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Old 12-30-2004, 06:48 AM   #1
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How to polish?

I have an old trailer that I want to start using again and its pretty dull. I want to polish it myself and do it as quickly and easily as possible. Is there a proven way to get it nice and shined up without spending a month doing it?

Whats the latest and greatest method and products? I'm close to an airport and thought about going over there and asking around- its the same thing, right?

Thanks in advance for any enlightenment.
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Old 12-30-2004, 06:59 AM   #2
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Greetings and good luck on your project.

If you use the search feature on this page, you will find tons of info on polishing, pros and cons, and varied opinions.

As for time investment, you reap what you sow.

There is no miracle shine technique, just lots of elbow grease.

There are some techniques that are a little less time consuming but basically they are all the same.
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Old 12-30-2004, 07:20 AM   #3
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TravelCloud;
I don't know about an easy and fast way of doing a good polish job. It's always dirty, labor intensive, and takes a long time to get the "good" results.
I agree with you about going to your local airport and asking around. We localy have a man that used to polish airplanes for American A/L in Chicago and is now doing airstreams here in town. He stays busy and does a good job for a fair price. I think to avoid headaches and great expense (MATERIALS AND TOOLS) this is one area that is best left to the experts (NOT THAT IT CAN"T BE DONE!). Another place to find a polisher is at your local truck stop, but I think an airplane is a lot closer to an Airstream.
Good luck,
Ernie
'58 Traveler 18ft.
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Old 12-30-2004, 12:14 PM   #4
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All you could ever want to know about polishing...

Finally got started.
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Old 12-31-2004, 11:50 PM   #5
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What a stroke of luck!

I went to a little airport with a repair facility, and not only do they polish and repair planes, but they polish and repair trailers! I was excited to see a 53 Flying Cloud there- I have a 1954 Flying Cloud- its getting a belly pan repair job and polished, and the owner sells them to European clients!

The owner of the trailer wasn't there, but the guy next door told me that he has lots of old trailers- like a dozen or more, spartan manors and some thing called an Airoflight that supposed to be really rare and ultra Jetsons looking.

That 53 was scratchy- they said the owner does all the polishing himself and his first step was to sand it with light grit paper. They also said he does them fast- usually in a few days or so. Thats what I'm interested in, just something to make this old thing presentable. I have to say that the 53 has places that are worse than my 54 comparing the un-sanded sections, and that gives me hope!

Thanks for the link- its long, but I'll read it!


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Originally Posted by Safari Tim
All you could ever want to know about polishing...

Finally got started.
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Old 01-01-2005, 04:28 PM   #6
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TravelCloud;
Good for you and a happy New Year too!
Ernie,
'58 Traveler, 18ft.
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Old 01-02-2005, 12:01 PM   #7
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Understand that once you have the trailer stripped and polished, you will have to polish it at least once a year and possibly more often depending on the how much the finish oxydizes. True the upkeep won't take near as long as the first stripping/polishing, but it will have to be done to keep the unit looking presentable.

Good luck

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Old 01-03-2005, 03:50 PM   #8
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still nothing-

The place was open today, but the workers said the guy who owned the trailer was not around since before the holidays.

It was sanded and they said all get that- is that right? I mean, what grit should I start with? I don't have scratches, its just dull.

Sure wish I could catch this guy- they said he's a monster at polishing- one of them said he's never seen a man sand with 2 pieces of paper- one in each hand, but this guy does- they said he gets it sanded in a few hours- less than a day. I don't see how its possible.

Does everybody do it this way? I heard of wet sanding paint, but not metal things- wont it tear it up.

Also- I don't mind coming back and doing it every year- I want the old girl to look good! And I don't think there is anything to strip. Thanks guys!
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Old 01-03-2005, 04:01 PM   #9
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In my view, unless you are very experienced, is I would not sand - very easy to go through the alclad layer. I (and most of us) use some sort of polish - Rollite, Nuvite

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Old 01-03-2005, 05:41 PM   #10
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A great, concise reference website is:

Perfect Polish

We have used the techniques described there and are very happy with the results. I have some pix posted in my gallery ~

Shari
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Old 01-03-2005, 06:43 PM   #11
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The sanding step may also be a "shortcut" to removing the clear-coat or other painted finish applied on top of the aluminum... The failure of that is often the first step in deciding to polish, and results in the splotchy look as metal directly exposed to air oxidizes at different rate than metal still protected by clearcoat..

Using chemical paint remover as first step is gentler on the metal (depending on chemical used..) but might also be tougher on waterproofing or plastic parts that get hit with remover...

Either way, no metal shininess is going to begin to appear until the exterior coating applied over the outside surface has been eliminated to get to surface of metal sheet..

John McG
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Old 01-03-2005, 09:43 PM   #12
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Lightbulb Pre-1964 trailers did not have clearcoat.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JBMcG
The sanding step may also be a "shortcut" to removing the clear-coat or other painted finish applied on top of the aluminum... The failure of that is often the first step in deciding to polish, and results in the splotchy look as metal directly exposed to air oxidizes at different rate than metal still protected by clearcoat..

Using chemical paint remover as first step is gentler on the metal (depending on chemical used..) but might also be tougher on waterproofing or plastic parts that get hit with remover...

Either way, no metal shininess is going to begin to appear until the exterior coating applied over the outside surface has been eliminated to get to surface of metal sheet..

John McG
1964 was the first year it became an option - it cost an additional $19 to have clearcoat applied to our 19' trailer according to the price list I have. It cost more than that in stripper to remove it! Not to mention the elbow grease ~

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Old 01-03-2005, 10:30 PM   #13
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Check out:
metalwax.com
They have a two step cleaner and polish that works great. I spoke to the owner of the AS trailer on the website and we both agreed after trying nuvite ,rolite and some other crap, that metalwax was the way to go. He uses corn starch and a terry rag(soft material) for polishing, but I 've had great success with soapy water and a soft rag. Most of the other polishes require some sort of solvent for clean up of the polish. I've done most of my trailer by hand, however the trailer on the website was polished with an oribital polisher.

Paul
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Old 01-04-2005, 06:49 PM   #14
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What is there available to slow re-oxidation? I have nuvite, and I tried it out on a small section, and the next day it was already badly oxidised. What should I do?
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