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Old 05-13-2020, 08:03 AM   #1
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1978 25' Tradewind
Charlottesville , Virginia
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Best use of time: polishing or repairing...

Hello all!
My husband and I have a 78 Tradewind that weve gutted and are slowly piecing back together. Weve done new floors and have moved to exterior work (fans, lights, random holes, etc).

Were currently in debates as to what is the best use of time is right now, and what the proper order of operations should be :-)
One of us thinks that the polishing should be done before all of the seam sealing and leak checking. The other thinks it should be absolutely the last thing we worry about.

Would polishing after sealing the whole thing up be a bad idea? Would it potentially cause leaks? Or does it not matter as long as you tape off things?
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Old 05-13-2020, 08:19 AM   #2
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1986 31' Sovereign
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You have done the floors so step one is to get it watertight. Then get the running gear sorted out, then interior, last is polishing.

I say that because once you get the running gear sorted out and a basic interior, you can go camping. This will recharge your enthusiasm for the project and give you some ideas for how you might want to complete your final layout.

Lots of folks burn out on a rehab you see lots of ads in the classifieds for project trailers. Critical loss of fun quotient in most cases.

Fun camping is the goal nice and shiny is later...
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Old 05-13-2020, 08:20 AM   #3
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Ive got zero experience refurbing but it would seem to me that polishing would be last, as that is the finish item. I would be doing everything else in case something comes up and additional exterior work happens and then you have to polish all over again.
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Old 05-13-2020, 08:56 AM   #4
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Another (same) perspective: Finished rehab 12 years ago. Made the shell water tight. Lots of camping and cross country trips since.

Started polishing 4 weeks ago. I'm just about 50% finished. You don't need to wait that long.
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Old 05-13-2020, 09:26 AM   #5
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1986 34.5' Airstream 345
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What gets you going

I think it depends to some degree on where you get your energy.

If youre flagging and the only thing that interests you is polishing, then Id do a little polishing until it gives you enough motivation to do other critical stuff.

I agree that until youre finished with the reno, you dont know if youll need to disturb the skin. But that may be a price your willing to pay.

Body integrity is really important to prevent damage to your Interior. If its an All Hands On Deck Thing to get that done, then Id go with that.

But if its not, if you have the degrees of freedom to make choices in a more relaxed way, then heres my philosophy about time management, which is basically energy management:

Engineers and their brethren are driven by order and logic. Those of us not motivated by order and logic have to find the stuff that gives us energy and then use that energy for doing the things that sap our energy. But there still is a logical framework that should help govern your choices.

Have fun AND get it done!
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Old 05-13-2020, 10:26 AM   #6
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I've taken a small bites approach to polishing. As I rebuilt/repaired items on the outside of the shell (windows/shore power/etc) I polished out about a foot around each opening before reinstalling. Of course I polished the pieces being reinstalled that needed it before reinstalling. I wanted a clean surface to mount on but also wanted to be able to mask around windows when polishing other areas to minimize clean up. Not necessary, just a nod to OCD.

A bit of a patchwork look for a couple years, but I worked on polishing the remainder as time and energy allowed. Still not completely done, but we are getting there.

Also still working on punch list. Until you do a few camping trips will you know what needs to be altered/replaced/removed.

Agree with n22916s, goal is functionality to camp, whether or not trailer is polished can be secondary. I never had anyone give me a negative attitude about appearance. Most will be glad you saved another vintage trailer and encourage you to keep going. Enjoy the process, take a break once in a while, stepping back and thinking about how to do the next step can make it go smoother and faster.

