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Old 05-05-2004, 10:11 AM   #1
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Prepolish wetsand or not?

He said to use 3m wool pads for the final polishing. The sand paper is used for prep instead of all these expensive and damaging coarse grit compounds.

Still looking for anyone who has successfully used wet sanding and if they agree about its ease and less damage claims as made by my adopted granpa.

Thanks, Cliff

QUOTE=j54mark]Pads?? What pads? Are you saying use 3M pads rather than wet/dry sandpaper? Or are you talking about pads for the final polishing???

Thanks,

Mark[/QUOTE]
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Old 05-05-2004, 11:00 AM   #2
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Cliff,
I messed around last night with my 1971 Tradewind, some paint stripper, 400grit wet paper, a Snap-On pro slow speed buffer, and the 4 compounds.
Here is what crystallized after about 90 minutes of work:
Roof section: applied stripper - no bubbles, no action, no nothing. Perhaps no clear coat? OK, re-applied stripper, same difference - nothing to strip left on the roof.
I tried Nuvite on the wool pad, G6, F7, and C. It did not work very well, I never got a hint of a deep shine. I removed the residue with mineral spirits and discovered that the aluminum is corrodet and pitted, what looked like bad clear coat is actually degraded aluminum. Well, then, I took a piece of leftover 400 wet paper, sanded the previously polished area, and instantly got a smooth, black paste off the aluminum, clearly oxidation. I only gently sanded the area, and picked an adjoining area, just to get a comparison. Same thing, smooth black residue coming off the aluminum.
I did not have any finer grit wet paper, so I grabbed the buffer and the grey compound, and went to town on the 2 little areas I had sanded.
Instant gloss! No black spots, no milky areas. I tried some more with the different compounds, but got too hot under the roof of my warehouse on top of the ladder.
I believe that there is merit in sanding before polishing, depending on skin condition.
I also am convinced the if I went over the sanded areas again with finer grade, like 1000grit wet, that the C or S compound would have worked great, without actually compounding. I picked up some 600 this morning, the finest they had at HD. However, no time today to play with it.
Mine will have to be sanded on the top, and definitely on the front segments. They are hammered really bad from road debris. No polish will take that out, I am pretty sure.
The sides and back might require a light sanding after stripping, but this remains to be seen. I might just do the stripping and preparation work, and have a pro do the actual polishing.
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Old 05-05-2004, 03:00 PM   #3
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Thanks for guinea piggin!

I was told to only dip below the 800 grit for very deep scratches- and to try 600, then 400, and all the way down to 220 but that the .032 wouldn't stand much coarser than that with out showing it- also any clad that was there will be depleted quicker with the coarser grit.

Based on your experience, do you feel that you could go over the entire trailer twice in 1 day? Thats what I was told was realistic for a skin without too much damage and working on it out of the heat in a covered hangar in a typical 8 hour day. Sound accurate to you?

Were the scratches easy to remove with the buffer? He said to always advance from 800 to 1200 and then polish with coarse wool, and after with soft wool. He said that they also have a foam(?) pad for an extra smooth finish, and also to go over it with a bucket of white flour and use the foam pad for that to get black marks and residue off.

Most of these theories make perfect sense to me- I'm anxious to get going, and am glad that some have reservations about the "status quo" polishing systems that are widely accepted. It really made sense when he said that the circular buffing with coarse grit is actually "grinding" into the surface and needs to be repaired by hours of using softer grit compounds to make up for what you've created. His words were, "Hell, boy, thats about like pulling yer whole damn motor apart to change yer spark plugs- yer just causing yerself more trouble- that don't don't make no sense, does it?"

I think that if you have a desert rat trailer and want to take off years of oxidation- you start with something more coarse- 400,600,800 and if you have a reasonably nice finish, start with 800 or 1200 and then polish with either a soft rouge bar or this White Diamond, Blue Magic, whatever. But this expensive and slow process needs to be uncovered for the people who have less than 2 or more months of free time to challenge a cyclo and $50 tubs of paste to a polishing contest.

If the results are as good- or better as it appears, and the swirl damage to the clad is less- and the hours and expense are greatly reduced- why not?

Let us know how the 600 does- and thanks so much for the initiative. Cliff
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Old 05-05-2004, 03:48 PM   #4
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Were the scratches easy to remove with the buffer? He said to always advance from 800 to 1200 and then polish with coarse wool, and after with soft wool. He said that they also have a foam(?) pad for an extra smooth finish, and also to go over it with a bucket of white flour and use the foam pad for that to get black marks and residue off.[/QUOTE]

Not easy, but I know that i used too course a grit for just trying to polish over it.

