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Old 01-15-2013, 11:47 AM   #1
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Mirror Polish vs. Brushed Aluminum Finish?

I'm talking to a guy about polishing my AS and he's asking me if I would prefer a brushed aluminum finish or a mirror polish?

What's the difference?
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Old 01-15-2013, 11:55 AM   #2
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Brushed finish has a directional grain to it much like the brushed stainless finish on the front rock guards. Mirror is just that, polished to a mirror, smooth as glass reflection
Way more hours needed polishing to a mirror finish
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Old 01-15-2013, 12:30 PM   #3
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Who is the guy offering a brushed finish.
I was actually thinking about going back to that from a previously polished one.
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Old 01-15-2013, 12:35 PM   #4
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Best ask the polisher to show you samples. But if he means what I think he means, don't get the brushed finish. Your trailer will be covered in fine scratches and it will be harder than ever to polish properly.

If you can't afford the mirror polish it might be better to leave it as is. The brushed finish would depreciate the value of the trailer, at least, I don't think I have ever seen one in a brushed finish which leads me to think it would not be popular.
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Old 01-15-2013, 01:05 PM   #5
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The guy offering (either) finish is actually my father-in-law. He runs a shop where they make all types of aluminum things for ships, hotels, kitchens, etc. so I lucked out on that. I knew marrying my wife would come in handy some day.

Any other opinions on brushed vs. mirror? When I was looking around it seemed like the newer airstreams were more often brushed.

Right now my AS has heavy oxidation (I just bought her a few days ago) so anything will be better than nothing.

Anyone got a brushed AS they have pictures of? I can imagine what it looks like, for sure, but maybe not on an actual trailer.
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Old 01-15-2013, 02:53 PM   #6
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Man, your FIL is no where in the northwest US, is he?
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Old 01-15-2013, 05:07 PM   #7
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Mirror Polish vs. Brushed Aluminum Finish?

Greetings clicknathan!

There is another option called "Original Sheen" that has a pleasing mellow shine with some reflective properties, but not to the degree of the mirror polish. I had my Overlander polished and Plasticoated by P and S Trailer Service in Helena, Ohio, and the process resulted in the finish that I remembered from when the trailer was new in 1964.

The photo below is of my '64 Overlander following its Polish/Plasticoat to "Original Luster":




The photo below is the condition of the skin prior to being restored. There was some remaining Plasticoat and a prior owner had tried using some coarse abrasive to polish that caused significant scratching of the aluminum resulting in additional labor to correct.



Good luck with your investigation and project!

Kevin
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Old 01-15-2013, 07:43 PM   #8
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I'd search out how I am willing to maintain whatever finish is applied. Weekly washes? Quarterly? GLARE Wax? SHARKHIDE? (do some research, IOW). Bob Thompsons thread on painting his A/S is where to start, IMO. Looks great quite a few years later.

On my anodized aluminum TT the options are different. But the number of hours per year spent in maintaining "good appearance" is part & parcel of ownership. The tools & supplies I've bought, and will buy, have also to do with the external appearance of the tow vehicle as well. A given amount of water, a given amount of specialty chemicals. Some tools, powered and non. Etc.

A tankless water heater and the right water pump with external connexion can provide hot showers, but also hot water for washing/rinsing. Water softener to reduce amounts needed. Consider all the other kinds of washing one may need while on the road (ones person, ones clothing, etc).

There are any number of approaches to the whole problem. I've found that I do get tired, though, of having duplicated tools, supplies, etc where needs/wants overlap. Time spent reading is always fruitful.



.
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Old 01-17-2013, 05:13 PM   #9
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Sorry DCheshire, he's at the exact opposite end of the country and...he's fresh out of daughters.

And Rednax, I'd considered getting a tankless hot water heater...though we're still new enough in just getting everything put together the way we want it and our tow vehicle up to speed that I haven't seriously looked into it yet.

Would be nice to be able to get a shower now and then.

Back in our VW Bus days we had no water, no toilet, just relied on campground facilities (and gas stations when on the go / between campgrounds) so it's really not a necessity, but would be a very nice to have.
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Old 01-17-2013, 05:19 PM   #10
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Does anybody know the best way to get back the clean, even brushed finish
From a polished one yet. I have searched other threads and saw that people used Scotchbrite pads.
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Old 01-17-2013, 06:07 PM   #11
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Be Careful

If you choose brushed, neither you nor any subsequent owner may be able to achieve the more popular highly polished, or the more original "aluminum sheen."
We are talking about "clad" aluminum, and you can literally wear off that layer that polishes to such a beautiful finish.
(The amateur polisher will sometimes "burn" spots through the alumaclad. Don't ask me how I know this. )
Ask your father-in-law about this. Sounds like he can discuss the pros and cons.

Also, stay away from tankless water heater if you intend to do much boondocking. There is a current thread where we discuss this.

Good luck with your project!
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Old 01-17-2013, 07:09 PM   #12
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Thumbs up or leave it alone....

......had our 63 Safari for 18 years, several good scrubbing's every Season it ended up looking like this when sold.....patina


Bob
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Old 01-18-2013, 09:24 AM   #13
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Which is Exactly What I Would Do...

Quote:
Originally Posted by ROBERT CROSS View Post
......had our 63 Safari for 18 years, several good scrubbing's every Season it ended up looking like this when sold.....patina


Bob
...if I had it to do over. If you polish a vintage Airstream, you set yourself up for a higher level of involvement and interaction with your trailer than you may have planned for; an unintended consequence.
Others may chime in to describe how they maintain their highly polished AS and how many hours they devote to it each year.
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Old 02-07-2013, 09:57 PM   #14
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I bought two qt's of sharkhide. I'll give an update
After the re-polish in March.
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