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Old 06-26-2004, 02:32 PM   #57
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I did a bit of library research into polishing (see my previous post here: http://www.airforums.com/forum...1&postcount=15 ) --and frankly, based on what I read in the books I found, I think removing the alclad layer may be pretty much inevitable.

Here's what I mean--the patina you see on a dull trailer is a very thin layer of molecules where oxidization has changed the molecular structure of whatever metal is at the surface (I don't know what kind of plate metal was used in alclad, but according to what I've read, this part is true of all metals). These molecules are in fact chemically changed and cannot be easily changed back to their original chemical structure (ie, the original metal).

So, to regain the shine, you have to remove the chemically altered material ("polish"). Regardless of what product you use, this generally done by abrasion. The trick is to "cut" out the smallest layer out--no more than absolutely necessary. This can be done by removing less than necessary until you come to the non-oxidized layer. Finally you buff the surface material--actually melt down the metal--to smooth out the "cut" marks into a smooth reflective shine.

But back to where I started--knocking off the alclad layer is pretty much inevitable. Every time you remove patina, you remove metal, regardless of what product you use. How fast you remove the alclad layer is a question of how thick it is. I think the trick is to find a polishing product that balances the tradeoff between a high abrasive that cuts off the patina fast but will take off more metal--and a low abrasive that does less metal damage but works slower--and may drive you crazy!

I don't know what I'll do!

Mary
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Old 06-26-2004, 04:37 PM   #58
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Its my understanding that Boeing did a test on its aircraft, using I believe a polish similar to Nuvite S - did the polish 300 times and did not take the alclad off.

I've always been concerned about removing alclad myself and used only Rollite S because it was a zero cut polish, I'm now using Nuvite S which has a very lite cut after reading about Boeing.

My understanding is that polish kinda rearranges the metal as I understand it.

Ken
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Old 06-28-2004, 10:13 AM   #59
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Another Long Technical Reply!

Please understand that I do not claim to be an expert, just that I went to a local university library and looked the subject up in some technical books. Granted, these books went quickly into chemistry and formulae--which I do not understand much at all---but the premise of shining is basic to all metals and made sense even to me. It's a pretty basic process to get a handle on--and I think understanding it will make us all smarter at doing it.

The surface (patina) layer must be removed, or you will essentially be embedding tarnish further in your metal structure. That won't get you much reflectivity (a subject for an entire chapter, might I add). That is done by abrasion--either physical or chemical. The chemical processes, as I recall, can involve ionization of molecules, complicated processes and in some cases, can get hard to control, depending on the chemicals and metals involved.

That all is polish. So, there cannot be a true zero cut polish, since the point of polishing is to physically remove patina (bear in mind, I am using the technical verb "polish", not the coloquial use of this word).

As mentioned previously, melting the metal surface (or, as you say, Ken, rearranging the metal) is buffing.

The tricky part is that both processes can be performed with the same shining product. With physical abrasives (I can't really write about the chemical ones), slow movement will dig small (or microscopic, depending on the abrasiveness of the product used) grooves in the patina level (or beyond, if the abrasive is too coarse). Using the same abrasive at speed will create higher friction and heat, causing the exterior molecules to melt and settle down into a smoother surface. With a coarse abrasive, more heat will need to be generated to get to buffing--however, when this happens, the surface will be melted deeper.

Smoother surface=greater reflectivity. Rougher surface (due to either oxidation or polishing) means there are more surfaces to capture light=less reflectivity. Interestingly--a shinier trailer should be a cooler trailer, since less solar energy is captured (someone should do a science experiment on this at a rally).

Different metals require different levels of heat to get to the buffing point. I'm not sure what the metals involved here are--in the patina (tarnish) layer, in the plated (alclad) layer, or in the base metal.

That said, and I think this is important, it is possible--especially with small amounts of patina/tarnish--that the same level of effort will polish off (ie, remove) a patina/tarnish layer of metal with a high melting point and SUBSEQUENTLY buff off an underlying layer with a low melting point. This change in activity may not ever be understood by the person doing the work--but it is in fact, a whole different process.

That's what I believe happens when folks touch up the shine on a trailer that had been "polished" fairly recently. That's also why buffing cloths also get blackened (from abrasively removing the final layer of tarnish before really buffing).

Whether the products you describe is best or not is a personal choice, I think. You want something that will remove sufficient metal (yes, tarnish/patina is a metal, just a different one) so that you don't go crazy with the process--and is sufficiently fine (low abrasion) to not erode the layer under the patina. This should not only extend to the substance used, but also to any cloths and pads used to do it.

I am going to make a hypothesis here (and I hope nobody misinterprets this as a fighting argument in the polish war, but rather a logical consideration of the physical process). I have concluded that the slower techniques use finer abrasives. It's not clear to me whether the faster effectiveness of the coarser abrasive is going to eat too far into the alclad layer (there may be enough plating there) or make an inconsequential difference (maybe we need Boeing here again, lol).

No matter what technique is used, it's going to end up that it's probably the alclad layer that ends up getting buffed in either case. It's the metal getting shined that determines the reflectivity--and how far the item is buffed (or how well the surface irregularities are melted down--aka the elbow grease factor!). That's why I don't think the photos are really going to be evidence of how the techniques/products stack up in the end--although they are fun to look at for armchair polishers like myself!

Mary
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Old 06-28-2004, 11:31 AM   #60
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Mary

Very good research. Perhaps thats why the courser Nuvite polish indicates that it starts out course, then as you polish the courseness breaks down to a finer course polish. Were as the medium polish remains a consistent courseness.

