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Old 18-02-2013, 22:52   #16
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Re: Best Sander for the bottom

Lots of helpful info about sandpaper -- thanks.

Checked out sanders today & was surprised how much heavier the 6" random orbitals were over the 5". The 6 is probably better for the bottom job but I would imagine the 5 is more versatile when it comes to the rest of the boat projects.
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Old 18-02-2013, 23:23   #17
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Re: Best Sander for the bottom

Yeah, that's one of the nice things about the Festool, it has a quick release pad and you can switch sizes or pad hardness on the fly. I think a Festool is too nice for a bottom job.
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Old 19-02-2013, 09:03   #18
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Re: Best Sander for the bottom

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Yeah, that's one of the nice things about the Festool, it has a quick release pad and you can switch sizes or pad hardness on the fly. I think a Festool is too nice for a bottom job.
Yeah, it seems that way, although I'll only be doing my first bottom job this coming Spring, so what do I know? Bosch seems to be in the "Festool-lite" category, and makes a couple of 6" models that seem light & versatile enough to do a variety of different jobs where perhaps a DIY boat owner could get away with just having one powered sander onboard. Besides, I'm too inexperienced & therefore dangerous using any sort of power tool with much of the more delicate stuff onboard (e.g. interior woodwork)!
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Old 19-02-2013, 15:32   #19
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It seems like there are fewer & fewer DIY yards these days and the ones that are OK with it often require dust extraction, esp. for toxic stuff like bottom paint. I've been looking at the Fein MultiMax oscillating tool. They have a 4.5" sanding disk attachment and dust extraction. Less $$$ than the Festool but still more than what can be had at Lowes & HD. The multi-tools are much more versatile and can be used in many other applications. Of course, Harbor Frght. has one on sale right now for $20(!), but you'd be on your own with the dust extraction.

If you tent it properly(cheap to do) with clear plastic sheeting, and use a decent shop vac, it's ok. Scrape, vacuum chunks. Fine filter in vacuum, sand with vacuum on, vacuum ground and you're done.

Even if not required, a tent keeps the area you are working dry and free of wind. Nobody likes bottom paint dust blowing all over the yard and getting their boats dirty.
A roll of clear plastic sheeting, some thin wood strips and tape is all you need.

A trick we use is old Venetian blinds, taped to the hull just above the boot stripe, angled down at the opposite end of the tent opening, they act as rain gutters. They stay up after tent is removed for painting.

A vacuum means less dust exposure for you, and helps sand more aggressively, as it pulls the sander to the hull.
Even a cheap random orbital dander will be far better than a multi master type tool, and you can add vacuum by removing the bag and simply taping on the vacuum hose.
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Old 26-02-2013, 20:59   #20
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Random orbit sanders can be bought with different diameter orbits. The larger the diameter the more aggressive the sander. Bosch makes one, so does rigid among others. I bought the rigid 6" for about $135. Works great. Removes 30% faster and the pad lasts longer too.

Well worth it.
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Old 27-02-2013, 07:13   #21
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Re: Best Sander for the bottom

If you are sanding the bottom of a Bristol 47.7, you will want to invest in the sander that gives the least amount of vibration, and, unless you workout daily, go with 5" because of weight. The additional amount of time you would save with a 6" sander wouldn't equal the amount of downtime you will need for recovery. My whole working life has been with power tools. Big box store tools quite often are a different model, built for pricing, than what you buy from a specialty tool supplier. When they are an equal, there is very little price savings. Same with abrasives, what the box store sells is price point, and because it wears quickly, you will be back to by more. A few minutes after you start sanding the bottom, you will look towards the remaining work to be done, and will be overwhelmed at the size of the boat.

As far as tenting, yes it will contain the dust to an area where it can be cleaned up, but it doesn't help with your exposure. Even suited up, you will have a problem keeping your goggles and face shield clear so you can see, the dust will get every where, even with the suit sealed. Using a sanding SYSTEM, like Fein or Festool, will minimize all that, by capturing the dust before it will be flying around.

If you are just scuff sanding to apply addition coats, use a pole sander like drywall finishers use. The bottom should be pressure washed, so all you need to do is sand it clean. Could do the bottom in less than a day. Lay a tarp down, choose a windless day, and the sanding dust will fall straight down for easy clean up. If you are taking it down to barrier coat or fiberglass, don't even think about it, just go to a real tool supply, look and try the different sanders and vacs, and make your decision. I still stand by Festool, expensive, but you get what you pay for, and and they have some of the best abrasives made, specific to uses, and there abrasives are competetive with other quality abrasives.
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Old 27-02-2013, 12:46   #22
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Re: Best Sander for the Bottom

Thanks for the informed info. Always nice to get some insight from those who have the experience. I see what you mean about the wgt. & bulk difference btwn the 5" & 6" RO sanders out there. For better or worse, I recently bought a 6" Bosch 1250. It's got two modes, RO and a more agressive one which at low speed I thought could also serve as a polisher for my gelcoat. Also considered the 7" Makita that Minaret & others like but I didn't see where it had dust extraction. Have already used the Bosch in my workshop and it's great when gravity is on your side. Dust extraction via my cheapo shop-bac works well too. Might regret the wgt. once I start sanding my 47' bottom as you point out.

Sometimes when you're looking to save $$$ and space one tool can fit the bill. Other times that same tool doesn't do either job well! Time will tell . . . .
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Old 27-02-2013, 12:57   #23
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Re: Best Sander for the bottom

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The Festool rocks, but for bottom sanding a plastic tent and an 8" softpad are the way to go. Festool is much better than the Fein for not much more money. I own both.
Minaret...what exactly is an 8 inch softpad? Is it a polisher/sander? Which brand do you use?
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Old 27-02-2013, 14:57   #24
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Re: Best Sander for the bottom

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Minaret...what exactly is an 8 inch softpad? Is it a polisher/sander? Which brand do you use?


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