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Old 05-01-2020, 07:08 PM   #21
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1975 Argosy 22 Rear Door
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Originally Posted by InsideOut View Post
Guess it was a little unclear whether you are talking about the "interior" or "exterior" end caps...from your opening post, I assumed exterior too. From your picture, it looks like you mean interior...

Since you are going over interior fiberglass end cap with the aluminum panels you created - did you consider just using copper sheets instead of aluminum?

hahah YESSSS... but they're finished now. And I cant see dismantling like..40 hours of work and buying copper and starting over. Also, it would seem by peoples post here... that putting copper in is a bad idea.
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Old 05-02-2020, 12:07 AM   #22
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Copper leaf

Sorry I thought you were talking about an exterior application at first. Interior endcaps are a different matter being just cosmetic. I was a coatings contractor for 45 years and besides painting we did gold leaf and composition leaf which is copper and other metals. First off clean aluminum or fiberglass should hold paint well. I used an epoxy primer on my interior endcaps but any good primer should work on a properly prepared surface. The sizing to adhere metal leaf comes in oil base ( slower drying but stays tacky longer) or water based. There are many types of metal leaf. Gold is more expensive but never tarnishes. Any leaf you want to wash will need a clear sealer on top. Check out Sepp Leaf Products in New York. They have all the products and information you would need. Also the primer would be an effective barrier coat on aluminum to prevent electrolysis for copper leaf.
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Old 05-02-2020, 09:11 AM   #23
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Look into copper look “wrap” like they are putting on cars. They are adhesive acrylic I think and are very tough. I bet inside it would last about 20 yrs or more
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Old 05-02-2020, 04:27 PM   #24
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I definitely want to see some pictures of the finished process, especially if it's gold leaf!
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Old 05-06-2020, 09:50 AM   #25
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As suggested above a WRAP is the only way to go.

Easy to apply, removable along with an endless color and special effects choices if desired.

Remember "Drive Fast, Turn Heads, Break Hearts"
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Old 05-06-2020, 11:45 AM   #26
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1965 26' Overlander
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Copper customized

This sounds like a fun project. Customizing your airstream and personalizing it. Why not fabricate the panels out of copper and have the real thing. Just a suggestion. I think anyone who works with copper could do this for you.
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Old 05-06-2020, 02:52 PM   #27
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I'd guess using car wrap would be the best and most durable option

Plus, if you get tired of it just peel it off.
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Old 05-06-2020, 02:54 PM   #28
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I agree with Julie Ann that copper sheeting would be the way to go and less pricey than gilding. Gilding is very tedious. As an artist, gold leaf is very expensive and comes in small sheets. For the gold to sheen, you have paint an undercoat of red, it’s a medieval technique and really adds to the gilded effect. I’ve done gilding on frames and small paintings but never on the scale you are contemplating.
You may want to do some research on jewelry sites, especially copper jewelry artists and metalworkers. There are a lot of patina techniques that you can apply to copper to make it look aged (brown)or have that verdigris (blue green) patina. is one site that you might get answers from. I would think that a metalsmith could make those panels for you as they don’t look too difficult. Love the idea, good luck.
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Old 05-07-2020, 05:51 AM   #29
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southern pines , North Carolina
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Copper AS

Look at Kit and Ace- a Canadian clothing company. Their Airstream is copper! It looked amazing. Not sure how they did it, but maybe they will share information with you. Good luck! Jeannie
Originally Posted by girasoledonn View Post
Hey guys! Quick question. I want to make my segmented aluminum end caps look like real copper. I was experimenting with different ideas: auto paint was my first go to for durability, but finding a color that actually looks like COPPER and not copper paint hasn't been going well. I wanted to stay away from spray paints you can get at the hardware store because I figured they wouldn't last. I understand that if i paint the end caps, however I paint them, I need to sand/apply acid etch primer/ sand and paint again.

However, I was experimenting with another idea - GILDING copper leaf foil onto the aluminum. For the life of me, i can find NOTHING online about gilding onto aluminum. Maybe because its a non issue - but i can't figure out if i need to prime the aluminum as I would for painting if I choose to gild vs. paint? Does ANYONE know anything about gilding? Gilding involves applying a "bole" which is an oil based primer that helps bring out different aspects of the foil metal applied, and oil based gilding "size" which is a glue that is then put over the bole to create adhesion, and then the foil itself which is burnished to look smooth.

In this case, I can't figure out if I can just apply the bole and the size to the aluminum, or if i need to sand/ prime with acid etch and THEN do the bole and then the size?

HELP. Thank you!
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Old 05-07-2020, 05:58 AM   #30
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Copper airstream
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