Author Topic: Fence restoration project -RAS 115-04E sander comes to the rescue  (Read 3956 times)

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Offline Frank Pellow

  • Posts: 2748
  • Toronto, Ontario and Lake Pivabiska, Ontario
Last week at my daughter Kristel's house in Ottawa,  I took down an old fence, repaired most of the material, then rebuilt the fence.  The fence was at least 25 years old and, although built of good red cedar, the construction technique was the worst I have ever seen.  Here are a couple of "before" photos:

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Some of the wood at the ends of the boards was so deteriorated that some chickadees pecked away looking for embedded "food":

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But most of the cedar was in good shape so I shortened the boards to 54 inches (from 60 inches) and the posts to 60 inches and put them all in the garage to dry.  It had been raining quite hard the day before I started work and it continued to rain off and on for three days.

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The old posts had been embedded in concrete but the cement was well below grade so about 10 inches of post had been exposed to the moist earth and that portion had rotted all the way through on some posts and most of the way through on others.  This time I chose to drive fence "spikes" into the ground avoiding the locations of the underground concrete.

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After waiting a day, I picked some of the driest boards and started to clean them up using my Rotex 150 sander.  But, the switch on the sander started acting up and I could only run it holding the switch in the ON position.  This was very awkward to do and, even then, the sander frequently cut out.  What to do?  I have  another Rotex 150 sander but it was 400 kilometres away in Toronto.  I did have my RAS 115.04 E sander with me but the brush inserts that are used as part of its dust collection would get in the way on the large 5.5 inch wide surface of the boards.  I decided to remove the brushes, don a mask (missing in the photo below), and let the dust collect on everything:

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Using Saphir P80 abrasives, it took me about 5 minutes to clean up each of about 100 fence boards.  I cleaned the abrasive's frequently using a block of crepe, but some of the removed gunk clogged up the paper anyway so I ended up going through 9 pieces of the abrasive.

Anyway, the boards cleaned up nicely and I was able to rebuild the fence (this time, properly):

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It needs another coat of stain, a gate, and some small tops on the posts.  I will make the gate and the tops and install them the next time I visit Ottawa.

  
« Last Edit: May 28, 2013, 08:54 AM by Frank Pellow »
Cheers,   
               Frank (Festool connoisseur)

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Offline Peter Halle

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  • Posts: 12003
  • MacGyver - My boy 2010 - 2019 RIP
Gotta love the RAS!  How long did it take to clean up Frank?

Peter

Offline Frank Pellow

  • Posts: 2748
  • Toronto, Ontario and Lake Pivabiska, Ontario
Peter, I could not believe the amount of dust in my hair.  I applied shampoo three times in order to remove it all.

That took care of me, but I must confess that I left all the dust in the garage for my daughter to clean up.  [embarassed]
Cheers,   
               Frank (Festool connoisseur)

Offline greg mann

  • Posts: 1866
Those boards cleaned up like new! Did they have paint on them or just stain? I think this type of work is ideal for the RAS over the Rotex. It is still the best kept secret in the Festool line. BTW, there are two types of brushes for the RAS, nylon or something equivalent and metal wire. I find that I can use the RAS on large flat surfaces with the non-metallic brushes and they will bend enough to not be an issue. I think I would have tried the DC even without the brushes. Perhaps you did?

As far as the shampoo goes the directions always tell you to use it twice anyway.  [wink]
Greg Mann
Oakland, Michigan

Offline Frank Pellow

  • Posts: 2748
  • Toronto, Ontario and Lake Pivabiska, Ontario
Greg, it was just stain and a lot of the stain had worn off already leaving rough wood on the surface that could easily be removed once dry.  But, it was wet out and the wood did not all fully dry in the garage in the time that I had available.  That`s what tended to clog up the abrasive.

If I ever have a situation similar to this again, I will try the dust collection as you suggest.
Cheers,   
               Frank (Festool connoisseur)

Offline Peter Halle

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  • Posts: 12003
  • MacGyver - My boy 2010 - 2019 RIP
About a month ago I had to sand some steps.  I started off with my RAS and ran out of abrasives with me.  Rather than driving 40 miles I opted to use my high speed grinder instead.  After that experience I appreciate my RAS even more!

Peter