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Old 10-25-2009, 01:33 PM   #15
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I've got a couple before/after photos.
First is one endcap sanded from 320/400/600/800/1000/2000 wet sanded aluminum oxide paper. To the left the endcap sections have been polished with grey compound bar.
Others are endcaps completed (front & rear were sanded). Mind you, this took a lot of time, but the results are good IMHO.
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Old 10-25-2009, 04:07 PM   #16
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Thanks for pics!
About how long is a long time? It looks great! Nice and Shiny.
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Old 10-25-2009, 06:13 PM   #17
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sorry none yet.
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Old 10-25-2009, 08:19 PM   #18
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Simon,
Not sure how long it would take to shine a sanded exterior but it took me a little under 400 hours to polish a 31' that was not sanded to start with and had only lost half of its clear coat. Maybe Becky can give you an estimate on her time but my guess, it would take at least 400 hours to get it back to a sheen like what we started with and then 400 more to get mirror. We used the Nuvite process and not the polishing bars so not sure if that is less/more time going that route.
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Old 10-25-2009, 08:41 PM   #19
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Pick out a small easy to stand in front of area...do you have a cyclo polisher?...if not thats ok -but it would help. Try a 3-m product called 'Gravel in a bottle'...it has enough serious grit to knock just about any blemish out, and its priced good (about 14.00 for a quart) (thats alot!)...and your going to need it. Get some of those cheap polish pads from Dollar General Stores (two per pack at 2.00)...get a quart of kerosene while your at it...then go to an auto supply and get a large jar of MOTHERS Aluminum polish....Squeeze out some of the 3-m gravel onto a pad and apply directly to the surface and start working it around...you will see it working right off the bat. it will turn black after some rubbing...then put some kerosene on another pad and wipe up the black...prepare to get Black On your hands.! While the area is STILL DAMP with kerosene, apply with your finger some MOTHERS and dab it around. Now give it another polishing session til THAT turns black and ALMOST dry (it will look like gun metal grey) then switch to another clean pad and keep polishing...If you are going to do this, be prepared to use many many many of those pads...they can be used a few times before they break down...and CLR (lime remover) will help clean them in a washing machine (or presoak in deluted water before). The kerosene helps keep the MOTHERS wet long enough to get it off before it dries. Polish on GREY overcast days. You will practice on that area until you come up with a strategic formula just for you and your home.
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Old 10-25-2009, 08:55 PM   #20
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ANNNND...I want to add that the rest of the gangs advice is correct too...Bob says this is labor intensive...he's right. You will see my friend...But your in California, and what couldn't be funner than being out side polishing your trailer like the trophey you feel it is. It's equally safe to paint it- as it's already been sanded. If you take the polish route-you will be there a long time and your arms will get bigger muscles! But do get a cyclo it will help and keep us all posted. Bill
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Old 10-25-2009, 08:58 PM   #21
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It took me about 200 hours to do the entire trailer. I only sanded the endcaps, though. I didn't use the Nuvite system this time (I did on my previous polish job on a 1976 Overlander). I used compound bars, then "Heavy Metal" green & then Nuvite "S". I found the first pass with a grey compound to go well on the endcaps, but a little too harsh for the sides. It would probably be the right one for sanded sides, though. I used a Makita variable speed grinder with polishing wheels for the grey compound, followed by a Harbor Freight polisher for the Heavy Metal, & finished off with a cyclo & the "S" Nuvite. It's a really dirty process with the polishing wheels, but I found it to go faster than then buffing pads. There are a million different approaches to polishing, though. You should research it with the search function & read a lot before you jump into one.
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Old 10-25-2009, 09:34 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by NomadKitchen View Post
Hey all!

