Soda Blasting Bottoms in Cape Cod Area - SailNet Community

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Old 06-04-2007
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Soda Blasting Bottoms in Cape Cod Area

Greetings All,

After spending about 20 hours with a 3.0 Amp, 5 inch random sander and burning through 60 grit like crazy I am starting to rethink the method of operations. The yard owner in Mattapoisett suggested getting the bottom soda blasted and showed me a couple of jobs that had recently been done on much larger boats than my 36' Cheoy Lee Luders sloop. At this point, I can see another 40 or more hours of hand sanding before getting to the point of putting on a barrier coat and then a fresh bottom--egads!

So, what experience have others had with this process, particularly as to costs? The boat is 25' at the water line and 10' at the beam. I guess it is approximately 250 sq ft with maybe 140% of that value to account for the full keel extending a good three feet below the hull or some where on the order of 350 sq ft of surface area. No doubt, there is a formula for exact calculation but for that consideration it seems likely that a contractor will charge on the basis of length rather than area.

Any recommendations on service providers?

Thanks,
Bob in Rockport, MA
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Old 06-04-2007
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I used this past weekend a 1.25 inch gasket scaper I bought at Sears. Wow, worked like a dream. I was able to remove many layers of paint in a short time. 3 x 9 foot area in about 1.5 hours. Better job then a palm sander I paid $9.95 for it also. What I am refering to can be found Here.
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Bob -- Blasting the bottom will save time, but it must be a reputable blaster who will not damage the gel coat-that usually means there will be residual bottom paint left that must be . . . sanded. The fill the pinholes- some yards broadly apply a filler "skim coat" consisting of thinned epoxy paste. After that hardens, it must be .......sanded. Then apply a coat of barrier paint. When that dries, it may reveal residual imperfections, which must be filled, and . . . sanded. When all the barrier coats are completed, prior to applying bottom (antifouling) paint, if you desire a smooth finish, the barrier paint must be ....sanded. To complete the smooth finish, the bottom paint should be sprayed on, and then burnished or wet-sanded by hand.
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I did that work for years, and in that area. I grew up in Danvers and Salem and Beverly and also lived in Lynn, Winthrop and East Boston, always on the water and always doing boat work. The soda blasting works good, but all boatyards require adequate tarping, ground cloths, and hazardous waste removal - which sometime is no more than sweeping it up and putting it in a dumpster, but more and more becomes putting the waste in a sealed drum and paying for disposal.

From your point of view, all the work you'll have left is writing a nice, big, fat, check that might cause your hand to tremble.

The next system is chemical stripping. This works excellent, as long as you use the right stripper - that 'soy' product works great - I think it's actually called 'Soystrip', but it still requires multiple applications and lots of arm work.

An old favorite method of mine is to gather four good friends, five good scrapers with plenty of extra blades, plenty of hamburgers, hotdogs, soft drinks and beer, and put 4 $100 bills in your pocket. Depending on the paint, the boat will be done in one day, and your friends will appreciate the food, beer and C-note. An old hard paint scrapes off pretty good, a fairly fresh ablative doesn't. All you'll have left is a little touch up and sanding to prep the surface for the barrier coat.

I have done many, many, many (sometimes I have nightmares and wake up orbiting an imaginary sander over my head) and the only easy way is to pay someone else to do it.

Hawk
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Hawk, that's a good one, "an imaginary sander over my head"!!!! The sore muscles I have today are not an imagination but ibuprofen handles it just fine.

The boat is in Mattapoisett and I am in Rockport so it is about 105 miles down there from here. It is not really cool with the local ordinances for me to "camp" on the boat overnight so the trips are a bit limited. As it happens, I am very new to the NE area and am still tied to a small ranch in south central Arkansas--the boat will be my next home when the ranch is sold. For now, no friends in Massachusetts to call on.

The prospect of a chemical stripper is somewhat appealing but I have not tried using a serious scraper other than a couple of putty knives I had along. I will revisit this project on Wednesday or Thursday this week with a serious paint scraper and see how much sanding can be eliminated that way.

I was not aware of all the changes in laws and stuff since my last sail boat in the 80's. In those days we just sanded them down and left the dust and debris to nature--it was before the EPA got teeth and put a curse on Al-Gore.
However, this new sander is much cleaner than the old Makita palm sander. The old Makita earned its keep and still works to this day but it is on the ranch and I am not so the Porter Cable 5" RO sander was the order of the day, has 8 holes to siphon on dust and collect it and connects to a shop vac hose with duct tape almost as well as the ventilation system in the space shuttle.

Meanwhile, I was kind of thinking that $900 or thereabouts might be a reasonable fee for soda blasting the job and at this point I have already handled about a quarter of the bottom with 60 grit and grunt labor.

Thanks for the responses and suggestions made by all,

Bob
Rockport, MA
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AA3NK-

I have a couple of people I can recommend for soda blasting. I'll look up the info and send it to you via PM. You're on Cape Cod, not Cape Ann. The vendor I am going to recommend for the Cape Cod/South Coast area is very reasonably priced.
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Bob - $900 ? Hardy Har Har - your not in Arkansas any more. There are several top yards in Marion, and Kingman Yacht Center and Parkers on the other side of Buzzards in Cataumet. Kingman does the work. Give them a call and talk with Jim. (508-563-7136 x 45). Usually yards blast them in the fall and do finish over winter or in the spring. These are all high quality yards maintaining nice boats (read that as Hinckleys in Marion and Bristols in Cataumet. they all have " paint sheds" but space is limited. No bargains here but high quality work. Welcome to New England.
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There are several companies in the New England area that do soda blasting and are far more reasonably priced than the boat yards you mention.
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I agree. Exactly my point ! He said the boat was in Marion and, as I understood him, he wanted someone in that area. Not the place to look for bargains so unless he will transport, he is parked in probably the most expensive area possible.
People do transport in to Kingman specifically for blast so they should be competitive to others within reasonable hauling distance. They also have the room to store outside and bring to shed for finish - big yard. One stop shopping. Not for the "do-it-yourself" guy although they do allow owners to do quite a bit as long as it is not EPA sensitive. Worth checking.
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Larry, the boat is at Brownell's yard in Mattapoisett. I saw Marion for the first time this past weekend. You are not understating the degree of obvious wealth afloat around that town! Sheesh, that must be inherited money because folks who are working for a living do not moor in Marion.

The other place that was kind of impressive though not often spoken of is New Bedford. There is a serious looking sea wall arrangement and what appears to be a tidy harbor for a large fleet of fishing vessels. The wind has been abundant and steady in that area, more breeze than I am looking for in a cold place.

Yep, I am not in Arkansas anymore--may it ever be so! I am a native born Louisiana boy and Arkansas was as close as I ever got to going back home when it still mattered. It does not matter anymore. I did Katrina and Rita and Audrey long before the Corps of Engineers let the berms go down on Vermilion Bay. Things change but not so much. I can knock the bottom of this boat today just like it was done for decades and decades. I am not a hostage or victim to extortion, just a hard ass old man who does what has to get done to get it done--much like others folks on this site!

Bristol! That was THE standard to achieve when I stumbled into sailing. Now, I will actually go to Bristol, RI and see what folks have talked about.

Who-the-heck ever decided that Annapolis was the 'sailing capitol of the world?' Obviously, some folks have not seen places beyond the Chesapeke Bay.

So, how much do you think it should cost to get the bottom soda blasted?

Bob
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