Boat projects generate quite a bit of dust and debris. Sanding, scraping, cutting and grinding. No matter what, it always ends up everywhere.
The focus of our efforts lately have been directed toward exterior projects, what with the great weather we’ve been having. Working on fiberglass repair and scraping old varnish makes a big mess, but most of the power tools we’re using have dust collection ports that hook up too a shop vac. I have a big vacuum down at my work shop, but until recently we’ve been using one of those little vacuum heads that fits over a 5 gallon bucket on the boat. They work pretty well on a boat mainly because they’re small and portable. The down side is that the filters clog quickly and the bucket tips over if you so much as look at them.
Recently becoming tired of constantly knocking over the bucket vacuum, I finally broke down and dragged the big shop vac up from the shed. The only place to put it on the boat so that it’s out of the way is on the forward deck and then run about 40′ of hose to reach the other end. Unfortunately, the forward deck is also where everyone driving or walking down the levee can gaze upon it in all its black and red “Shop Vac” glory. We already have a few of those Rubermaid tubs full of tools and supplies sitting out on deck and not wanting to appear any more “boat trash” to all our neighbors than we already do, I figured it would be a good idea to camouflage with an old tarp when we’re not using it. I even put a sound muffler on the exhaust port so it’s not as noisy for every one around us. When Jeni got home and saw it, she said it looked like R2-D2 was hiding from the Sand People in Star Wars. And thus R2-D2, the nickname for our boat’s vacuum system stuck.