Starting my Constellation 30 project

Discussion in 'All Things Boats & Boating' started by AJAX, Nov 20, 2010.

  1. AJAX
    Joined: Oct 2010
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    AJAX New Member

    Hey guys, quick question. I plan on completely stripping the hull before I give her a fresh coat of paint. I've heard alot of different methods of doing this, and that some of them can permanently damage the hull.

    Oscillating Sander? Orbital sander? I heard a belt sander would dig into the wood to much.


    Oh, and yes I am completely aware of the enormous amount of time I will have in this.

    Thanks for your help,


    -Alex Jackson-
     
  2. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Material removal is more then one tool, it's about the approach. There are two basic approaches the hammer or the sponge, each has good and bad points.

    The hammer approach uses brute force to quickly remove material. A belt sander, big angle grinder or disk sander (7" and up) with 24 grit, media blasting, etc. all can be considered the "quick" way of getting things done. They lack finesse and can remove way more material then you desire in a short time, which makes them dangerous in the hands of a novice.

    The sponge approach wipes the surface. fairly easily, removing small bits of material in an easily controlled way.

    Personally, I use both approaches. Initially I'll "hack" at the surface, removing the bulk of the materiel and the belt sander is very effective, especially in skilled hands, then I switch to "kinder" methods. A "duel action" orbital sander will be most helpful.

    You may want to consider media blasting, particularly soda ash or dry ice. You don't want to hurt the wood, which is very easy with most media blasting materials, but some blasting media is "soft" enough to work very effectively and quickly. It's something you'll want to practice at, before taking it to the hull, but you can do the whole hull in a day when you've developed the necessary tool skills.
     
  3. alan white
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    alan white Senior Member

    While sanding is often considered by the beginner to be easy, it actually takes a real skill to use a group of sanders to do the job. It also takes some experience to know when to not sand. Belt sanders do remove a lot of material fast and they therefore require (along with disc sanders) the most finesse. Most brutal tools, most finesse.
    Beginners tend to use much lighter grits while pros go with giant boulders glued to paper, which is probably a good thing. In other words, as a neophyte you are probably going to use higher grit numbers than you will once you're a better sander. As well you should.
    I remember carving a nose block for an old Chris Craft from mahogany and the block was nightmarishly expensive. I used a disc sander with something like 20 grit and I progressed to rasp, spokeshave, and then cabinet scraper followed by 220 grit. The whole job took very little time but the owner and friends watching held their collective breath through the whole job. They just couldn't believe the crudeness of my methods and yet how refined the results.
    Yet, if I saw them doing the job the same way I'd stop them and suggest a slower approach probably using rasps and hand sanding.
    This is just the reality of shaping woodwork. You don't use the same method you will end up using once you develop a real feel for the tools and wood.
    So be conservative and feel things a lot with your hands, which never lie, Fingers can feel the most miniscule unfairness or feel a 1/1000 inch piece of dust on an otherwise perfectly clean surface. It's the hands that have to be trained. This is not something you read in a book.
     
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  4. michael pierzga
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    michael pierzga Senior Member

    The random orbital sander is the yacht refinishers powertool of choice . Purchase a good one and a good selection of quality sanding paper in various grits. 80 grit is the one for serious paint prep removal.

    Fien and Festool are pro tools that get work done.

    I dont know what a " Constellation " is but if its wood and you must remove many layers of paint familiarize yourself with how a heat gun or blow torch is used to soften and remove paint.
     
  5. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    Random orbital sanders are good for finish work. They will not fair the hull. Also, they are several hardness of backing pads for different applications. There are many other tools and techniques to use. The sander is only good for certain jobs. Paint remover would be a good option. Burning the paint is the traditional way, but it takes experience not to set your boat on fire.
     
  6. AJAX
    Joined: Oct 2010
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    AJAX New Member

    Thanks for the advice, it's a 1968 Chris Craft Constellation 30, heres a picture. Yes it is wood, double layered mohogany.


    [​IMG]


    I'm going to start today! Is that torch/heat gun a much easier way to remove paint? And if so would a beginer such as myself be able to learn it quick enough so as to not hurt my hull.
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2010
  7. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    I like to remove paint with heat because, unlike removers, it doesn't leave weird chemicals on the wood surface. Sanding takes off material, which is a bad thing. Heat guns are safer than torches, but you still have to be careful. You can use a stiff putty knife and scrapers (with wooden handles, the plastic ones melt) to remove the softened/blistered paint.
     
  8. AJAX
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    AJAX New Member

    So if my assumptions are correct I aquire a heat gun. Then proceed to warm up a section of the hull until it blisters then scrape it off with a scaper? That simple but with finesse?
     
  9. michael pierzga
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    michael pierzga Senior Member

    Best tool...heat gun. Dont burn up your boat !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Just kidding...your more likely to burn up your work overalls ! Do be careful...paint softens at a low temp...dont overheat and scorch your wood...go slow and concentrate. I like to round the sharp corners of the paint scrapper to avoid scratches in the wood. Keep your paint scraper perfectly scarp by going over its cutting edge with a file as you work. Always work "with" the grain of the wood .
    also a heat gun only has a small output, here at the shipyard they use a blowtorch for big areas, then the gun for details.

    Heat the paint..it bubbles, scrape it off..simple. dont get greedy and try to burn 100 percent of the paint off...finish off paint removal with your sander and 80 grit. Handy to have a can of chemical remover for details.

    The paint removal will go fast. I just watched a 4 man crew of pro's strip...burn...the paint off a wooden 20 meter vessel in a bit more than three days. They use a special attachment to there blow torch rig. Ask your commercial, not boaty, paint supplier for his recommendations.

    By the way..why are you removing the old paint ? and remember to scribe mark your waterline and any detail paint lines before stripping or they may become lost.

    Good tools..medium price...http://www.milwaukeetool.com/tools/specialty-tools/heat-guns/speciality-heat-guns
     
  10. AJAX
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    AJAX New Member

    I just purchased this Constellation and the paint is good in some spots but needs work and is chipping in others. It hasn't been in the water for 10 years. Some guys around here said to make sure that the finished product looks good I need to strip all of the pain thats on it now.
     
  11. michael pierzga
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    michael pierzga Senior Member

    When paint is in good shape...generally tight. ....I leave it alone and repair defects. Its very much work to strip and re fair a hull. Only you can tell if its neccasary.
     
  12. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    A very important thing is to at least prime as soon as possible. Boats that are stripped and left bare end up deteriorating fast. It is a common mistake.
     
  13. AJAX
    Joined: Oct 2010
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    AJAX New Member

    I will be repainting it as soon as possible after I'm done stripping it, the boat is currently being stored inside won't this help?
     
  14. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    I'll second the question of why are you stripping the paint? Generally it's not necessary and the advise you've gotten maybe not be as valid as you might think. There aren't a lot of boat restorers around and everyone that's painted a front porch isn't a painting expert. I guess my point is, be careful who you's advise you follow, because they don't have to pay for any misadventures as a result of it, you do. The rule of thumb is, inspect the paint, remove loose, chipped or flaking material, feather in repairs, then paint again.
     

  15. AJAX
    Joined: Oct 2010
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    AJAX New Member

    The guy that told me this has the same exact boat as me, and he did all the work on his himself. It looks great now!

    But you guys sound like some real experts on the topic.

    Step one complete:
    Heat Gun purchased, starting later today.
     
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