Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 09-14-2011, 09:07 AM   #15
Rivet Master
safari62's Avatar
1962 22' Safari
1957 22' Custom
1963 16' Bambi
Vacationland , Maine
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 927
Images: 43
Originally Posted by mikeandnora View Post
Sorry to resurrect a 1 year old thread, but does anyone have thoughts on the last couple questions?

I purchased a few cans of bon-ami and wonder if a random orbital is the best to apply. If it will actually effect the aluminum mill I imagine the result will not reflect light equally. Thoughts?

How about the use of the super rubbing compound? How do you keep a consistent surface?
This is a quote from my previous post earlier in this thread.

"To follow up with LP in the my post that is a yes to the question that the photo is an after photo. That is after using the BON AMI cleaner on the aluminum.

Both John and Steve bring up good points to keep the motion straight when doing this to stay to the grain of the metal...or at least to control the way the light will show on the surface after cleaning. It seemed to look much more even when I followed the line of the segments.

Keep in mind this was on a 57' with nice flat 13 panel segments. Larger open sections may be more of a challenge!

I think we were using sponges with 3M pads with the Bon Ami. Once an even satin finish is achieved I would think waxing the surface would be wise.

So the satin finish which is more like the original "mill" finish returns. I think our small experiment had alot to do with the year of the trailer/metal and newer Airstreams with different finishes could be different."

I believe your aluminum is different and therefore it will not react the same way as earilier airstreams. I would also not use an orbital type polisher and stay with 3-M type pads and follow the grain of the segment you are working on.

This also assumes any clearcoat is removed.

Good luck and let us know how it works.

safari62 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-14-2011, 12:08 PM   #16
Commercial Member
eubank's Avatar
1967 30' Sovereign
1999 31' Land Yacht
Bosque Farms , New Mexico
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 6,520
You know, seeing this thread reminded me that we use these cleaners based on severity of abrasion:

1. Softest is simple baking soda. We use it most of the time for scrubbing pots and pans.

2. More abrasive than baking soda is Bon-Ami or a similar cleaner.

3. Next up in abrasiveness is something like Ajax.

4. Steel wool.

So the question is whether baking soda would do the trick on creating the satin effect on Airstream aluminum.


WBCCI 21043
eubank is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-14-2011, 01:35 PM   #17
Rivet Master
1988 25' Excella
1987 32' Excella
Knoxville , Tennessee
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 2,344
Blog Entries: 1
Never tried it. But Sears used to sell a small sander for wood (before the days of random orbit) that vibrated back and forth in a straight line. (no orbit). If you could find one of those and fit a pad to it....might work.
Bill M. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-15-2011, 06:52 AM   #18
3 Rivet Member
1989 29' Excella
Tyrone , Georgia
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 185
Interesting stuff. I found another thread where they mixed the powder in with the polish just to give extra grit and it worked very well for them.

As for the sander, I looked around and will probably give one a try.

2-3/4" x 17-1/2" Dual Piston Air Inline Sander

Thanks for all the help.
mikeandnora is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-16-2011, 04:53 PM   #19
Rivet Master
Skatiero's Avatar
1986 32' Excella
Currently Looking...
Canton , Georgia
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 1,335
Images: 25
Mikeandnora, we are getting ready to work on our twin of yours. Do you have airstream-pattern baldness, too? I think we will use citristrip to remove the clear coat, but we are still figuring out what to use to polish or recoat... We aren't looking for a mirror finish or anything. Do you have a white top on yours? The very very top of ours is a white panel. Let me know what you all do and we will do the same!!!
Skatiero is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-17-2011, 07:36 AM   #20
3 Rivet Member
1989 29' Excella
Tyrone , Georgia
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 185
Hey guys!
Ours is beautiful on one side ( aviator explained that was the side that the previous owner positioned away from the sun or in shade) and then the door side which looks pretty bad. Large blotches all over the place. However the top an front are painted silver. It actually looks ok, so I'm not sure if it will come off or not. I think we will just do everything buy the top and try and wax the top to prevent further problems.

