Todd’s Exotica.

Written by on November 1, 2011 in Decks and Porches, Wood Snobbery with 5 Comments

Exterior Paint Prep with Festool Sanders

Today, Todd was gracious enough to let me tag along as the oil finisher on a mahogany deck that he has been carefully cleaning up for a pre-winter maintenance coat in a harsh, lakeside exposure. We chose to use Festool sanders with extraction on this deck, rather than pressure washing. We also use this approach a lot in maintaining ipe decks.

I have applied penetrating oils to many species of exotic woods on custom lakeside decks over the years. This particular application stood out as exceptional for me because of Todd’s use of dust extraction during the sanding portion of the prep. Todd ran a couple of Festool sanders…the RO125 Rotex in gear driven mode, complemented by the Festool DX93 for the details that the RO125 could not get into, both running into a Festool extractor.

This was another case where the use of Festool dust extraction yielded a richer oil penetration and more correct wood grain representation because there is virtually no dust being ground into the open grain of the wood during sanding. Without proper extraction, not only do the person sanding, the tool, and all surrounding surfaces get covered in a thin layer of dust, but the finish itself can be cloudy.

In the video, you can see the layer of grime being removed by Todd and the RO125. Todd’s abrasive selection for the task made it very economical in disc mileage, effective and visually pleasing. I was especially impressed when Todd told me that he had grabbed his abrasives out of the “lightly used” box at the shop, and they made short work of this deck.

This is a great example of how on small decks, it is sometimes more efficient to prep by sanding than by pressure washing. Many times, after pressure washing, we have to sand anyways. And the reintroduction of moisture into wood that was originally damaged by moisture and weather seems like not such a good idea. The ability to work dust free on exteriors of homes is a big step forward for painters. And Festool sanders are ideal for this type of situation.

Scott Burt

Scott Burt is a contractor and freelance writer whose column "From the Field" has appeared in American Painting Contractor magazine (www.paintmag.com) since 2008. His writing and projects also appear in other print and digital venues. This site is an extension of Scott's publication work, and he encourages readers to leave comments and questions about articles published here. Hope to hear from you!

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  1. Daniel sella says:

    Trying to restore approx 400 sq ft of 2000 sf deck . exposed to elements this section(400sf) has been treated with Watco teak oil,sickens,cetol,& linseed oil. Covered sections look great w/factory Biopin finish remaining .how to clean in grooves has been a major challenge ALL help with your IPE experience is appreciated. Frustrated deck owner. Thank you for your prompt reply.

  2. Alan says:

    That looks like a great tool to keep a clean jobsite! Thanks for the review!

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