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Thread: flexible sander for boat hull

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    Default flexible sander for boat hull

    i have a sailboat hull i need to fair, and then paint. so it will require quite a bit of sanding of the fairing compound. i've been down this road with powerboats, but they are mostly flat sections, so pretty easy to sand with a DA. the sailboat hull is not quite as round as sanding a basketball, but very rounded from back to front and top to bottom.

    so I guess at least I need a very flexible longboard, but ideally something powered? any suggestions? thanks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Andyk View Post
    i have a sailboat hull i need to fair, and then paint. so it will require quite a bit of sanding of the fairing compound. i've been down this road with powerboats, but they are mostly flat sections, so pretty easy to sand with a DA. the sailboat hull is not quite as round as sanding a basketball, but very rounded from back to front and top to bottom.

    so I guess at least I need a very flexible longboard, but ideally something powered? any suggestions? thanks.
    There are a couple of different tools in our warehouse. The first pictured below is a flexible board that sells for $35 plus shipping. Below that is flexible blocks that would cost you $25 plus shipping. Neither of these are on our online store and to order you would need to call 609-859-3670


    Flexible Sanding Board


    Flexible Sanding Blocks

  3. #3
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    Thanks. That is what I was afraid you were going to tell me. Nothing electric or pneumatic out there ? It’s a thirty foot boat, my back is starting to hurt just thinking about this.

    I’ve seen a ‘flexi-sander’ available, but it costs more than i spent on this boat.

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    a long board is the best way to fair that hull. it should go fairly quickly if you use that lightweight fairing compound. my sailboat is 30 feet also. i did some fairing on it and it went pretty well. my son works for a high end yacht builder here and their painters use long boards too. i wouldn't go more than 24 inches as it's too much to handle easily. there's some that have tension rods in them to adjust the flexibility, but i used mostly dura blocks as they're pretty inexpensive.
    i shot awlgrip on mine and it's held up well for more than 10 years (15 maybe? i'd have to check my records) it takes special care though, and can't be spot repaired. they're pushing the awlcraft now, it's essentially the same as urethane car paint. i would consider using that so you can cut and buff down the road when it starts to fade. i also did clear coat over the color to help it last. as you know the marine environment is harsh, and dark colors like i did don't hold up as long. i believe the clear helped a ton.
    it'll be hard work to be sure, especially if you're doing it by yourself.
    b marler

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    I would like to spray awlgrip or similar, but I’m outside at a ‘clean’ marina, so I can’t imagine they would be thrilled with me showing up with a compressor and a gun. Looks like I’ll be rolling, and maybe tipping.

    Supposedly Alexseal has a paint and additive that looks pretty decent with just rolling - won’t look as good as a proper spray application - but the good news is that the peeling paint that is on there now looks so horrible, so as long as I do a somewhat decent prep job, it’s going to look a thousand times better than it does today.

    Apologies if I should have put this thread in the boating category, didn’t notice that one until after i posted.
    Last edited by Andyk; 03-17-2021 at 12:32 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Andyk View Post
    I would like to spray awlgrip or similar, but Iím outside at a Ďcleaní marina, so I canít imagine they would be thrilled with me showing up with a compressor and a gun. Looks like Iíll be rolling, and maybe tipping.

    Supposedly Alexseal has a paint and additive that looks pretty decent with just rolling - wonít look as good as a proper spray application - but the good news is that the peeling paint that is on there now looks so horrible, so as long as I do a somewhat decent prep job, itís going to look a thousand times better than it does today.

    Apologies if I should have put this thread in the boating category, didnít notice that one until after i posted.
    no worries about forum placement. if they decide it needs moving they'll do it.
    if you're going to roll and tip you probably don't need to spend too much time fairing. (maybe)
    i haul out in a clean marine facility too. they are usually willing to let you spray if you make a good enclosure around the boat. i've done this a few times with good result.i make little brackets so i can attach 2x2's on the toe rail to extend out a couple of feet and put another to the ground. add a few pieces to connect them together, cover with like 6 mil plastic and there you go. handling the overspray is a little tough, as well as the humidity inside if the sun's shining, but it works. i've even done this in the winter using a construction heater to keep things warm. i actually think it's better in the winter cause there's fewer bugs flying around.
    both awlgrip and alexseal have brushing thinners as well as spraying thinners, so you really can use whatever you want. something to consider, if you use the alexseal or awlcraft you can wet sand it flat after you roll and tip and then compound it to a really great finish. the only problem with that is that some clean marine facilities insist on vacuum sanding. you'd need to work that out.
    good luck whatever you decide.
    b marler

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    took a little longer than I had hoped, but three coats of alexseal 501 have been rolled on. Sanded after the second coat. Looks pretty good, especially for being rolled. I probably could have done the three coats with a quart of paint, I bought gallon. otherwise no major problems.

    But there is some texture in the paint. And half dozen or so areas that need some work - most of them from big ass bugs that felt the need to land on the wet paint, one or two drips, but otherwise good - beyond the texture.

