Sanding Beams in a Log Home

Hi
I have a very large sanding project I am about to undertake. It involves sanding all the beams in my log home and even some of the log wall surfaces. The beams still have a lot of dirt and preservative left on them from the construction 13 years ago! And some of the interior log surfaces have some water stains that need to be sanded out. I'm thinking that I should invest in a Fein sander with a dustless vacuum. I have a few questions for anyone here who might be able to help.
1. Should I get the 6" or the 8" sander? I assume the 6" can get into tighter spots but the 8" gets more done per hour. How should I make the decision? 2. Some of the beams are adjacent to tongue and groove wood boards that I wouldn't want to hit with the sander. How can I protect those surfaces? 3. How dustless is 'dustless'? 4. Is the Fein the best way to go?
Thanks
Greg
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Greg, I'm doing a similar project in my 20 year old post and beam house. I have been using a 5 inch RO sander. It's not dustless by any means. I cover furniture, etc and vacuum up afterwards. I sanded beams and t&g walls. Had water stains also that I removed. Just mask any areas you do not want to sand. I finished with a sealer coat of shellac and two coats of water based poly. Looks nice. More rooms to do. The difference between a 6" or 8" sander will be minimal. You might consider weight to be the deciding factor. I don't know anything about Fein.

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Well first let me tell you that if your logs have been sealed with anything on the inside, you're in for a real job. I built log homes for a living and I've had the dis-pleasure of having to sand them after they were sealed. Days, weeks sometimes to get them right. Its a pain in the ass. If they don't have any kind of sealant or finish the job is somewhere easier but depending on the severity of the water marks and how much of a flawless finish you want, it can still be very time consuming. As far as a sander we go right with a belt sander to take down the hard stuff then go over that with various grits on a random orbit air sander. We finish up with standard random orbits where needed to get the logs looking like new again. I dread this part of our job and make every effort during construction to keep dirt, grease and water stains off but they always find their way on the logs anyway. Good luck!!
Jim

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Instead of sanding, can you use a square edge scraper?
Dave Smith
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