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Old 01-12-2012, 20:26   #16
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Re: What kind of sander would you use?

On a fibreglass boat, I agree with the earlier poster who suggested paint stripper. If the stripper is applied then, after time for it to dissolve the paint, you use a water blaster, the surface will not be compromised by a heavy handed abrasive sander, and, you will be able to easily spot any blisters (especially weeping ones) which may have caused the bubbling in the first place.
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Old 01-12-2012, 20:37   #17
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Re: What kind of sander would you use?

I used a 9" diameter right angle polisher from an auto parts store for 54 bucks. I bought #40 grit disks from Home Depot and only used one to fair the entire bottom of our 58 foot boat. (no bottom paint). This was for a job to put a new bottom on the boat. Whatever task you take on, use the biggest tool that can possibly do the job rather than push a small tool to step up. I faired the entire botom on one day.

You might want to check the moisture content of the deck before you sink a lot of time and $$$ in the job.
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Old 01-12-2012, 21:20   #18
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Re: What kind of sander would you use?

I agree with the Festool Rotex 125 and any of the CT vacuums. Rotex can be either rotary or random orbital, and their abrasives are about the best. With the vac, you capture over 90% of the dust, which helps you stay compliant. Until I made the investment, I doubted the reason to buy Festool. You do get what you pay for.
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Old 01-12-2012, 23:45   #19
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Re: What kind of sander would you use?

Festool makes neat stuff but they are priced like diamonds. $500 and more for the sander plus the vacuum gets these tools into the boat unit category.

A 9" polisher/sander with a foam pad will remove a lot of material without gouging given a little operator control. You want the sander/polisher, not a grinder, because you want to keep the rpm's under 3,000 to keep from generating too much heat. A regular grinder just spins too fast and will melt, as much as grind, the substrate. Took all the gelcoat off the deck of a 32' boat using my trusty 9" Milwaukee Sander/Polisher with a foam pad and 120 grit sandpaper. Harbor Freight sells polishers for $50 or so. HF tools are p.o.s. so will probably be a throw away long before you're finished but just buy another. The foam pad will cost you nearly as much as the sander. When we built our W32 kit nearly 40 years ago, bought the Milwaukee. It's a heavy beast but still works fine going on three boats and a lot of woodworking.
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Old 02-12-2012, 05:24   #20
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Re: What kind of sander would you use?

The value of the Festool system is the dust collection. It captures almost all of the dust. My whole working life has been home building and carpentry. Have had larger boats,(over 25') for more than 30 years. After switching to a good dust collection tool system, I think of all the dust I have inhaled over all the years. Boat yards are now requiring dust collection when sanding. None of the individual tools capture dust like Festool or Fein do. I have worn out just about every brand of sander, and again, you get what you pay for, and in my thinking, your health has the highest value.
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Old 02-12-2012, 06:18   #21
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Re: What kind of sander would you use?

To catch the majority of dust with a cheaper sander, you call always hook a small shop vac up to the fitting that is usually for the small dust collection bags that come with the cheaper sanders.

I can't argue with the folks recommending the festool though. I've never used one, but there have been countless times where I've been disappointed trying to use lesser quality stuff and ended up buying the better quality thing I've should haxe bought in the first place.
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Old 02-12-2012, 06:46   #22
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Re: What kind of sander would you use?

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, adieu.
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Old 02-12-2012, 06:57   #23
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Re: What kind of sander would you use?

Someone else mentioned an Angle grinder with sanding disk. I suggest an angle grinder with 60-80 grit disk. A word of caution: Angle grinders works very well, and remove a consideralble amount of material in seconds. PRACTICE on something else before using a grinder on paint/gelcoat. If the paint layers were not a thick as I envision from your post, then i'd suggest chemical stripper.
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Old 02-12-2012, 10:57   #24
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Re: What kind of sander would you use?

Where's Minaret in all of this?
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Old 02-12-2012, 11:17   #25
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Re: What kind of sander would you use?

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Originally Posted by senormechanico View Post
Where's Minaret in all of this?
He posted over here>>> Stripping 20 Year Old Awlgrip
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Old 02-12-2012, 15:56   #26
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Re: What kind of sander would you use?

Many thanks for all the advice. Many options. I will spend some time giving them better study.

I like the idea of first trying paint remover. Might be easier in winter weather. I was a little concerned about the paint remover damaging the gelcoat, but maybe if I'm careful to avoid direction application through cracks in the paint.
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Old 02-12-2012, 16:06   #27
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Re: What kind of sander would you use?

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Originally Posted by Gerry Connolly View Post
A festool rotex 125 combined with a cleantex 26 vacume system is expensive, but if you want the best, can't be beat. Can get the unit and the sanding disks from Lee Valley. Very aggressive but precise and super clean.
Used one to finish stripping 25 years of bottom paint (after soya strip and scraping)
Have to agree, Festool is the only way. I helped a friend and we had 4 different orbitals to play with. The Festool was by far the best sander.
I don't know if you can hire one where you are but that might be a way or find second hand.

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Old 02-12-2012, 18:18   #28
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I'm looking to do a similar job on a boat in the Caribbean next month.

I'm thinking of getting a 6 inch orbital as it'll be faster than a 5 inch

Does anyone know if 6 inch discs are readily available at hardware stores in Grenada?
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Old 02-12-2012, 23:19   #29
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Re: What kind of sander would you use?

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Originally Posted by senormechanico View Post
Where's Minaret in all of this?


Trying not to interject my opinion into every single thread, especially when I've already given it on this subject in so many other threads. Plus I haul out in the morning for a major refit, kinda busy now. Restricted to phone and iPad now...
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Old 06-12-2012, 21:05   #30
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Re: What kind of sander would you use?

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Trying not to interject my opinion into every single thread, especially when I've already given it on this subject in so many other threads. Plus I haul out in the morning for a major refit, kinda busy now. Restricted to phone and iPad now...
Lol, good luck with the refit.
adieu, I'm in the same boat as you, I'm half way done after three days, using 5" random orbit home depot sander and 60 grit disks. Its not easy, actually it blows....I thought about the angle grinder/polishers with larger rotating disk, but as someone mentioned earlier, you can gouge your boat easily. Even if you get good at it, you won't see the gouges as you're taking stuff off. Its hard to take layers off evenly. You will definitely blow right through it, taking the paint off, but I feel like there will be much more fairing work waiting for you in the next round. That is if you want the finish to look professional.
Tried few different strippers on old awlgrip, it was not working. And where it did, it damaged old gelcoat.
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