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Old 16-04-2015, 12:29   #1
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Sanding with a Vacuum or Tarping and Sanding Without?

In two months or so I'll be hauling out and doing the bottom and topsides of the hull. The yard says I can either tarp/cover the boat while sanding or sand with a vacuum/shopvac attached.

What's the consensus view on the better/easier overall option?

It seems like setting up the cover would be a days worth of work and extra costs but would make sanding a bit easier overall. I've done a bit of sanding with a small shopvac attached in the past on the interior of the boat and while it didn't seem that bad I can imagine doing 36' of hull with the extra weight and handing would not be awesome.



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Old 16-04-2015, 12:40   #2
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Re: Sanding with a Vacuum or Tarping and Sanding Without?

I think that's a personal question and you'll get as many different opinions as people who have them. For myself, vacuum. Tarping traps all the dust with you and the boat, making everything harder to clean up before painting. Plus the whole breathing thing.

I use a sander with a vacuum takeoff, perforated discs, and a 1" lightweight vacuum hose. My preference.

You didn't mention wet sanding as an option, but then we don't have any water left here in California, so maybe it isn't an option
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Old 16-04-2015, 12:46   #3
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Re: Sanding with a Vacuum or Tarping and Sanding Without?

Tarp... a vac hose is a PITA.
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Old 16-04-2015, 12:48   #4
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Re: Sanding with a Vacuum or Tarping and Sanding Without?

This is an easy call:

a. Why on earth would you want to work with the dust in the air? Yeah, you can wear a mask, but....

b. A light vacuum hose is not noticeable (I like the light sump pump hose from HD--cheap and only ounces). A vac hose is only a PITA if you have the wrong one.

c. Sandpaper seems to last longer with a vacuum--less clogging.

d. Think about how hot it will get inside the tent, with you wearing coveralls and a respirator. Unbelievable and even dangerous.

e. Unless you have a very high quality full-face mask that has been fit tested to fit you properly, will be more considerably more exposed in the tent.

f. Gets rather hard to see, with dust in the air and on your mask.

Personally, I would still tarp the ground and wear a mask. And remember that you cannot sand if anyone down wind is finish painting; discourteous doesn't even touch it.
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Old 16-04-2015, 13:27   #5
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Re: Sanding with a Vacuum or Tarping and Sanding Without?

I tarp sanded two years ago. Never Again.

37ft sailboat, cutaway full keel. I had 12+ years of Trinidad hard paint on it and needed to sand all or at least most of it off. Not an osmosis problem; I've never heard of a CSY that had an osmosis problem. At first the yard let me sand in the open with just a ground tarp. Not good but not too bad. But they soon asked me to tarp the entire boat. Thats when it got really bad.

Working between the hanging tarp and the hull was hot and unbelievably dusty. In spite of tyvek suits and commercial breathing appartus I was breathing copper dust and getting it on my skin. I was not using a vacuum sander but a cheap 8" rotary sander, 60 grit paper. It took eight working days to finish the job. I'm sure I took a year off my life. Never Again.

I had been offered a peel job by a yard vendor, but the guy didnt have the best reputation so I passed. He had peeled another boat in the yard and removed the gelcoat as well, then sold the guy an epoxy job and run his bill up to more than three times his original estimate. I also tried to hire labor to sand the boat but nobody wanted to do it. Now I know why.

If I ever need to do this job again I think I will use a sandblasting contractor. I was on the Chessie last year and watched two guys sandblast a 38ft sailboat hull in half a day. Think they charged 1500 but, knowing what I know now, I would gladly pay it.
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Old 16-04-2015, 13:48   #6
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Re: Sanding with a Vacuum or Tarping and Sanding Without?

Another vote for vacuum. I buy 40 grit discs by the box and change often. I use the vacuum with all my tools now; routers, planers, belt sanders, random orbital etc. While it does not get all the dust, it does make a difficult job a little more tolerable, much more so with something toxic like bottom paint.
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Old 16-04-2015, 14:20   #7
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Re: Sanding with a Vacuum or Tarping and Sanding Without?

+1 for vacuum. I tarp-ed on my first bottom painting job and I did not enjoy the experience. I had to wear full body suit with full face mask/respirator. The guys next to me sanded with 6" vacuumed disks, wearing "church' clothing with just dust mask, enjoying nice weather, while I suffered. Get heavy duty vacuum designed for continuous use (e.g. Fein), Shop Vac may not survive the task, as mine did not on another occasion.
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Old 16-04-2015, 14:20   #8
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Re: Sanding with a Vacuum or Tarping and Sanding Without?

Hi Yeti I read a thread on here recently about a guy doing a similar job and he recommended a product called Abranet, they do a range of sanding pads and machines all with extraction capabilities. I bought the hand sanding version and used it this weekend to prepare my hull for new antifouling it worked a treat.I have used it on doors internally and it leaves very little mess. The other great thing is the amount of work one pad can do.Check it out on the net.
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Old 16-04-2015, 15:14   #9
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Re: Sanding with a Vacuum or Tarping and Sanding Without?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BambooSailor View Post
... Get heavy duty vacuum designed for continuous use (e.g. Fein), Shop Vac may not survive the task, as mine did not on another occasion.
For really HD sanding I use a dust trap in front of my vac made from a 5-gallon bucket and plumbed for some swirl. After that I could use a regular vacuum. Really cuts down on filter clogging.
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Old 16-04-2015, 15:44   #10
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Re: Sanding with a Vacuum or Tarping and Sanding Without?

