Avstar Aircraft of Washington, Inc.

10415 172nd St. E., Hangar A1
Puyallup, WA  98374
office (253)770-9964
or (253)770-0120
email:  avstarair@att.net

03-05-2005 Ask Mike! Archive
Stripping and polishing

Hello Mike,
I am presently looking for a 1947 straight 35, that has not been extensively upgraded, and  would like to have the aircraft stripped and polished. Do you know of any shop/s that performs these tasks. I know it must be a bit more work then painting, and the up keep must be laborious as well.   I enjoy your web site, nice to see work in progress, and the final finished product. This ASK MIKE is great as well

Good Day, Adriian.

Thank you for your comments on the web site; I am fortunate enough to have a great webmaster; makes my job easy!
The task you are looking to get into sounds big.  First, you need to find the aircraft, and with great pain, inspect it for any areas of, well, non-professional metal repair.  Once stripped, all these potential areas will bare themselves to you and the world.  If the aircraft had ever been sanded upon, there will be the obvious scratches in the aluminum; one must be aware that the maximum reduction in any metal due to corrosion, polishing, etc., is 10% of the total thickness.  On a '47 model, many skins were very lightweight anyway, so in many areas you may end up with skins less than 0.016 thick - not much more than a gum wrapper!  To keep these polished and looking good, it takes a lot of hand work; machine polishing can burn the aluminum, that will change it's strength properties.
Also, keep in mind the airworthiness directives that affect this model aircraft; spar inspection (carry-through) every 100 hours, the speed-restriction inspections, etc.  I think I would lean toward a C - G model, if I were looking to do this to an airplane.
That said; you can end up with a gorgeous aircraft!  With some homework, discuss your plan with paint shops in your area.  Keep in mind the ruddervators will need to be painted, as well as the flaps and ailerons if they are magnesium, and any external non-aluminum parts, like the tailcone.
And, yes, the upkeep will be intense.  Currently, we are putting all new windows in a T-Bone that is polished.  Now that's a labor of love airplane!
Gear Green,