A sodablasting writeup. Lessons learned. - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 07-01-2009
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A sodablasting writeup. Lessons learned.

Hi all,

As some may recall I elected to go forward with having my boat sodablasted. Nothing all that unique except I took a gamble and had the guy sodablast the topsides, deck, and spars also. It was an interesting outcome. The bottom looked great. Clearly sodablasting is the way to go with paint removal. The bottom is polished smooth with almost no trace of the old hard anti-fouling paint remaining. It also exposed some old repairs and a few patched thru-hulls I was unaware of. I really allows you to see 'what your work'n with' One of the patches was poorly done and beginning to delaminate. Honestly it may have feathered with sanding and been missed.

The topsides are a different story. While the sodablasting removed a lot of the loose paint I was concerned about, it did not really polish the surface like I would have liked. It tended to flake the paint leaving rough edges. Where the blasting guy got a little carried away it did etch into the glass some...not as bad as a full sandblast but definitely rough. The nonskid appears to have laughed off the process as the paint is still quite intact. Bottom line, it would have been better to save the money and just sand... I am going to have to sand anyway thanks to the roughness of the finish.

Finally the spars. Probably the biggest disaster. I have an aluminum mast and boom with lots of stainless hounds and other hardware permanently attached. The factory paint was quite badly chipped and there was some corrosion around some of the spreader mounts. I gave the go ahead for a gentle sandblast to remove all traces of paint and corrosion so that the structural integrity could be assessed. Well, the integrity was fine. all the corrosion was simply surface stuff. However, the sandblasting tore the SH*T out of the aluminum and frosted the stainless. My previously polished stainless hounds and spreaders are now a brushed nickel look. The aluminum has the texture of 100 grit sandpaper. I'm now worried if the sandblasting has weakened the spars...certainly any surface hardening has been removed...although some metal ARE hardened by blasting with beads.... Not really sure, I just know that the stainless now looks like crap and there is going to have to be some serious layers or primer and sanding to smooth out the aluminum.

Bottom line.
sodablasting the bottom... CLEARLY superior to other methods. Did an awesome job.

Blasting the topsides... Useless. you will have to sand it all out anyway. Save your money.

Sandblasting the spars... CRITICAL error. May have destroyed/damaged them. Will require HOURS of refurb and painting. Stainless hardware permanently scarred. Better off chemically stripping.

Hope this helps others when debating similar work in the future.
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Old 07-01-2009
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Where did you have your work done? I am in St. Petersburg and would like to have my bottom sodablasted. What was the approximate $ per foot?
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Old 07-01-2009
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I don't know of anyone who has sodablasted the topsides or spars of a boat only the bottom.
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Old 07-01-2009
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I really wish you had asked about sodablasting the deck and sandblasting the spars prior to doing so...

Sandblasting aluminum is usually a mistake, as is sandblasting stainless steel used in a marine environment. Generally, you want as smooth and fine a surface on the stainless, as scratches, like you get with sandblasting encourage crevice corrosion. Sand is too abrasive a medium for either material IMHO, at least in a marine environment.

As for sodablasting the topsides and deck... It is generally a mistake to do so, at least from everyone I've spoken with, including the guy who did the sodablasting on my boat. I am surprised that the sodablasting vendor didn't warn you about doing so....

BTW, any form of air-blasting media can generally etch or damage the surface if not used properly. However, some media, like soda, corncob or walnut shell, will tend to be far less aggressive than sand.
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Quote:
I don't know of anyone who has sodablasted the topsides or spars of a boat only the bottom.
Probably for all the reasons I have discovered. That's why I wrote this thread to prevent others from going down the same path.
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Old 07-01-2009
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Thanks for the public service announcemnent Six...hopefully this will save others some grief down the road. Sorry you had this issue.
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Old 07-02-2009
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Well

When i painted my mast is was NECESSARY to lightly sandblast many areas like the welds and other tight spots that could NOT be cleaned well enough with paint stripper to allow painting


You have to random orbit sand with 80 grit no matter how you removed the paint or the new paint will FAIL and you need to be OCD about it and also blow out the mast with AIR or the tiny dirt stuff will find its way onto your finish paint

Now i had removed ALL the hardware and wires BEFORE
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If a dirty bottom slows you down what do you think it does to your boat
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