The banana skins are pretty maleable, not 2024, so you can hammer them out easily. I got tired of the PO’s dents a few I put in myself, so I thought I’d take a shot at “fixing” them.
I’m no body worker, so I lack the panel hammer with the curved face and the sandbags that would allow me to get a smoother finish, but I don’t think you’re going to get all the small rock dings out anyway, so a few hammer marks are acceptable to me, compared to the big dents. I just cut a couple pieces of 2X4 to approximate the final curve and took the big dents out with those, then used the plastic and ballpeen hammers against the steel table saw top to get the smaller dings. You have to be careful as you do this and stop early, or it gets worse with hammer dings, not better.
Here’s the rear street side reinstalled and buffed up a little. I was surprised to find that the clear coat was almost perfectly intact (I guess it’s mostly out of the sun down there), so I took it off with Bix. My first polishing pass is with a cheapie polisher from Harbor Freight using cloth wheels you can get at truck stops. The yellow one is medium stiff, then I go to a white one, which is relatively soft–the red is too stiff. I start with a semi-liquid green paste in in a squeeze tube called emery polish. Once I get to where I can see whether or not I have bad corrosion (none on this banana, Yes!), I start using the wool bonnets and the Nuvite polish.
The skin came out OK. I put in the red lines so you could see where I made some tool marks, slight vertical bends in the skin just below the lines–I should have relieved the edges of the shaped 2×4 block! The sharp edges are what did the damage. If I had radiused the edges about 3/8″, you’d never see any tool marks. Live and learn. However, the banana skin passes the 8′ test, no sweat, and actually, I think it passes the banana skin test with flying colors!
I applied Vulkem to the seam so that rain water running down the side wouldn’t automatically be channeled into the inside of the banana skin. The seam is hidden under the trim belt, so it was a quick and dirty application.
I have to say that although I’m definitely not going to win any classic car restoration prizes with my bodywork, I’m quite happy with the way the banana skins turned out. They’re obviously beat up, but they’re in an area where that’s to be expected. They almost look hand-crafted in the original, which seems to suit my expectation for a Vintage Airstream. Polishing is also working out OK, but many of those black-hearted little dings are going to remain that way for now.
Here’s the “before” from the first post
Oops, the skin on the right really doesn’t look that good in person. Lots of work to do on polishing the shell. All that’s left is to put in the skin between the tongue frame and the trim belts and Mbuti’s ready to roll to the RMVAC Rally!