Multi-max Sanding Beneath Inwales


"Tiger Rag" back on the tidal Potomac
In Memoriam
Next to fiberglass removal, sanding to remove old paint or varnish is perhaps the restorers least favorite task. The worst of this are those final 2 square inches underneath the inwale and between ribs. I have tried many methods, and finally have something I think is worth passing along. No doubt many of you have a Dremel Multi-Max or similar tool in your shop. Dremel will sell you sanding attachments, as is shown by that 'black triangle' in the photo, but at 3" across, this is far too wide to get between ribs. I ground a tip off one so that it was 'in-between-ribs' wide, and this is useful, but doesn't solve all the problems, and creates a new one. It has a metal backing plate which will cut a groove into the side of a rib if you aren't really careful.

In trying to find a way to sand under the inwale and between ribs using the Multi-Max, I tried to glue sandpaper to the underside of a metal cutting blade. Despite trying several adhesives, the resulting sanding tool works great for 15 seconds, then gets hot, the glue looses its grip and the sandpaper falls off. Not acceptable. I glued a piece of pine to the blade and sandpaper it it, thinking the pine would serve to insulate the paper, but same result. Then I thought about the Stanley Surform tool, for which a type of ceramic abrasive plate could be bought (see hand tool in photo). But apparently Stanley has discontinued its manufacture, as I could only find them on Ebay used tool sites. I bought one, cut it with a hacksaw and carried two pieces and two worn-out steel cutter blades to a local weld shop. You can see the result in the photo. I've now used this tool and it works GREAT! This one shown in the photo is coarse, ~46 grit. However, it is still steel, so you have to be careful when working on old cedar, and just like sandpaper, the grit fills when you sand paint or varnish, but not as fast. I take the tool off the Multi-Max and soak it in acetone for an hour, brush it off with a brass 'toothbrush', and it works fine again. I suspect the abrasive plate will eventually wear smooth, particularly so if going over brass tacks with it. But for now, it's the best solution to the problem that I know. Now if we could just convince Dremel to manufacture them for us. Tom McCloud
STH72146crop Dremel.jpg
You might also try feathering disk adhesive with sandpaper.

In the days before hook and loop or peel and stick sanding pads and disks, this is what we used to temporarily bond plain sandpaper to big disk sander pads. It doesn't seem to be affected much by heat. It's a little more runny than toothpaste and you smear some on the paper and stick it to the sander. If it worked, it would allow you to remove dead sandpaper and stick a new piece on very quickly.
I DID use that feathering disc adhesive (along side of white glue, super glue, epoxy) during my testing period. It lets loose as the blade gets hot. However I will continue to use the disc adhesive for attaching sandpaper to curved wood attached to the Dremel tool for other purposes. Explaining that would be a different post. TM...