Yes the zero cut, stills turns very black when you polish. However Rollite claims zero cut - perhaps it just melts the metal surface?

Over the years, I've learned that sanding takes off too much too quickly.

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Old 06-28-2004, 12:47 PM   #61
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Perhaps the Rollite stuff just works as a lubricant--your cloth ends up being the abrasive? I wonder if you could get similar results with another lubricant (Crisco on the trailer, anyone)?

Mary
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Old 06-28-2004, 01:07 PM   #62
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That I really don't know, but my guess is thats not the case. Rubbing around Rollite polish turns the cloth black very quickly-

Guess when I said cloth, I include wool pads too - they do turn black quickly - I would think if it was the cloth or wool pad, it would leave scratch marks.

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Old 06-28-2004, 01:27 PM   #63
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Very quick reply, cuz gotta get back to work...

Then, maybe it is a chemical abrasive? From what I understand (and this is where I got really confused in this book), chemicals can cause reactions to remove metal. Hence, a chemical polish would turn its applicator black from the loosened patina metal. But they generally don't buff (since a chemical abrasivion process doesnt cause friction. However a cloth or pad of any content--wool, cotton, rayon, silk, leather chamois--whatever--can create the friction necessary to buff. As for scratching--it's a question of what is stronger--the molecular bonds of the metal or the fiber--and whether you create enough friction to melt the surface. I would think a critical aspect would be to get a buffer with even fibers, so that no loose fibers gouge the metal.
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Old 06-30-2004, 11:00 PM   #64
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Just got a jar of the the new Nuvite F9.This is supposed to be much more agressive than the F7.I have some pretty major scratches and pitting in my old Overlander and hope this will do the trick.More later when I've had a chance to try it out.A note about perfectpolish.com ,his prices include shipping and he UPSed it here in two days,great service.
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Old 06-30-2004, 11:13 PM   #65
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I had my new propane bottles polished by the Polishing Guru in Riverside. He's got about 10 ar so Airstreams in Progress, and 20 more waiting to be worked on.
All of them have areas of various sizes that have been sanded to remove impperfections and scratches. He actually uses a automotive slow speed buffer with a regular buffing wheel on it to dig into the rougher areas, and to do the window frames and moldings, I observed. It rally gets rid of oxidation fast.
Watching them work on teh Airstreams makes me NOT want to polish mine myself.
Dave, where the heck are you?
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Old 06-30-2004, 11:22 PM   #66
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I've been using an air powered polisher that I can regulate down to about 50 RPM. At that speed I can really dig into the pitting and scratches without overheating the metal.Right now I'm mostly trying to figure out how many panels I will be replacing. I'm definately going to replace both lower side panels as they are too stretched and buckled.
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Old 06-30-2004, 11:34 PM   #67
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The door side panel shoul dbe a standard size, 4ft by 12ft panel. The street side, however, is really long....darn. Needa a special order piece of metal. i want to replace mine, too. That way I am not bound by existing holes when i do the interior layout, and the location of the water heater and A/C system.
Stretches and buckles no longer surprise me, after seeing how flexible the frame is.
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Old 07-01-2004, 01:15 AM   #68
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Hey UWE and All

I'm still alive and missing more polishing!! Helped Ron (TinCanLuv) get a good start in St Louis a couple of weeks ago.

Call me an old stick in the mud, but I still stand by Nuvite and Cyclo-ing.

I showed Ron how to "Compond" using the the cyclo and we made amazing progress! Rons Safari

My Caravel had a bunch of road dings on the front that I was able to get out with Nuvite. I did use 600 grade sandpaper along the length of a couple branch scratches and was able to reduce them significantly.

I am am worried about the amount of alclad that is removed by componding with a Dewalt etc. The alclad is only so thick and with the need for touch up polishing for the rest of the trailers life, I stick with Nuvite, Rolite and the dreaded Cyclo.

Polishing by hand will always create a fast deep shine BECAUSE you can apply more force to a smaller area than with any machine.

As it has been pointed out in some other "heated" threads on this subject ...
I am no expert. Just a guy who has sniffed to much Aircraft Stripper and loves polishing these babys with Nuvite and a Cyclo and elbow grease.
Chi Towns Safai and lotsa good polishing chat !!

Polishing IS a journey ... not a destination! Thanks for thinking of me UWE!
I still dream of polishing full time !!

Dave (The Shine King?)
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Old 07-01-2004, 02:02 AM   #69
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Hi Dave, at the Perfect Polish demo in Calistoga the guy said you couldn't compound with a cyclo. Something about it not having the power to move the metal around and get the corrosion out of the microscopic pits in the skin. He said the cyclo would give you a shine but it wouldn't be as deep or last as long as a properly compounded and then cyclo-ed job. So I was wondering how your jobs done with the cyclo alone were holding up? (this is not a criticism of your technique, I just wondered since you're actually doing it, and I have not done much but experiment yet).

The PP guy suggested I take a cyclo and F7 to my trailer to shine it up again. It won't remove the corrosion, but he said it would give it a pretty nice shine for a minimum of work.
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Old 07-01-2004, 03:48 AM   #70
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Quote:
Originally Posted by airstreamcaravel
Polishing IS a journey ... not a destination! Thanks for thinking of me UWE!
I still dream of polishing full time !!

Dave (The Shine King?)
Dave,
Judging by the polishing shop's workload around here, you coul d surely make a carreer of it in SoCal...come on down!
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