    Curious what my options are for sanding/buffing. I did a large gelcoat repair on a boat in my garage a few years ago, and was able to mostly sand it with trizact 1000/1500/2000 with DA, and very little buffing work with compound, if I recall. But I don't think I'll be able to get my compressor to the marina, so it's going to be electric, or by hand. And it's a 28ft hull, so sanding the entire hull by hand will take forever. Is it possible to wet sand with an electric sander, or will I be electrocuting myself?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Andyk View Post
    took a little longer than I had hoped, but three coats of alexseal 501 have been rolled on. Sanded after the second coat. Looks pretty good, especially for being rolled. I probably could have done the three coats with a quart of paint, I bought gallon. otherwise no major problems.

    But there is some texture in the paint. And half dozen or so areas that need some work - most of them from big ass bugs that felt the need to land on the wet paint, one or two drips, but otherwise good - beyond the texture.

    Curious what my options are for sanding/buffing. I did a large gelcoat repair on a boat in my garage a few years ago, and was able to mostly sand it with trizact 1000/1500/2000 with DA, and very little buffing work with compound, if I recall. But I don't think I'll be able to get my compressor to the marina, so it's going to be electric, or by hand. And it's a 28ft hull, so sanding the entire hull by hand will take forever. Is it possible to wet sand with an electric sander, or will I be electrocuting myself?
    if the sander is double insulated there shouldn't be a problem. you're just misting the surface, not dunking the sander. a bigger issue might be the paint residue in the runoff. if your boat is in the water there will be some runoff in the marina. if you're in the yard, you'll have to deal with it somehow. it's inevitable that some of it ends up on the ground when you sand.
    b marler

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    instead of trizact you might use finishing film instead. it's used dry.
    b marler

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andyk View Post
    took a little longer than I had hoped, but three coats of alexseal 501 have been rolled on. Sanded after the second coat. Looks pretty good, especially for being rolled. I probably could have done the three coats with a quart of paint, I bought gallon. otherwise no major problems.

    But there is some texture in the paint. And half dozen or so areas that need some work - most of them from big ass bugs that felt the need to land on the wet paint, one or two drips, but otherwise good - beyond the texture.

    Curious what my options are for sanding/buffing. I did a large gelcoat repair on a boat in my garage a few years ago, and was able to mostly sand it with trizact 1000/1500/2000 with DA, and very little buffing work with compound, if I recall. But I don't think I'll be able to get my compressor to the marina, so it's going to be electric, or by hand. And it's a 28ft hull, so sanding the entire hull by hand will take forever. Is it possible to wet sand with an electric sander, or will I be electrocuting myself?
    AirVantage makes good electric sanders but I'm not sure how they would work with water and they run around $400.


  11. #11
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    Boat is sitting up on stands, not in the water yet. but hopefully soon.
    I had to buy a vacuum to use for all of the prior sanding, but with wet sanding not sure that would really work? But whenever I sand ( or paint) there are felt cloths on the ground, so that would probably take care of any runoff. I've been using a 6" random orbit sander so far. Think that will be enough to get the paint flattened, or do I need the speed of something like the Airvantage? With the random orbital, I was able to flatten out before the final coat with 400 grit in about an hour.

    20210518_200712.jpg

  12. #12
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    The 6" orbital should do the trick.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Len View Post
    AirVantage makes good electric sanders but I'm not sure how they would work with water and they run around $400.

    i believe you could use the airvantage electric for wet sanding without worry. they have converters and send d.c. current to the motor under your palm.
    i see the generation2 sanders have the power supply built into the handle. presumably well sealed, but i think i'd prefer the generation one with the separate power supply.
    b marler

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    Quote Originally Posted by Andyk View Post
    Boat is sitting up on stands, not in the water yet. but hopefully soon.
    I had to buy a vacuum to use for all of the prior sanding, but with wet sanding not sure that would really work? But whenever I sand ( or paint) there are felt cloths on the ground, so that would probably take care of any runoff. I've been using a 6" random orbit sander so far. Think that will be enough to get the paint flattened, or do I need the speed of something like the Airvantage? With the random orbital, I was able to flatten out before the final coat with 400 grit in about an hour.
    the difference in your sander and the airvantage will be the throw. your sander will get it flat, but it's also harder to buff out the scratch marks it leaves behind. with a boat though, it won't be as noticeable as it would be in a car. i know with mine, i don't see many of the flaws it has from the dock, but when i come up on it in the skiff i see them all.
    anyway, the short throw sander scratch is easier to buff to a good shine. is it worth the 400 bones for one job? that's up to you.
    b marler

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    Quote Originally Posted by bmarler View Post
    the difference in your sander and the airvantage will be the throw. your sander will get it flat, but it's also harder to buff out the scratch marks it leaves behind. with a boat though, it won't be as noticeable as it would be in a car. i know with mine, i don't see many of the flaws it has from the dock, but when i come up on it in the skiff i see them all.
    anyway, the short throw sander scratch is easier to buff to a good shine. is it worth the 400 bones for one job? that's up to you.
    I have some of the AirVantage electric sanders in the store. You can find them at the link below.


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