[QUOTE=millionairstream]
Most of these theories make perfect sense to me- I'm anxious to get going, and am glad that some have reservations about the "status quo" polishing systems that are widely accepted. It really made sense when he said that the circular buffing with coarse grit is actually "grinding" into the surface and needs to be repaired by hours of using softer grit compounds to make up for what you've created. His words were, "Hell, boy, thats about like pulling yer whole damn motor apart to change yer spark plugs- yer just causing yerself more trouble- that don't don't make no sense, does it?"[/QUOTE}

Somehow you got to get the crud off the surface. Either by harsh compounds, or by sanding with different grit paper. Neither is quick and easy.
I needed the 400 to get the oxidation off, so now I need 600 or 1000 to make the 400 scratches go away. The buffer would make the scratches nice and shiny, but did not make them go away.
Quote:
Originally Posted by millionairstream
I think that if you have a desert rat trailer and want to take off years of oxidation- you start with something more coarse- 400,600,800 and if you have a reasonably nice finish, start with 800 or 1200 and then polish with either a soft rouge bar or this White Diamond, Blue Magic, whatever. But this expensive and slow process needs to be uncovered for the people who have less than 2 or more months of free time to challenge a cyclo and $50 tubs of paste to a polishing contest.
I have sisal and cotton buffs with different rouges, as well as white diamond ( I think) in my shop. The rouge bars do work quite well, but I have not tried them on the trailer yet.
Quote:
Originally Posted by millionairstream
If the results are as good- or better as it appears, and the swirl damage to the clad is less- and the hours and expense are greatly reduced- why not?
My point exactly. Plus, i am more comfortable with a bucket of water and some fine wet paper, to be honest. I am not sure if this will be the best solution, but due to the road debris damage to the front segments, I have no choice but to sand the damaged panels first.
[QUOTE=millionairstream]
Let us know how the 600 does- and thanks so much for the initiative.
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Old 05-05-2004, 11:20 PM   #5
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So how do you guys plan to actually do the wet sanding? Circular motions, or straight lines? Will it matter once you polish over the sanded panels? I also have some corrosion to get rid of, and road debris damage on the front panels. Luckily mine has already been polished once.

Any thoughts as to how to protect it once it has been polished? What do they do to airplanes, or do they just repolish them regularly? I wonder what this airport guy uses to clean with that he says will shine it up before he even gets to the polishing stage?
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Old 05-06-2004, 01:10 AM   #6
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Stephanie,
I would sand in a straight line, horizontally, for the final passes. I suppose it matters little for the first few passes.
The 600 will make swirls tha are still visible, but he 1000 or higher actually just makes the surface look clean and matte grey, with no visible swirls. This is what i am going to try and start polishing on, the matte grey, already sanded areas.
The polished surfaces should be kept clean as much as possible, and protected by a good quality sealant/wax. I was told that the polish would require a yearly once-over to keep it's deep glossy appearance. Time will tell.
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Old 05-06-2004, 06:56 AM   #7
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Wet sanding has to be done in a straight line. Pick a direction and use that for all passes, all areas. Circular motion is good for fast material removal but it is going to leave very visible marks that will take a lot of work to remove.

John
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Old 05-06-2004, 08:40 AM   #8
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thats the word-

Uwe- any notes on the 600? I was told that 400 was pretty strong for cutting- does the 600 negate the use of it on your trailer? Could you have started with 800?
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Old 05-06-2004, 10:18 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by millionairstream
It just doesn't make sense that you replace horizontal wet sanding, starting with the lightest grade possible to get through your own amount of oxidation, step up if necessary, and polish with very inexpensive tools and polish/rouge- with a whole system of extra tools, extra damage to be corrected, and 5-10 times the hours to correct the damage and make it shine- does it?

