Posted: 7/5/2010 23:12:42
I have my eyes on a painted Cessna 140 and would like to buy it, and return it back to the original polished aluminum look. Can anyone give advice on how I should approach it? I have some experience in polished aluminum airplanes, and have used Nuvite products with success. Bu this has always been with airplanes that are already stripped, I've just been doing the "buffing". I have never stripped existing paint from an airplane and brought it back to the bare aluminum look. It would be helpful to get recommendations of good aircraft paint strippers and any advice to avoid things that might go wrong in the process.
Posted: 7/6/2010 08:09:07
I'm not smart enough to give advice, but do want to encourage you on your project. We have a polished 140 based at Bermudian Valley and it is a beatuiful airplane!
NC22375 out of 07N
Posted: 7/8/2010 22:31:16
You may not like my suggestion but if the paint is good to OK, I'd leave it alone.
Why you might ask. I'm in the middle of restoring a 1965 C-150 and have tried removing some paint while waiting for engine parts. I've not found ANY good paint remover that works to my satisfaction. If the existing paint did not look terrible, I would quit but now I'm too far into it to quit.
I would like to return to the original paint scheme but a lot of the plane was not ever painted. So my choice is to polish that or paint it aluminum as some have done. Back when I was taking instruction in the C-150, I tried to keep the leading edges polished. (In the 1970s) I used MetAll and polished with a rag and flour. It was a terrible amount of work! Perhaps there are better ways today. Some suggest spraying some sort of clear coat after polishing. I don't know if that works or not.
Others tell me just fly it after finishing the engine.. that sounds better the more I work on the paint. Good Luck! Earl
Posted: 7/9/2010 09:56:28
Don't do it. I purchased a previously painted C170 some years ago. The individual I bought it from had stripped the paint and returned it to bare metal. No matter what we all did, the aluminum could not be polished to anything resembling a shine. I learned that the problem was not the stripper, but the prep for the painting - in order to get adhesion, the aluminum was treated -etched?-which was permanent. I finally painted it aluminum. My only suggestion there is that you look at an airplane painted with the exact paint you are considering. Many are just as bad as the diseased aluminum would be.
Posted: 7/9/2010 10:16:35
Diane brings up an excellent point that I had not considered, having had no experience in the area. But, in order to paint aluminum, it must be 'prepared' by etching it with a mild acid (AlumiPrep, Metalprep or similar). It may be impossible to overcome this preparatory step once the paint is removed. The airplane that I saw at Bermudina Valley may have never been painted in the first place. In any event, returning the airplane to polished aluminum state sounds like a monumental job - bummer....
NC22375 out of 07N
Posted: 7/11/2010 13:48:24
I have a polished RV8 and to echo others it is quite a bit of work to keep the polish up to par. With that said people still like the appearance of a polished airplane. If the original painter used a mechanical means to etch the metal (scotch bright pad) you will not be able to bring the finish up to the standard that you desire. If allowed prior to purchase remove paint from maybe an oil door with agreement to restore to original....but not likely. Better idea look for a polished example that needs some tlc and polish till satisfied. Nuvite works best, Ron Black and his sons are great sources of DIY info. Good luck with the project, many people paint the underside of the wing and tail silver so you don't have to work on your back......my arms give out and I'm not getting any younger.
Posted: 7/12/2010 09:34:12
I too have a C140. I would highly recommend you check out the Cessna 120-140 website. There is a lot of info on that site and at least a few people that have done just what you are wanting to do.
Remember that if you don't have metal wings, you will be trying to find paint that matches. If you do have metal wings, consider the weight difference as they are pretty restricted...especailly if you take a passenger or are heavy yourself.
That's just my $0.02....good luck!
Posted: 7/12/2010 11:47:12
I helped polish one airplane. From then on it was 'hello Superflite.' You might not like what you see under the paint. Good thing is you can always re-paint. Also, if any previous processes either etching or polishing have gone through the alclad it will not polish to a high gloss.
Posted: 7/12/2010 23:10:35
Thanks for all the helpful replies. I am definitely nervous about my original idea now, it seems inevitable that the aluminum was etch-primed and the consensus here seems to be that no amount of polishing will put a good shine on it.