Friday, November 25, 2005

Sanding, part II

Power corrupts, and absolute power finishes the job quickly. The sanding cavalry arrived today in the form of a Ryobi belt sander. My lesson, as it turns out, is not only to avoid cheap tools, but also to use the right tool for the job. I thought I could get by with a "quarter-sheet palm orbital" sander. But these are smaller machines, more suitable for finishing and light sanding. What I really needed was a 3" x 18" belt sander to make quick work of sanding both sides of 12-foot long strakes. So a visit to the local home super store equipped me with both a belt sander and a Black & Decker version of the quarter sheet sander that I burned up on Wednesday. The belt sander did the job 100 times faster than the little orbital sander was doing before it quit. All it took from me was to grasp the subtleties of handling the beast. It removed material very quickly, and a deft hand was needed to avoid gouging or sanding completely through a layer of the mahogany plywood. Fortunately, I was able to quickly find the right balance of pressure between the front and rear handles in order to smooth the rough epoxy surface. In a little over an hour, both sides of all six strakes were brought to readiness for a second coat of epoxy, tomorrow's task. Total hours 8.00.


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