5-Mirka-products-that-are-a-must-have-for-boat-building-and-repairs Best Abrasives

5 Mirka products that are a must-have for boat building and repairs

Marine environments can be harsh, with exposure to saltwater, UV rays, and abrasive surfaces. This makes the constant need for boat maintenance paramount. There are so many components to boats and yachts, with a variety of substrates that can be used in the construction. Wood, epoxy, fibreglass, different types of metal and even glass are substrates boatbuilders come across often. Boat Builders and many in the marine industry require a vast range of skills because of the complexity of the tasks. These tasks can be very time consuming if the right abrasives and tools are not used.

Mike Cassidy from Sydney Boatworks knows about this firsthand - “I’ve got a beautiful 32ft timber yacht that was built in 1967 that i’m really passionate about looking after and maintaining and it’s my biggest passion at the moment- going from bow to stern and replacing things”.

We recently spent the day with Mike as he worked on a mirror dinghy that he rescued at the North Harbour Marina. He showed us some of his processes and showed us what tools and abrasives he believes work the best for him.

Over his 30 year career, Mike has seen the products on offer develop and get better over the years. “I’ve been building boats since 1989 and in that time abrasives have come a long way, I can remember when it was like sandpaper stuck to a bit of paper and over time they’ve gotten a lot better with different materials, same with random orbitals and power tools” Mike stated.

Mike uses a variety of Mirka products in his workshop on the marina and we also gave him some products to try that he hadn’t had the chance to before. We asked Mike what he thought of the products and we’ve listed the top 5 products he uses below.


• ARP-B 77mm Cordless Polisher

Mirka’s ARP-B Cordless Polisher is light and ergonomically designed and perfectly suited for polishing small areas. Professionals from many industries and boat builders alike find the freedom of movement and low maintenance quite appealing, making it a staple in their toolboxes. With a brushless motor and variable speed easily controlled by the trigger, the ARP-B should be your go-to for small repairs on boats and yachts.

Mike says “My favourite Mirka product at the moment is the 77mm polisher, it is cordless and is very quiet and you can take it anywhere. The torque setting on it is so strong that I reckon you could stand on it and it would still polish, so you can get quite hard to scratches that are a bit deep”.

Mirka Deros 150mm Random Orbital Sander - 5mm Orbit 650cv
• Mirka Deros 150mm Random Orbital Sander - 8mm Orbit 680cv

Mirka's DEROS Random Orbital Sander is designed to deliver efficient and dust-free sanding across various surfaces. As the lightest and most ergonomic 150mm sander available, it features a patented highly efficient brushless motor, ensuring consistent speed even when handling heavy loads. Professionals and boat builders will appreciate its low maintenance requirements and extended lifespan. Prioritizing health, it boasts the lowest vibration levels in its category, coupled with a distinctive symmetrical design ensuring extended usage without inducing fatigue.

Mike says “What I prefer to use now is the Deros Sander, mainly because well it’s comfortable in your hand, its not as vibratey (if that’s a word), also you can change the face from 150mm to 125mm without having to buy another sander”.

• Mirka Abranet Ace Ceramic Discs

Abranet Ace abrasive discs, featuring a distinctive net construction and ceramic grains, are perfect for use with random orbital sanders. Abranet Ace is perfectly suited to challenging surface conditioning in very hard or difficult materials such as cement, carbon fibre, composites, two-part adhesives and finishes, and very hard timber. The ceramic grains that form the abrasive of Abranet Ace are supremely hard and ideally suited to materials that would burn or wear out traditional abrasives.

Mike says “As far as substrates go, being a boat builder, you can use it on timber, fibreglass, metal, even glass. I find that Abranet Ace is quite tough”.

Mike continues, “Abranet Ace I find is very versatile from the coarse right through to the fine. I use it on timber, varnish, paint”.

• Mirka Polarshine 5
• Mirka Polarshine 45

Mirka Polarshine Polishing Compound is a medium coarse polishing compound specially designed for achieving the best result after sanding with Mirka's unique products. Polarshine is suitable for all paint systems and for polishing of scratch-resistant clear coats. It is designed to keep the surface temperature low when polishing and it removes marks permanently. Polarshine is waterborne and silicone-free and can be applied both by machine and by hand.