I'm about to buy a trailer and want to it to be so shiny i can see myself PERFECTLY! It has been sanded (prepped for a paint job that didn't happen). It is a great price and at a great location, but i want to know whether the sanding will make it harder (or impossible) to get as shiny as i want it (blindingly).

thanks,
Simon
Simon, there's a few of us here who have stepped up to the plate and, actually spend hundreds of hours sweating and, felt the pain of hard labor by polishing their Airstream.~
Let me say this.. You can polish your Airstream if you are willing to put forth the effort and, stick with it. The compounding polish efforts ahead of you will be long and, not easy. You will need to learn to listen to the Aluminum skin talk to you as you polish. There's no easy approach. You will have to be the complete master of every learning step. Trust me, every step of the way you will learn something new and, learn well, you will.
Looking at your picture of the unit. I just have one question.
Do you know or did you ask, had this unit been given an acid bath? It makes a world of differences if it had and, for how long as well. If it hasn't then, great..Don't~!
First thing...go to this website..and READ..
Home
take a few long days off to do some heavy reading..do your research on polishing.. There's a lot of great info available, both here on the forum and, elsewhere about the efforts and the final results.
I did mine about 5 yrs ago and, then it cost about 600$ for everything I needed. Your biggest cost is gonna be the Cyclo polisher. You will need it for the final stages of polishing~! Second biggest cost is gonna be the compound polisher that you buy. I got mine from Sears..got a free bag to store it and all the polishing compounds in..Third biggest cost is the polishing compounds.. Get the best~! Prefectpolish is a great place to shop. http://www.perfectpolish.com/
As I said in the beginning, you can polish this baby.. because of your trailer's situation, you will be needing to put some extra efforts into the process. Just be aware of your temperature on a daily basis. You want it to be in the high 60's and, not in the direct sunshine. In the end, you will have a near perfect shine.. maybe better, depends on you.
One last thing, once you get started, don't hesitant to ask for good advise.
There are quite a few of us on here who have polished (some more than once) that will be only too happy to help you..
I wish for you, a great time..
53Fc
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Old 10-26-2009, 07:37 AM   #23
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I am not sure if Simon said the year of that AS...And there was mention of ALCLAD Aluminum...thats what ours has...a heavier layer of metal upon itself, which makes a bigger difference in results.
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Old 10-26-2009, 08:29 AM   #24
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here's the trailer in question, not sure if it helps.
I was also going to get that trailer, but the seller changed his mind. Are you going to repair the soft floor in the front, under the windows?
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Old 10-26-2009, 09:42 AM   #25
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I am not sure if Simon said the year of that AS...And there was mention of ALCLAD Aluminum...thats what ours has...a heavier layer of metal upon itself, which makes a bigger difference in results.
redhawk11,
It couldn't be more plain and, I quote:
"Yes, it's a 76 Tradewind.
And is the "yes" and "ditto that" to it will not work, or it will work?
And if it takes longer, that's theoretically alright, just depends on how much longer.

thanks again"
For the record, I polished my 1984 with good results. There's a thread on the forum detailing the efforts and, the results. The main thing, it looked better than the state it was in before polishing. Even today, 5 years later. Could I shave, using one of the polished panels? Yea.
Will simon get the same results or better? Yes, depends on how much work he's willing to put into it. Is he a perfectionist? He will have to be driven or will become such by the time he's finished..
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Old 10-26-2009, 04:28 PM   #26
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I think if emphasis is put of the excercise part of the deal, everybody wins...I just know it does take a lot of effort...especially when you get down to the little places. I get the greatest joy out of doing large panels of area, and then stand back and see that shine.
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Old 10-29-2009, 06:32 PM   #27
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A Sanded Trailer is just a little harder to polish than one that has not been sanded, If you find it difficult to do go over it again with 300 grade sand paper in some areas and try polishing it again.

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Old 10-29-2009, 08:26 PM   #28
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A Sanded Trailer is just a little harder to polish than one that has not been sanded, If you find it difficult to do go over it again with 300 grade sand paper in some areas and try polishing it again.

The Polishing Guru Inc, Airstream Polishing,Travel
I'd be reluctant to recommend the use of any sandpaper on this trailer's Aluminum surface for one reason. The Airstream trailer has already been thru a sand blasted process and, doing it twice (effectively) could result in more embed sand particles in the Aluminum skin. In terms of a desired polished results, this could make a bad situation worse and, who needs more work to obtain that polished looked?
Just my humble opinion.
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