Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Let the polishing begin!!!

"Hi, could you pass a chocolate donut and juice box, please?!

I must be crazy to start a polishing project now!! Polishing a trailer takes many many dozens of hours. At a time in the project when we need to see some rapid action, I choose to polish. What am I thinking?

I justify my decision to polish by looking at the two tone colors from our panel replacement.

Just my opinion, but looking at the new aluminum makes the corroded, gray aluminum look really sad. We don't want a sad trailer, we want a sleek airplane looking trailer. A head turner.

I have polished one trailer already and I do know what I'm getting into. I placed an order for fresh supplies and expanded my arsenal of polishing tools a bit. Armed with a pair of polishers, fresh wool and some polish, my Dad and I got to work.

We started out on an absolutely beautiful Seattle morning. After giving the trailer a bath, I began removing exterior lights and locks - Dad got to work on the polish.

Dad helped me remove the door. It needs adjustment to close correctly, so we did a little straightening of the hinges. Comfortable with our prospects of getting it mounted as good as original, it came off so we could polish it and around the door more easily.

Emmett came down to help. He loves his 'Bapa' and can't be more than a few steps from him. I turned around and the little guy had crawled through the sunroof with his 'Dad, look at me!!' smile.

Polishing has a way of really dragging you down. The results are so rewarding but so slow and draining.

Progress comes slowly, so we work one panel at a time.

Pretty soon, it's looking really good. I've chosen Nuvite F9 for the heavy oxidation removal. Comparing the Flying Cloud to Norm and Mary's Overlander, we have a serious amount of age to cut through. Their trailer has a clear coat that has been applied over the polished aluminum. So you can still see your reflection in the skin. Our trailer did not have a clear coat, so all the years of weather have deposited a really thick layer of corrosion. It looks more like galvanized sheet metal.

On the left, you can see how heavy the corrosion is. On the right is clean aluminum:

We work and work and slowly the silver shows through.

This panel took approximately three hours with F9:

I washed a small area with paint thinner and applied the next grade of polish, G6:

It helps get the scratches out of the skin that the F9 leaves.


  1. Julia and I looked it over yesterday when we stopped by the shop. It's really looking sweet and you are almost all the way around!

  2. A product that might make your job easier is www.jestcoproducts.com/index.php?act=viewProd&productId=7 I used the Nuvite F7 for a 135 hours before I found the jestco system. Much less time and the scratches are vertical. For a final step I go over it with nuvite "C" on a cyclo and it looks super. "S" would make it even more mirror like. Personally I like the pewter look, but also had new aluminum conflicting with the old. Keep up the great work. Hopefully you will be camping with us soon.

  3. Your trailer is looking awesome Ryan. I'm envious. It was really good to meet you guys at Vikash and Victoria's on Sunday. You guys are way ahead of us in regards to restoration. You are polishing already! I still need to finish installing the bubblewrap insulation, new electrical and inner skins. Then we can put down the marmoleum. Hey, can you recommend a good place for us to pick up the marmoleum?



  4. She's looking stunning, Ryan. You're nicely ahead of my 53 FC which is great for me as it means I can look to you great blog (& really clear photos) to guide my efforts across the pond in the UK.
    My next job is to fit the new bellywrap - I plan to leave a central section as a separate sheet so I if I need to get to the tanks I can without disturbing the edges. And then the shell goes back on the chassis. Polishing is a way down the line !
    Keep up the great work - you'll be Streaming well before me.

  5. Wow! Wow! Wow! My dad and I just stopped by the shop to pick up the ladder and took a look at the trailer. It looks awesome!