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Old 05-13-2020, 11:04 AM   #7
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Smile 57 Vintage

Hey Harold and Rebecca,

It's lookin' good!
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Old 05-13-2020, 11:21 AM   #8
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1967 17' Caravel
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I'm about 1/3 thru a re-polish. I am finding the Nuvite is harder to find. Vintage Trailer Supply is sold out. Amazon is stupid expensive
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Old 05-13-2020, 11:26 AM   #9
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57 Vintage - how sweet she is, especially her little kitchen.
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Old 05-13-2020, 05:40 PM   #10
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1968 26' Overlander
CORDOVA , TN
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Always always always fix leaks first......
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Old 05-13-2020, 05:57 PM   #11
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1968 26' Overlander
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As it relates to polishing......I am actually considering not polishing but doing necessary prep, and re-clearcoating.....I absolutely love the look and glow of the nice clearcoat.....not to mention, it lasts decades.....Now my '68 has pretty decent clearcoat now, so its a little easier for me to consider re-clearcoating instead of polishing....some Airstreams are so oxidized that it is not really an option......But I am not hung up on having to polish......Click image for larger version

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Old 05-13-2020, 06:57 PM   #12
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I'm about 1/3 thru a re-polish. I am finding the Nuvite is harder to find. Vintage Trailer Supply is sold out. Amazon is stupid expensive
Try Aircraft Spruce. A little more $, but they have it.
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Old 05-14-2020, 06:33 AM   #13
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Mkcurtiss - your Overlander looks so good as is, I don't blame you for sticking with the clear coat glow. And you won't have near the maintenance you would have if you polished, right?
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Old 05-14-2020, 09:11 AM   #14
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1972 23' Safari
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Polish now.....

I myself would polish now if I had the help and could get it done in a fairly short amount of time. Then would reseal everything. If you reseal now, you'll probaly rip off the seal/caulking when buffing at a later time. IMO

I started mine last fall and hopefully will finish in the next few weeks. Mines a 23 footer, I have 3/4 of the airstream done with the first pass. Only 2 more to go. ugh! I also plan on putting white buskote on the roof, so I won't be polishing it and that should save me from some polishing time. See pics.
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Old 05-14-2020, 01:00 PM   #15
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1977 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre
1973 21' Globetrotter
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Ugg polishing, hard work however it is satisfying. I would do any and everything else first.
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Old 05-14-2020, 01:22 PM   #16
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1973 31' Sovereign
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Maybe helpful

Hello there. Just wanted to comment on some experience I've had with buffing and sealants. In my experience, you want to buff first because the sealant will get *really* gummed up with buffing compound. I always really liked using the bone tool to clean out the old sealant, using a small buffing wheel to get into the corners and then make SURE every last bit of buffing compound is out of the joint. I'm using trempro 635 in the seams after I buff and I think the nozzle moves across the surface easier. Best of luck!
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Old 05-15-2020, 08:02 AM   #17
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knowmercy - what is a "bone tool"?
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Old 05-15-2020, 10:16 AM   #18
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1968 24' Tradewind
1968 26' Overlander
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Really not a right or wrong approach here. Pros/cons to both... If this is your first/only trailer, I'm voting for only polishing around items that you remove (running lights, etc) and putting your available time into the renovation / getting the trailer to a usable state. Sounds like you've removed the interior skins. If so, you can (and should) seal the seams from the inside. If needed, go ahead and do some exterior sealing as well to ensure it's water tight. Once the interior renovation is complete you can tackle the exterior polishing as time permits. If I already had a trailer to use (or simply wasn't in a rush to complete the renovation), I'd lean towards polishing the trailer early in the renovation (while the interior skins were out) since it may identify exterior panels I'd want to replace. I enjoy renovation as much as I do camping so I didn't really rush it.
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Old 05-15-2020, 10:34 AM   #19
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Mkcurtiss - your Overlander looks so good as is, I don't blame you for sticking with the clear coat glow. And you won't have near the maintenance you would have if you polished, right?
Definitely low maintenance with clearcoat......i use spray wax and it is quick and easy.....i can wax the whole thing in about 40 min.

TY for compliment!
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Old 05-18-2020, 07:10 AM   #20
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1973 31' Sovereign
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Bone tool clarification

Quote:
Originally Posted by PatLee View Post
knowmercy - what is a "bone tool"?

Hello, Pat. A bone tool is a small scraper made from bone. Its my favorite tool for scraping sealant without damaging the aluminum. Here is the one I prefer: https://www.vencink.com/product/pendant-lamp/ I hope this is helpful. I keep several around for picking off tar, sealant, etc from the aluminum.
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