Dedicated Theater Design & Construction > You've GOT to try the dustless drywall sanding system
MrSquid's Avatar MrSquid 08:37 AM 02-17-2004
Last night I used one of the water-based dustless drywall sanding systems for the first time, and all I can say is WOW!

I'm drywalling my shop in preparation of selling our house (huh?) - the room is about 12x25. (maybe larger) Last night I sanded down the first layer of joint compound, and I can honestly say that cutting out around a single electrical box put ten times more dust on the floor than what was on the floor after sanding ALL of the joints in this room.

I picked mine up at Home Depot. ($40) It could probably be made for $20 in parts if you could find an ice cream bucket styled peel on/off lid for a 5 gallon bucket. Ran it off a 5hp shop vac - that might be a little too much power for this filter, but it's got sort of a bypass valve between the filter and the vac to allow more airflow if the vac needs it, so I opened that up a bit.

What's really nice about it is the 20' hose that runs between the filter and the sander. I was able to have the shop vac in another room for most of it - keeping the noise and heat elsewhere, and the vac wasn't kicking up dust that was on the floor from when I hung the sheetrock.

When I was done, there was about 2" of dust crud which had settled at the bottom of the water in the bucket. Haven't checked the shop vac to see how much (if anything) went into it.

If you're looking for a clean way of sanding - check this out. When I was done I kind of had to laugh about the statement in the latest HTB mag from the pilot building his own HT who said "drywalling is probably the messiest job you'll ever do in your own home". Cutting it for electrical boxes - yes. But I won't have any more mess from sanding! :D

And no... I don't work for the company that makes these things - but maybe I should! ;)

budk's Avatar budk 09:18 AM 02-17-2004
I've tried them and while they do cut down on dust, I have never been satisfied with the results. I could not consistently get a good joint.

I've found it much easier to concentrate on getting better at hanging drywall and applying on as much mud as necessary. It's actually quite amazing if you ever watch a pro.... they don't leave the mess that most of us amateurs do.
MaximAvs's Avatar MaximAvs 09:33 AM 02-17-2004
I to bought the dustless sanding system. It worked great. My Shop-vac was pretty strong and the sander would actually stick to the wall, but it did the job. When I didn't use the system and sanded in the window wells by hand, there was a TON of dust!! Way more than when I sanded the rest of the room. It was the only part of the job I was not looking forward to because of the mess, and the Dustless Sanding System made it a lot cleaner process.:D
clayfree's Avatar clayfree 11:35 AM 02-17-2004
Try a power dustless sander, you can rent them at Home Depot. It uses a spinning sanding disc on an aluminum pole. The pole lets you reach any spot and provides leverage. It's all attached to a vacuum that collects dust. It's the cleanest, fastest and easiest way to sand that I have found.
Larry Fine's Avatar Larry Fine 01:27 PM 02-17-2004
Clay, I've been touting that system for a long time. It's made by Porter/Cable, and the included vacuum is automatically controlled by the sander. Here's a pic:
Note: hardhat not included.
MrSquid's Avatar MrSquid 02:46 PM 02-17-2004
Originally posted by Larry Fine
Note: hardhat not included.
Does that mean the the red tights ARE included? :D

How fast does that sander spin? I'd be afraid of taking off too much and then having to go back and redo it - especially on the final coat. That does look like a system that at the very least would require less elbow grease than the water filter/shop vac combo.

Also - does this get the buildup of static like the water filter does? I saw in the instructions that there's a remedy for that, but didn't look much further than that.
Larry Fine's Avatar Larry Fine 08:30 PM 02-18-2004
I have my own red tights, so that's a non sequitur.

The only time I've had any problem with too much material removal was the first time I used it. And I've never had any static issues with it.
ken-ha's Avatar ken-ha 08:40 PM 02-18-2004
Larry, I was at HD (almost everyday) today. It surprised me that they were actually renting the P/C sander for Can$40/day which included the vacumn. I held the handle in my hands and found the handle and the sander was quite heavy. If I decided to go for this route then I think my arms would be like superman after I am done. Now the question is do i need to dump the dust out everyday or dump it after the whole job is done?
Larry Fine's Avatar Larry Fine 08:47 PM 02-18-2004
Ken, believe me, your arms will be a lot less 'deader' than doing it manually. You only have to move the sander slowly across the material; it does the work.

It (usually) comes with an internal paper bag that contains the dust. I've never had to replace the bag, or a disc. Just make sure the bag is empty when you rent it.
clayfree's Avatar clayfree 06:59 AM 02-19-2004
I agree with Larry. It might seem heavy at first but the spinning disc is doing all the sanding that your arms would normally do. What impressed me was how fast it was. The disc sands really fast and with the long pole you can reach all of the joints without moving a ladder around.

bwolff's Avatar bwolff 12:11 PM 02-19-2004
How about doing corners? Dose the paper go to the edge? and what if I only have green tights?
Chris Dotur's Avatar Chris Dotur 09:27 PM 02-19-2004
Mr. Squid-

Actually, I'm the pilot that you were referencing. Yeah, I thought about using a sanding machine. I don't have a shop vacuum, so I didn't get one. Believe me, there's a few things that I would at least go about in a different way if I had my theater to do all over again, whether I actually make different changes or not. Using a sander may or may not be something I would do differently. I got good results with manual sanding.

I'm having to make several compromises in my project. If I had every resource and tool available to me, I'd certainly do things differently!
Larry Fine's Avatar Larry Fine 09:43 PM 02-19-2004
Originally posted by bwolff
How about doing corners?
For the corners, I use a sanding sponge.
Dose the paper go to the edge?
The sanding disc reaches to within about 1/4" of the wall.
...what if I only have green tights?
Sherwood Forest has an opening.
bwolff's Avatar bwolff 06:12 AM 02-21-2004
AHhh yes men in tights. Thanks larry. I have 3 rooms and I am going to get there sooner or latter. If the soffits don't kill me first.
MrSquid's Avatar MrSquid 02:16 PM 02-21-2004
Originally posted by Chris Dotur
Mr. Squid-

Actually, I'm the pilot that you were referencing.
Hey Chris - a celebrity! :) I've enjoyed following your progress - looking forward to the rest.

When I read your latest installment, I was about 1/2 way through hanging rock for latest project (which is finishing my workshop) and I did laugh when I read your "the messiest job you'll ever do in your own home" line because I rememer that mess well. Your article is actually what reminded me of how messy that got, and prompted me to consider a "cleaner" solution. I did my full basement by hand, and picked up the water-based solution (and a shop vac to boot) after seeing how bad the dust spread around my basement just from cutting the holes in it for the outlets.

I may consider Larry's solution for the next house. The water filter IS very clean, but it also takes a bit of elbow grease. (and my elbows aren't all that greasy :D )
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