Mike says “As far as polishes go, I like the Polarshine 45 and 5, I find that you don’t have to go through a whole range of grits, you can stop at 600 grit and use the Polarshine 45 and that’s remarkably all you need. It’s also a waterbased product, so you can go onto varnished areas and not cause any problems, and finish it off with Polarshine 5 which finishes it all off”.

Mirka Roundy Hand Sanding Block
• Mirka Roundy Hand Sanding Block (Kit)

The Mirka Roundy hand sanding block is ergonomically designed to fit into the palm of the hand and is suitable for multiple operations from paint stripping, to lacquer & paint sanding. This is a versatile and practical hand block to use with both Abranet abrasives and 150mm grip discs, that can wrap around its sides to assist the user in reaching corners and other hard to reach areas that require sanding.

Mike says “The Mirka Roundy hand sanding block is so good and it’s actually really well priced. It’s a sanding block that you can put your 150mm round sandpapers. It hooks up to the vacuum system and you just have it on low and it sucks up all the dust. It’s flat and comfortable and ergonomic. I really recommend it”.



Mike had the chance to try other some Mirka products he hadn’t tried before, this is what he thought-

Mirka Galaxy Sanding Discs

Mirka Galaxy abrasive discs feature this new kind of high technology abrasive with ceramic grains that are self-sharpening. This means every time an edge of an abrasive grain breaks off, a new cutting edge is simply formed, making it possible for the Galaxy to continue cutting longer and longer.

Mike said “The galaxy I find is a great coarse range, and also the finer end. Galaxy is a great product to use on raw fibreglass”.

Mirka AOS-B Cordless Sander

Mirka AOS-B 130NV 32mm 10.8V Orbit 3.0 AN Cordless Sander is a brushless spot repair sander with a 3mm orbit. The battery-driven Mirka AOS-B 130NV is small, ergonomic and energy efficient. There’s no cord to get tangled in and no air supply that can get contaminated; this tool does not even require oiling. The 10.8V Li-ion battery lasts up to 16 hours in industrial use and charges in 45 minutes. 

Mike said “It’s so versatile to get into all the little corners that a boat builder needs to get into and it's comfortable in the hand. It’s really good for a lot of things, brightwork, brasswork, metalwork, small fittings that get rusty. It’s really good for a lot of stainless and deck hardware on a boat too”.

Mirka Abralon Foam Disc

Abralon is a versatile sanding disc designed for use on both smooth and contoured surfaces. Its innovative flexible structure minimises the possibility of pressure marks while enabling the creation of a smooth sanding pattern on sloped surfaces and edges.

Since the flexible weave lets water and air to flow freely, sanding is cleaner and the abrasive lasts longer. Ideal for finishing before polishing and for fine sanding of profiled surfaces. Recommended for wet sanding, Abralon features a hook-and-loop soft sponge backing, ideal for use by hand, on 77mm random orbital sanders or with rotary tools for the fine sanding of timber, application of oil finishes, and the refinement and polishing of glass, composites, metal and painted surfaces.

Mike said “I would use abralon on metal, so- brass, stainless, mild steel, hinges - straight 600 abralon on a hinge all the scratches are out, polishes up better than new”.

• Mirka Ultimax Ligno Wood Sanding Discs

Introducing Mirka's latest abrasive, Ultimax Ligno Wood Sanding Discs. Specifically designed for hardwood and softwood, it offers a fast, even cut with its hourglass abrasive pattern. Made with latex impregnated paper for flexibility and durability, it features Mirka Multifit hole pattern for efficient dust extraction. With larger dust channels to handle wood particles, it prioritizes safety with dust-free sanding technology.

Mike said “ Ultimax Ligno” sands with a non swirling scratch mark, it’s very even and it seems to be really good on all substrates.”

Ultimax Ligno will be available in mid May 2024.

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