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  #31  
Old 08-22-2012
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Re: Power tool for sanding toe rail

Quote:
are you doing your annual maintenance coat with clear only ?
Nah. I can't bring myself to do it. I use Cetol Natural. I figure that the slight coloring gives it some extra UV protection. I've used the clear on the swim ladder treads and it looked ok but wasn't that much nicer than Cetol natural. Gloss finish on the treads isn't a really great idea so I don't do that anymore. Meanwhile I have a can of Gloss getting rusty. I can't bring myself to throw it away. What a quandary.

I'm not a full time professional woodworker. But I do commissions if the project interests me.

Mark Maiocco Woodworking and Design It's not about matching the carpet ....
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Old 08-23-2012
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Re: Power tool for sanding toe rail

I've only started on my toe rail with a scraper, so perhaps I don't have a say here. However, I keep a blade sharpening stone nearby and use it - often. When the scraper is sharp, the vanish comes off with a reasonable amount of effort.
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about it. Join the conversation. Advice welcome!
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  #33  
Old 10-04-2012
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Re: Power tool for sanding toe rail

Thanks to all those who made suggestions regarding the toe-rail. I eventually tried out a heat-gun, an oscillating sander and cabinet scrapers, along with the usual paint scrapers and sand paper. I thought I would share my experiences and thoughts with you.

First, a word about the job itself. The toe-rail on my boat consists of a top piece, or cap, about 2 inches wide and ˝ inch thick, and an outboard piece about 2.5 inches wide. I’ll call this the rub-rail, though it isn’t really. This means there are three different surfaces to deal with
an inboard vertical section of ˝ an inch,
a top, horizontal section of about 2 inches and
an outboard vertical section of ~3 inches (cap + rub-rail)

The problem with the outboard vertical section is that sometimes the cap sticks out a bit from the rub-rail and sometimes it’s flush. Furthermore, the rub-rail sometimes sticks out from the hull and in some places is actually recessed a bit from the lip of the hull/deck joint. Nowhere is there a nice, flat vertical surface to clean.

Now my experiences with the different approaches. I’ve broken the rest into 3 messages that people can comment on the different approaches separately.
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Re: Power tool for sanding toe rail

Heat gun with putty knife and paint scrapers. This worked very well. The heat gun softens the varnish and sometimes causes it to bubble and lift. Scraping it with a hand-held paint scraper is very easy and can be done very carefully with no force against the wood, hence no sudden slips. When the surface was nice and flat, I used a 2” scraper. When it was not, I used a smaller, 1”, scraper. I found it effective on the outboard, vertical surface because I didn’t have to worry about the uneven joint of the cap and the rub-rail, or the jutting sections of the hull.
However, what ELSE was being heated? I wondered about caulking etc. overheating and becoming weakened. I don’t think this happened but it was impossible to tell. The work is somewhat dangerous in that metal scrapers, putty knives etc. and metal parts of the boat attached to or near the toe rail retain their heat for a while and can burn you. I lightly burned my cheek (the one on the face!), of all places, with a small putty knife when extricating myself from the shrouds and lifelines after bending myself into pretzel trying to reach a difficult part of the wood near the jib sheet traveller. The plastic handle on one scraper melted. I had to adjust my method after I saw this. Also dangerous because you are using 120 V AC near the water. Don’t drop your tool, and, especially, don’t fall in with it. I always feel nervous using AC electric tools on the dock or boat.
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Re: Power tool for sanding toe rail

Oscillating tool with triangular sanding pad (like a Fein or a Dremel). This actually worked well too. The small tool is easy to handle and the motion does not lead to sudden slips. It will slip off narrow surfaces and so when I did the inside part of the toe rail I put a piece of metal flashing in a gap between the word trim and the deck. The tool can result in too much wood being removed, though. The key is to check often (wipe and look) and not to use any pressure at all, just the weight of the machine itself. That uneven cap/rub rail joint created a problem since I didn’t want to sand everything down so that the two parts became flush because I might sanding away the last remaining caulking between the two. Selecting the right grade of sand paper is important, obviously. See previous post for the danger related plug-in power tools.
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Re: Power tool for sanding toe rail

Cabinet scrapers: When the surface was easy to get at and not concave or convex, a cabinet scraper worked very well IF I set it up the “hook” just right. When I got everything right, the old Cetol just peeled off in lovely shavings. However, I had trouble with setting up the ‘hook’. Even when I thought I had done everything the same at either end of a scraper, sometimes one end was far more effective than the other. Also, I think the scrapers I got were too thick. I purchased a couple of 1 mm scrapers from Lee Valley because the website suggested these were the right thing for paint scraping. I think thinner would have been better because I could have flexed the scraper a little more when doing slightly concave or convex surfaces. The coaming covers in particular were a problem. They looked like nice flat surfaces but it was clear from the way the shavings came off that they were more undulating than flat. The larger scrapers were no good on the outboard vertical surfaces where the cap and the rub rail were not flush and the hull lip extended past the rub-rail. I used ‘mini’ scrapers here, occasionally, with some success.
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Re: Power tool for sanding toe rail

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When I got everything right, the old Cetol just peeled off in lovely shavings.
Yup. That's how it's supposed to work. I tend to make specialty scrapers in whatever profile that I need. Sometimes, it's a concave 1" scraper or 1" convex. The variations are infinite. I tend to use a convex blade for 80% of what I scrape, rotating it toward the edge if I need a fine line.

Quote:
a cabinet scraper worked very well IF I set it up the “hook” just right. When I got everything right, the old Cetol just peeled off in lovely shavings. Even when I thought I had done everything the same at either end of a scraper, sometimes one end was far more effective than the other.
If you stick at it, you will be able to set the hook reliably. It's just a matter of practice and I had the same problem at first and nearly abandoned the tool.

The old woodworkers like my grandfather could fly through a job like a toerail. Both my father and grandfather warned me away from exclusive power tool use - many jobs are wrecked by power tools in inexperienced hands. The quiet and efficiency of a well tuned scraper, like a well tuned plane, is a thing of beauty. And you have total control.
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  #38  
Old 10-05-2012
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Re: Power tool for sanding toe rail

A little late to the party here.

Have you ever walked down a dock and seen a varnish job on a boat that just looked incredibly perfect? They were done by hand. Scrapers, then course sandpaper followed by fine sandpaper. No cheating, if you want a quality job, and everyone can tell.

Machines can and will subtly contort a rounded edge or put a wave in a long flat line.
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  #39  
Old 10-05-2012
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Re: Power tool for sanding toe rail

Black and |Decker makes a small vibrating sander with small flat finger like attachments, concave and convex attachments also which is used in sanding spindles in funiture ect. might do the job.
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Re: Power tool for sanding toe rail

Having tried most of the methods discussed here, my preference is for stripper/scraper followed by light bleaching where necessary and then sanding lightly. The pic of the stern cap rail is cetol light with gloss overcoat. The seat is the older original cetol with gloss overcoat. I'm slowly redoing everything in the cetol light with gloss topcoat.
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