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post #2 of Old 02-16-2013
Maine Sail
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Re: Best sander for bottom sanding?

Originally Posted by 1970Columbia34 View Post
Every couple of years we like to go through and sand the bottom really well before a new coat of vc17. What we use is a couple of Porter Cable 5" random orbitals. They works good but seem to lack power to really get the job done in a timely manner. I have done to searching and have read people talking about the Festool 150. Is this really a faster tool? I am looking for something between the random orbital and a 7" grinder :-) . And the festool sounds like it has great dust collection for sanding inside the storage barn. Thanks for any feedback.
The Porter Cables will eventually start to squeal and burn out too. They don't like being upside down with copper being sucked into them. At my friends boat yard they get three to four years out of Fein before it needs to be sent out for repair. The Porter Cable machines 94766 etc.. are on a rotating basis and get 4-8 months.... Sanding bottom paint is a death sentence for ANY sander it is just a matter of time. For the average DIY doing it once per year a Festool or Fein will likely outlast you. A Porter Cable will get you maybe 10+/- sandings, I've killed them in just two as it depends I suppose on the copper content of the paint............

Yes the Festool or the Fein will be MUCH faster. They also extract dust far better and last longer. Their sand paper actually lasts longer too. Copper paint chews through cheap home center quality sand paper....

If I was buying right now it would be the Festool sander and vacuum. They don't gouge you on paper nearly as badly as Fein does but both are tremendous products that DO make a difference.

Don't discount the vacuum as an integral part of the sander, especially with Festool. The variable speed allows you to keep the pad spinning on the surface which speeds up work and dials pad rotation to balance perfectly with dust extraction. With a standard shop vac they tend to "over suck" and stall the rotation of the pad by sucking it to the hull far too hard. This both kills performance and eats through paper. A router speed control on a cheap vac can help but is not the best substitute for the complete Festool system. I am slowly investing in Festool and have been using Fein products for years. On of my favorite things Festool sells are the Velcro backed Scotch-Brite pads for the RO sanders. I use them on my jointer, table saw, band saw and drill press cast iron tables to keep them shiny & rust free. They also work way better than sand paper for anual spring "touch up" for the bottom paint to "rough it up"....

They are truly superior products in every way, but you do pay for it...... With my Porter Cable 5" I finally threw it away as Sears stopped honoring my "lifetime warranty" that I paid extra for... BEWARE of the Sears "extended lifetime warranties" they are NOT worth the paper they are written on. I switched to Rigid for a cheap 5" RO and am on my second one with no questions asked...

-Maine Sail / CS-36T

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Last edited by Maine Sail; 02-16-2013 at 08:31 AM.
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