How It Works: Festool Spot Repair Scraper
STATS: Butler Collision Center Location: Macon, Ga. Website: Festoolproducts.com Cost: $72 Uses: Removes dust particles off vehicle surfaces Training Required: Instructional videos and demonstrations available
Sean Swetnam is the lead painter at Butler Collision Center. Swetnam has been in the industry for 30 years and has had a passion for painting since he was a kid. Swetnam has been with Butler for seven years.
Butler Collision Center has two locations in Macon, Ga. The technicians are trained and certified by Toyota, Lexus, BMW, I-CAR and ASE.
Swetnam was first introduced to Festool’s Spot Repair Scraper when a representative came to the shop and demonstrated the dust removal tool. Swetnam says he was impressed with the speed and ease of the product and believed it would cut down on the time it took him to get rid of unwanted particles in paint and smooth uneven surfaces caused by trapped dirt. He has used it since August.
How it Works:
The tool, which is made up of a slight blade connected to a rope, eliminates dust particles, dirt nibs, sags and runs within a paint job.
To use it, grab the silver blade and hold it at a slight angle above the area you wish to remove. Swetnam says the rope is a good guide for the right angle. Simply place the tool down on the surface and the rope will raise the tool the appropriate amount. Then, drag it across the desired area until the surface is flat.
“I love the little thing,” Swetnam says. “It’s like the old dirt files back in the day—but way better.”
Swetnam says it has cut the time it takes him to polish and buff surfaces in half. Before, Swetnam says it would take about 30 minutes to sand a hood and another 30 minutes to polish. With the tool, it only takes 10–12 minutes to get the trash off and 20 minutes to polish.
“The speed of the cut is much quicker and it takes less sanding to get the surface even,” Swetnam says.
Instead of sliding sandpaper back and forth until the area is flat, the tool makes the area virtually smooth without any sanding. Swetnam says his shop still uses a small amount of 2000 grit and 3000 grit sandpaper, but it can probably be buffed, polished and done.
If Swetnam could change anything about the tool, it would be to make it more user friendly.
“If they could make it a little larger so you could have more of it in your hand, I feel like you would have more control,” Swetnam says.
Swetnam says that since it cuts his time in half, he estimates that he can produce an additional 10 hours of painting time, which could result in as much as an additional $600 per week due to the way Butler Collision has its painters work. The shop pays on a flat rate system and has the painters buff their own work. At $72 for the tool, Swetnam says that it pays for itself within a day.
“It probably isn’t a realistic figure for most shops, but we’re a high volume shop,” Swetnam says. “The more work you turn, the larger the savings. I would say that for anyone that uses it, you can easily turn an additional 10 hours per day with the time savings because the area to buff after the tool is so much smaller than with traditional methods.”