I use a FessTool system, which made it possible for me to paint my entire boat while floating at the slip and also being in a commercial boatyard. No other system, short of completely tarping (thousands of $$$ to have done) could approach the simplicity, efficiency and economy of a FessTool. Sorry, Cheechako, you have never tried this system or you would be a convert. I use a rotary grinder for the nasty stuff and two oscillating sanders (one is rigged with the fillet, radius attachment). You can also get tools such as skillsaws, jigsaws, routers and other power tools for this system. In Europe, you can go into an office or home and begin making progress without complete tenting and dust control. Not a lot of folks are using them, yet, in the U.S., but you will be seeing more as time goes on. Simply, the best. http://www.festoolproducts.com/?gcli...SsSxoCW7Hw_wcB
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Old 16-04-2015, 17:48   #11
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Re: Sanding with a Vacuum or Tarping and Sanding Without?

I use a Mirka w/common shop vac, with Abranet and other disks. The Abranet pads last many times longer because the dust is removed and isn't embedding into the disk. Even the paper disks with the holes last longer. I've had harbor masters stand over me while I sanded the hull without any complaints. I have an extra long vac hose to get the noise away. My Mirka runs on compressed air and the compressor is in the engine room, so no noise there either. I don't have to wear ear plugs or safety glasses. Disks come in 40 grit to 3000.
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Old 16-04-2015, 18:09   #12
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Re: Sanding with a Vacuum or Tarping and Sanding Without?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lepke View Post
I use a Mirka w/common shop vac, with Abranet and other disks. The Abranet pads last many times longer because the dust is removed and isn't embedding into the disk. Even the paper disks with the holes last longer. I've had harbor masters stand over me while I sanded the hull without any complaints. I have an extra long vac hose to get the noise away. My Mirka runs on compressed air and the compressor is in the engine room, so no noise there either. I don't have to wear ear plugs or safety glasses. Disks come in 40 grit to 3000.
Did just that: Had the boatyard-boss watch me and got OK'd to work without tarp. I drool over FesTool stuff but couldn't justify it for occasional use. I used a $100 RIGID shop vac, a BOSCH DA 6" sander plus fitting vac-hose, Mirka Abranet 60 and 60 grit disks. Worked surprisingly well, used a good mask and goggles, but tossed the Tyvec suit.
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Old 16-04-2015, 18:13   #13
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Re: Sanding with a Vacuum or Tarping and Sanding Without?

Vacuum not tent. And yes, if your on an unpaved surface that can't be vacuumed a tarp on deck is the right thing to do.

Lightweight vacuum hose isn't noticeable after a few hours. Tape the vacuum hose to the air hose to keep it neat. Hold the hose with left hand, hold the DA with the right hand, you'll get into a rhythm halfway through the day.

Festool makes a great pneumatic DA which is pricey and an electric DA but that's heavy. Great for sanding stuff on a work bench or a mast on jackstands, but it sucks using it overhead or lying on your back with arms overhead.

Abranet sanding discs are outstanding, but pricey.

A couple hundred $ gets you a decent Lightweight pneumatic Dynabrade DA sander that you'll have forever and use often.

Fein vacuum will run $500. Borrow?

Another tool I love is a vaccum scraper. Only does an inch wide cut at a time but, again, you'll get a rhythm going and really rip some paint off the bottom. Save $ on discs, just use a few to smooth it out after scraping.

Sanding in a tarp is deadly without filtered ventilation.

No matter what man wear a full face respirator, the stuff in that paint will make your willy shrivel up and fall off, and if it gets in your eyes you may never see it again anyhow.
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Old 16-04-2015, 22:35   #14
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Re: Sanding with a Vacuum or Tarping and Sanding Without?

Thanks to all for the input. I was already leaning towards the vacuum and this pretty much confirms it for me.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Roy M View Post
I use a FessTool system, which made it possible for me to paint my entire boat while floating at the slip and also being in a commercial boatyard. No other system, short of completely tarping (thousands of $$$ to have done) could approach the simplicity, efficiency and economy of a FessTool. Sorry, Cheechako, you have never tried this system or you would be a convert. I use a rotary grinder for the nasty stuff and two oscillating sanders (one is rigged with the fillet, radius attachment). You can also get tools such as skillsaws, jigsaws, routers and other power tools for this system. In Europe, you can go into an office or home and begin making progress without complete tenting and dust control. Not a lot of folks are using them, yet, in the U.S., but you will be seeing more as time goes on. Simply, the best. Festool Tools and Power Tools | Festoolproducts.com
I am very thankful for this bit of info. The main reason I was considering the tenting was that my current setup wasn't that awesome when I was doing the interior, lots of dust not being captured it seemed. I will be seriously looking into these products.

Of Course If Roy M feels like loaning his out (even for a small fee) I would consider that as well
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Old 17-04-2015, 08:11   #15
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Re: Sanding with a Vacuum or Tarping and Sanding Without?

Sorry, Yeti. But, if you keep an eye peeled, you might find one on Craig's List. Even if you have to buy one, it may turn out to be (as it was for me) the best single investment I ever made, period. You can get sandpaper and accessories at T,H&H in Kearny Mesa, just down the street from Rockler on Clairemont Drive. Here are some pics of the tool in action. Note the absence of a face mask, the black teeshirt, and the overhead position of the grinder. That's a good friend of mine demonstrating how to grind one's underwings on a multihull. This was done at a local boatyard, which allowed me to use the Festool without tenting, after each of their yard supervisors has had a chance to check it out.
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