On a positive and exciting note, I put citristrip on one small area and it went from blotchy to beautiful!! Hopefully it all does that and doesn't even need an abrasive!
mikeandnora is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-17-2011, 07:40 AM   #21
3 Rivet Member
1989 29' Excella
Tyrone , Georgia
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 185
Oh, and the stripe came off a while ago very easily!
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	image-3483272551.png
Views:	149
Size:	741.5 KB
ID:	140338   Click image for larger version

Name:	image-1689622885.png
Views:	147
Size:	806.2 KB
ID:	140339  

mikeandnora is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-17-2011, 08:03 AM   #22
Rivet Master
Skatiero's Avatar
1986 32' Excella
Currently Looking...
Canton , Georgia
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 1,335
Images: 25
Wow! Looking good! So you did the whole thing with citristrip first?
Skatiero is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-17-2011, 02:09 PM   #23
3 Rivet Member
1989 29' Excella
Tyrone , Georgia
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 185
I haven't done the clearcoat yet, but the vinyl strip was very easy. Had the blue looked good we would have been fine to keep it, but it was in very bad shape. I used some paint stripper from sherwin williams (left over) on that and it worked fine. We're still contemplating the rest of the exterior project, but I want to strip it soon.
mikeandnora is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-19-2011, 05:00 PM   #24
2 Rivet Member
Austin , Texas
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 98
Images: 18

What will you do for the clearcoat/protectant? We will have to undertake this project in the next year.

yve79 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-19-2011, 05:30 PM   #25
3 Rivet Member
1989 29' Excella
Tyrone , Georgia
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 185
After reading good things about sharkhide I believe that is our best option. I spoke with a couple people at springstream in north Georgia and they seemed to like it. Also spoke with the owner of the company and it seemed perfect.

If anyone has any better options please let us know!
mikeandnora is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-20-2011, 07:22 AM   #26
1 Rivet Member
1975 Argosy 26
Concord , Massachusetts
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 5
I have a 1975 Argosy that I have stripped the paint off of. I just painted the 2 endcaps. Now I will tackle the finish on the aluminum. I too do not want to be a slave of polishing either. But I do have very obvious and large swirled grind marks on the panels which obviously didn’t matter when they made the Argosy as it was going to be painted over.
I’ve experimented with several things. I tried 1600 wet sand paper and that did a nice job. It’s a lot of hand work though and you go through sand paper rather quickly. I tried Bon Ami using a soft buffing pad and although it does a nice job cleaning the aluminum, it does not do much to the finish. I tried regular 3m sponges with the green scrub side, but that was too rough and scratched. Then I bought some 3M Ultra fine pads at a local automotive store. I tried these with some Bon Ami and it did a great job. I used it wet and I tried it without the Bon Ami with the same results. I’ve decided what I will do is to put the 3M ultra fine pad on my random orbital sander. I’ve hosed down one aluminum panel and then used this and it takes the big grind marks off right away and leaves a nice matte finish. And it’s FAST! If I had the time and energy, I’d maybe then wet sand with 1600 paper, but I don’t think that’ll happen! …maybe next year. But the trailer is starting to look so much better.
After I sanded, I washed with some Dawn dish soap and water and hosed it down. I figured if they used Dawn to clean up the Gulf Oil spill, it must do a good job cleaning up residue. Is kerosene cleaning necessary? Am I leaving oxidation behind by not doing that? I was thinking about trying Liquid Glass as protectant when I am done to help protect the aluminum.
Thanks to people on here for their suggestions and recommendations.
WOG is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-20-2011, 07:35 AM   #27
Rivet Master In Training
Kevo's Avatar
1965 22' Safari
Mount Airy , Georgia
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 132
Images: 6
Send a message via AIM to Kevo Send a message via MSN to Kevo Send a message via Yahoo to Kevo
Wow, this is some interesting conversation for somebody who just finished the first pass of polishing...I cant imagine wanting to go back after all the hours i have put in...that said, I have not yet dealt with the maintenance of a polished trailer yet either, I guess we will see if i feel different a couple years from now.
Kevo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-20-2011, 08:03 AM   #28
Rivet Master
SteveH's Avatar
2005 39' Land Yacht 390 XL 396
Common Sense , Texas
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 5,315
If you don't want a dull finish on your polished trailer, or decide the continuos polishing and waxing is too much work, just let it go. It will turn dull in a few years.

SteveH is offline   Reply With Quote

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
satin vs gloss finish AireHeads Cleaning, Stripping & Polishing 7 05-21-2009 08:24 AM
Name that finish! Stefrobrts Upholstery, Blinds, Walls & Interior Finishes 3 05-27-2004 11:55 PM
New AS finish vs vintage Safari Tim Our Community 7 09-19-2003 09:42 AM
exterior finish wb13798 Airstream Motorhome Forums 8 08-18-2003 05:19 PM
Original Finish Bfrank Airstream Motorhome Forums 5 08-11-2003 06:57 PM

Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 10:20 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.