Is this a Good Sander for Bottom stripping - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 24 Old 04-25-2012 Thread Starter
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Is this a Good Sander for Bottom stripping

I have been looking at various orbital sanders and this one caught my eye with the comfort and 6 amps. It has less orbits per minute than the sanders that are 3 amps or less.

I am thinking this may be a good sander for tackling the job but don't really know how orbits per minute affects it all, or if it really makes a difference. A link is below. It is the DeWalt DWE6401DS

DWE6401DS 5 inch VS Disc Sander with Dust Shroud | DEWALT Tools

Any thoughts are appreciated!
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post #2 of 24 Old 04-25-2012
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Re: Is this a Good Sander for Bottom stripping

You'll probably get a few opinions on this, but I don't like the design of that sander. I'd rather have something like this-

D26456 5" Low Profile Random Orbit Sander | DEWALT Tools

It's lighter and easier to control. The quality of the paper used has more impact on how quickly and effectively the bottom can be stripped than the specs on the tool.

My experience with stripping bottom paint is that a 1/4 sheet sander loaded with quality sandpaper is the quickest and least tiring approach to take Cut down your sheets of paper, load them on the sander 3 at a time, and start sanding. As your sander clogs up, tear off a sheet and keep going. Buy a decent sander with wire bales and you're good to go.

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Re: Is this a Good Sander for Bottom stripping

Can't advice you on a specific sander with that said, relating to bljones comment. I used a 1/4 sheet sander this spring on the hull, it work fine. Keep in mind that some of the 1/4 sheet sanders have holes built into the pad and motor driven vacuum assist to feed the dust into the dust bag/shop vac attachment, a must IMHO. As well a 6 inch sander is approx 30-40 percent more sanding area over a 5 inch, something to keep in mind.
One last point this is a newish thread floating around here about the same topic, it was brought up a a drywall sanding screen does a good job. I have no personal experience with this method and can't find the thread, just something else to consider.

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Re: Is this a Good Sander for Bottom stripping

I have the smaller Dewalt sander. It works great, but I don't know about doing the entire bottom of a boat with it.

FYI, you can buy renconditioned DeWalt tools and save a little money: DEWALT D26456 5-in Low Profile Random Orbit Sander
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Re: Is this a Good Sander for Bottom stripping

That big DeWalt will quickly tire your arms out. Use the 5" Random Orbit - the DeWalt I have is a good one. I've used it all day for days on end and it keeps on ticking. Buy your disks by the box - the copper in bottom paint wears them down quickly so you'll need lots.

To fair things up after the coarse prep is done, use one of the boards like in the pictures - they are for autobody work and they really "flatten" or fair things up well. They use pre-made paper strips 18" long. You push them on the diagonal - big X motions. Next to one of those plywood 2 or 3 man longboards, they are the best fairing tool around.

Unless you are very near the gelcoat, remember to start with coarse paper - I start with 40 grit on the orbital and usually 60 when I get to the board. I find people are often afraid of using the coarse paper and start with 80 but it just wastes time & paper. For most of the "finished' bottoms I've see, they could have done better if they had ONLY used 40 grit.

I've tried the drywall screen sander thing - forget it. They are designed for sanding drywall mud which is extremely soft & easy to sand. I found them useless on a boats bottom.
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Re: Is this a Good Sander for Bottom stripping

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Originally Posted by sidney777 View Post
The Drywall Sander worked great for myself and other sailors.
Are you talking about those things that use a sort of metal screen as the sanding medium?

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Re: Is this a Good Sander for Bottom stripping

a drywall screen has some real advantages on SOFT ablative paint, but if you're removing hard anti-fouling forget it.

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Re: Is this a Good Sander for Bottom stripping

I plan on taking it down to the gelcoat and putting on new barrier coat.

Is the drywall sander effective on sanding through the existing barrier coat or just the existing ablative paint? I have called around and it is not too expensive to rent one.

I also read in another forum that someone used the drywall screen on a wooden handle and rinsed it in water frequently. Is that comprable to the vacum sander?

Thank you!
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post #9 of 24 Old 04-25-2012
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Re: Is this a Good Sander for Bottom stripping

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Originally Posted by follysurf View Post
I plan on taking it down to the gelcoat and putting on new barrier coat.

Is the drywall sander effective on sanding through the existing barrier coat or just the existing ablative paint? I have called around and it is not too expensive to rent one.

I also read in another forum that someone used the drywall screen on a wooden handle and rinsed it in water frequently. Is that comprable to the vacum sander?

Thank you!
1. Pay someone else to do it, it's a crappy job.

2. Why a new barrier coat ? whats wrong with the old one ?

3. How big a boat ?

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post #10 of 24 Old 04-25-2012
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Re: Is this a Good Sander for Bottom stripping

I you go the sander route, I recommend a 6" sander vs. a 5" The extra 1" increases your sanding area by 44%. I used a Ridgid 6" sander connected to my Shop Vac to take the hull to nearly bare glass. Now, I use it to prep for paint every spring. Takes 3 hours for a 38' hull.

6" Random Orbit Sander - RIDGID Professional Tools

I used 60 grit followed by 120 for the stripping as detailed below:
Victoria Bottom Stripping & Fairing
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