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Discussion Starter #1
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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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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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.

John
 

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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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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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Discussion Starter #8
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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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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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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The drywall sander, with the screen, and keeping it wet, cuts through bottom paint like no sandpaper I've ever used. No dust, excellent results, and a lot less work than an orbital sander. The big difference is the direction you sand. Instead of sanding longitudinal on the hull, you sand from the waterline toward the keel. It's a lot less strenuous and you're able to get into those tight curves where the keep meets the hull. Of course, some areas will obviously have to be done by hand because of tight access.

Good Luck,

Gary :cool:
 

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The drywall sander, with the screen, and keeping it wet, cuts through bottom paint like no sandpaper I've ever used. No dust, excellent results, and a lot less work than an orbital sander. The big difference is the direction you sand. Instead of sanding longitudinal on the hull, you sand from the waterline toward the keel. It's a lot less strenuous and you're able to get into those tight curves where the keep meets the hull. Of course, some areas will obviously have to be done by hand because of tight access.

Good Luck, Gary :cool:
Can you supporters of the drywall sander provide some pictures or links to what you are using? I tried the one pictured below and it was less than useless - it merely wore the "tooth" off the sanding screen.
 

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The one I saw used at the marina had a swiveling head--not fixed like the one in the photos. And, the guys using it dipped the head in a bucket of warm water every few minutes, which kept the screen from clogging up. The guy with the boat next to mine used one screen for each side of the boat--total of 2 screens for a 30-T Catalina. Before he started the hull had several fairly large chunks missing in the paint. When he finished those areas were smooth as silk. I think he purchased his at Home Depot, but I'm not sure. I'll ask him when I see him this coming weekend.

Cheers,

Gary :cool:
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Boatpoker:

1. I know it is gonna be a crappy job but boat is in my yard and it is very expensive to have someone come do it. I knew what I was getting into prior to having it hauled to my house and maybe it will be a good learning experience. (I'm sure I will gladly pay someone next go round though!)

2. There are blisters. So maybe I don't need to completley sand out the barrier coat, but I would like to get rid of the blisters and start fresh.

3. It is 1974 27' Catalina
 

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This would be the drywall sander Travlineasy er Gary is referring to I believe.
Molded Plastic Pole Sander
Thanks for that. It looks the same as the one I used except for the swiveling head feature. I guess I should try screens from a different manufacturer since others seem to have had good results with it, even though I didn't. I also didn't know about the water dip aspect - that might make all the difference.
 

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I just sanded my C&C 30 a week ago. I've done it with an orbital, a belt, a disc, you name it, and I'll never do that again-- too much work and too much mess. This time I wet sanded with a swiveling drywall sander (as shown above) on a pole with 100 grit screen. I hosed the bottom down then sanded. Every couple square feet I stopped, hosed off the "mush" and the sander and restarted. It was the easiest sanding job I've ever done. The boat is painted with Micron Extra, a soft ablative and I've always disliked the fact that even with a sponge roller or roll + tip, you can't get a smooth finish. I sanded it to smooth off the "wrinkles" in the old paint and to remove some of the buildup. The result was great- as smooth a finish as VC17. There was no dust and I did the whole boat in about 5-6 hours.
I did have to replace the sander- my first one was plastic and the piece that swivels broke. The next one I bought was all metal and worked well. I used about 8-10 screens for the whole project.
Contrary to one of the posts above, I found it easier for the most part to sand lengthwise- just physically easier. In a few areas sanding vertically was better but mostly for-and-aft. You can tell when it's time to stop and rinse everything-- a layer of mush builds up.
I don't know how it would work on a hard paint, but on an ablative, it's great.
 

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Depending on the state of the bottom, a two handed scraper may be needed first. Then I like the Ridgid (Home Depot about $130) 6" hook & loop 6 hole R.O. hooked up to a shop vac. Disks harder to get than 5", but much faster. Use 60 or 40 grit, depending. Amazone a good source.
 
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