Safari by hand, looking for a different look with no swirls. Below is what I will be using.

Liberon Steel Wool - Rockler Woodworking Tools

Norton Sheet Sander - 05237 at The Home Depot

Kmart Online Shopping for home accessories, TVs, clothing, and more

toastie
__________________
toastie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-28-2010, 06:55 PM   #11
Rivet Master
 
tkasten's Avatar
 
1965 22' Safari
Vassar , Michigan
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 847
Images: 6
Mineral spirits works very well and won't burn your poll barn down. Corn starch also works very well. I tried some hand polishing. It took a huge amount of effort and the result was not worth it. Compounding/polishing with Nuvite, Dewalt & Cyclo was easier than by hand (still a bunch of work) and the result was wow!....Tim
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	DSCN0111.JPG
Views:	137
Size:	204.2 KB
ID:	111844  
__________________
Tim
TAC MI 14

Everyday is a Saturday
tkasten is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-29-2010, 09:06 PM   #12
1 Rivet Member
 
gmcryan's Avatar
 
1984 31' Sovereign
Edmond , Oklahoma
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 19
Images: 1
I've just tested a spot on the Airstream with a buffer and a very fine foam pad. It was able to remove the water marks, yet did not create swirls. I figure, worse case scenerio is that I have to continue polishing unitl I have a mirrored finish... which would be quite cool. I'll be starting back up on the project on Saturday... Luckily my college is playing football on Thursday night... therefore, I'll have all day on Saturday to work on it....
__________________
gmcryan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-29-2010, 09:48 PM   #13
Rivet Master
 
AIR-Quarius's Avatar
 
1970 27' Overlander
Espanola , Full Timer
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 1,752
Images: 39
Send a message via Yahoo to AIR-Quarius Send a message via Skype™ to AIR-Quarius
You will eventually get around to that 'shine', and you will grow accustomed to the amount of labor you can put into the act of polishing too. Good luck
__________________
http://customrvdecalplus.com
AIR-Quarius is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-03-2010, 07:36 AM   #14
1 Rivet Member
 
gmcryan's Avatar
 
1984 31' Sovereign
Edmond , Oklahoma
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 19
Images: 1
It is day number four, and all I have left is the roof and a few touch ups around the trailer. It should still be a full day of work. Removing the black residue has been the hardest part of the polishing process. To make the job easier, I've been putting the lacquer thinner in a spray bottle. That way, I don't use as much compared to just pouring it on a rag. Misting the thinner on the trailer is the way to go. I think removing the resdiue has been the most difficult part of this project.

After wathcing how differently my Dad and I polish, I have decided to switch to an electric buffer. By switching to the buffer, I can make sure that we are all polishing the same (ie same type of pad, polish, and RPM).

I've got tons of pictures to post. I have had tons of fun working with my Dad on this project. I can't wait to take it camping or to a football game soon.

Off to work.
__________________

__________________
gmcryan is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Hand pump faucet Apache_Camp Sinks, Showers & Toilets 1 04-19-2010 06:49 AM
Freezing Hand Soap? Ag&Au Winterizing, Storage, Carports & Covers 1 09-07-2009 10:14 AM
Hand Dollies -- Anyone Use One BillM2 Towing, Tow Vehicles & Hitches 40 07-09-2009 09:45 AM
Threads that have gotten out of hand... Andy R Forum Admin, News and Member Account Info 0 02-12-2007 05:59 PM


Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by




Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 10:03 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.