Detail Sander Information for Boat Wood Finish Removal

small drift boat
  • 4-80 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 0-100

Although detail sanders are generally used for smaller projects, they can actually be useful for larger, more sensitive jobs such as finishing your wood boat. The intricacies with wooden boat manufacturing make this tool very useful, especially if you are refinishing a hand-crafted boat.

1. Choices

Although using a sander to remove the finish from your wooden boat isn’t the only option that you have, a detail sander may be the best choice for novices. Using a detail sander will take you a little more time than if you use chemicals to strip the finish but you will ultimately get a cleaner and smoother finish.

2. Fine Grit Sandpaper

Before you bring out your powered detail sander, you will need to start the sanding process by hand. Use sandpaper with a fine grit and begin at one end of the boat and move to the other before sanding on the other side. Sand in small circles and only sand in one area at a time. Once you have completed a small area, move to the next and repeat the process.

3. Remove the Paint and Finish

bow of a boat on the water

After you have given your boat a quick hand-buffing, use your detail sander to begin removing any paint or finish you don't want on the boat. In the same manner you sanded by hand, begin with the power sander and work from one end to the other in small sections. Before touching the power sander to the finish of the boat, be certain you have installed a fine grit attachment so you will not harm the integrity of the boat's frame.

When you have chosen the correct sandpaper, place the detail sander onto a small section of the boat and turn the power on. Cordless detail sanders work the best for projects located on or near water because of their versatility and safety features.

4. Sanding Procedure

Move the detail sander in a small circular motion and follow the bend of the boat without lifting the sander between sections. Once you have completed a section, shut the sander off and lift the sander from the wood after it has quit oscillating. Begin a new section by placing the sander on the wood and turning the power on. Repeat this process until you have sanded an entire side of the boat. Begin sanding the other side of the boat and follow the same process.

After you have finished with the power sander, you should check your work and sand any spots you have missed. Use the same fine grit, hand sandpaper that you used previously to buff out any mistakes or irregularities.