Uwe- any notes on the 600? I was told that 400 was pretty strong for cutting- does the 600 negate the use of it on your trailer? Could you have started with 800?
No. fresh 400 is the minimum for my kind of oxidation and material damage. Maybe 600 with more effort, but I like to wet sand with only minimal pressure, makeing more passes rather than pressing too hard.
I tell you, this is definitely different than working with automotive paint.
I would not dismiss teh cyclo/polish method at this point. Not enough experience.
I suggest you get out there and start hitting the skin, see what you think yourself. It is definitely different not only for each trailer's metal condition, but also on different panels of the same trailer.
I could have started with 800 or finer on the roof, actually, but not on the pitted areas under the front window. Filiform corrosion will require more effort to be smoothed ou then freshly stripped, well preserved aluminum. I am guessing that fresh 400 and clean water might work well on that , followed by maybe 800 or 1000 grit.
But, that's work, too, and will take days to do. Definitely not a 1 or 2 day job, to sand a 25ft. trailer.
I am going to try the compounder on good aluminum next week. Going camping to the beach ( El Capitan) tomorrow.
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Old 05-06-2004, 10:45 AM   #10
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I agree, I wouldn't totally poopoo the nuvite system either, I've seen many beautiful mirror finish airstreams done that way. I there's just different ways to do it, and they are all time intensive, labor intensive methods.

Now to see if I can even find such fine grits of sandpaper around here. I think it's time to swing by the auto-body supply store.
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Old 05-06-2004, 04:10 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stefrobrts
I agree, I wouldn't totally poopoo the nuvite system either, I've seen many beautiful mirror finish airstreams done that way. I there's just different ways to do it, and they are all time intensive, labor intensive methods.

Now to see if I can even find such fine grits of sandpaper around here. I think it's time to swing by the auto-body supply store.
Stephanie,
Was'nt your trailer polished already? You should not need more than a fresh up? Am I mistaking your jewel for someone else's?
Ok, definitely hit the pro shop for auto paint and supplies. Don't bother with Autozone or the likes.
They have this sandpaper, made in Japan - it's wonderful to work with. I forget the name.
Please know that I have about as much experience with polishing aluminum as a doughnut. I am merely sharing what I found out so far. I might well end up using the Rolite scam once the damaged panels are smoothed out.
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Old 05-06-2004, 05:13 PM   #12
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I think we're on to something here-

This is all starting to make sense to me- hopefully others...

If you shouldn't wet sand in a circular, or multi directional fashion- as it removes more material, (as stated by 74argosy)it would make sense NOT to use coarse grit on a wheel, as the same thing would happen. Additionally- if more material is removed, the old man is right about that way removing more clad from the surface.

If we horizontally wet sand into a smooth surface- the gray type that Uwe found after getting his oxidation down, then any soft grit rouge or polish should be able to tackle the job of perfecting the skin into a mirror- the hard part is done by the paper- at a much lower cost than the nuvite compound, and without causing the damage, i.e., removed material, and leaving circular swirl marks that need blending afterwards.

Maybe someone else can try it and post step by step- starting surface, wet sand through stages, polish with rouge or polish, clean up with flour.

Everyones case will probably be different depending on what they started with as age etc have affected their skin, but as the old timer said to me- "it aint nothin but aluminum underneath- ya just gotta figure what'll get down to the part that shines without takin forever about it. Once ya get there, if ya did it right, ya won't have any swirls to fix, and ya can get anything to shine it up nice."

I have a lot of confidence in his opinion- I saw enough of what he did, and its all making sense- anyone else have the same thoughts?
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Old 05-06-2004, 07:53 PM   #13
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I just tried a little test using this method. I had heard from some other reliable sources that the wet sanding was in fact one of the prep methods for later model alclad (like on my 345) as a method to reduce the "grain" in the aluminum before polishing. Since a mirror finish is essentially a zero grain finish, taking the skin down to perfectly smooth with wet sanding makes some sense for my AS.

So...this afternoon I tried three tests using the wet sanding method. I'll post pics tomorrow of my results. One was on the skin, one on the front bumber and one on the grill. I concentrated on the nose of the AS since it has the most corrosion and just plain pits from 17 years and 177,000 miles at 65 mph. I have to say....I was impressed with the results. The effort was reasonable but I have no comparison to other methods. Rather than go into great [undocumented] detail I'll just post the pic with short descriptions tomorrow.

I for one see this wet sanding method as a possibility for my AS. I do think however that there is still a cyclo/nuvite final once over but by using 600 then 1000 grit followed by blue magic on the snap on buffer I could not believe the improvements....not perfect but better than expected.
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Old 05-07-2004, 07:16 AM   #14
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OK, once more with a little less enthusiasm. Keep posting your results, lets see how the wet sanding works.

John
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