Time Thief

Monday, July 11, 2005

naked wood

Work has been kickin' my butt lately, so the precious few minutes I take each day to _not_ work, I spend exercising (in an attempt to maintain my sanity) or working on the house instead of blogging about it. Oh, then there is all that time I "waste" reading houseblogs, but who's counting.

So, let's catch up...

Here was the guest room just before I left for the lake over 4th of July weekend:

primer white

I actually had to put two coats of Kilz on the walls. Never had to do that before.

Here it was mid-late last week after one coat of paint:

And another to display the variation in color that light, digital cameras, and our lovely computer monitors cause:

Split the difference and that's the real color. A little bird described the color as, "It looks like a pair of green khakis that you bought at jcrew and wore over and over again until the color was all faded out." Perfect! Warm and cozy like a favorite pair of pants.

Now on to my junior-high-joke-of-a-subject. Armed with some helpful articles from Hometime and the Wood Flooring Manufacturers Association, I set out to tackle the floor. I have no idea why refinishing the floors intimidated me so much. I suppose it's because I was imagining clouds and clouds of dust for days. That wasn't the case at all! I was all geared up when I started: fan running in the window, double layers of sheets outside the door, goggles, mask, earplugs, everything. I even put on real shoes which, for me, means business. The only safety equipment I used through the whole process was the earplugs (oh, and the shoes). The rest seemed unnecessary because there was hardly any dust with the drum sander.



My buddy the drum sander. I managed to break it during the first cut. No big deal, just that the switch stopped working, so I had to plug/unplug to start and stop the thing. (shrug) The piece of advice everyone mentions with the drum sander is to make sure you're moving when lowering or lifting the drum. I had no problem with it at first, but on the third cut I had trouble at the walls when I switched directions and it started making small ruts. They weren't major at all and I was able to smooth them out, but I don't know why I had problems with the final, it being the finest grain and all. I was probably just getting tired.

All done (with full bag of sawdust) and ready to go back to the evil orange! Now, on the dust front, the edge sander is a different story from the drum sander. It _did_ kick up quite a lot of dust, and I don't like that thing at all. I'd read that you're not supposed to apply pressure because it will cause swirl marks that are difficult to remove, but I felt like I had to apply half my body weight just to get the thing to go where I wanted it to go. It wanted to run all over the place. So, I was applying pressure, and yes, it did create swirl marks, that yes, are hard to get out. I realized how bad they would look in the end when I was testing out stain in the closet and passed over one. Ewww! I basically ended up re-sanding the entire perimeter by hand and still didn't get them all, but I tried.

And now:

ooooohhh, aaaaaahhh. preeeeettty. I couldn't figure out how to do the last strip of floor other than apply small block, wait, wipe, back up, repeat... and I didn't want to do that for fear of creating splotchy bits, so I'll just go back and do the last strip tomorrow. That will also give me a chance to touch up some light areas. I haven't decided on exactly what I will put on after the stain, but it seems most everything recommends buffing after stain and between coats of poly, etc. Have you other floor refinishers done this step? I hate to rent the silly thing for two days and have it sit idle most of the time, but I'm also not going to run it back and forth to the store. Let me know what you think if you've been there.

So far, this is the most rewarding project I've done in a loooooong time. Can't wait til it's done!


  • Wow, it really is oooooh aaaaah pretty. Nice work! I can see myself staying in that guestroom! By the way, not to brag, but our guestroom is in hosting condition. So, whenever you are ready to take a home improvement break you can come visit us. :)

    By Anonymous Al, at 9:13 AM  

  • That's stunning! I plead with you not to use Poly, but to consider an oil finish instead. Poly is just a sheet of plastic laid over the wood~ it not only looks less rich and deep, but it perform like a sheet of clear plastic. It picks up scratches and clouds very easily and must be refinished entirely if damaged. Once you poly the floor, you'll never touch wood; just the plastic.
    Oil, on the other hand, protects by soaking into the fibers of the wood, bringing out its depth without covering it up. If there's ever damage to the floor you can fix just the damaged part. Claims that oil is not as durable are absurd~ The old floors we all admire were finished with oil.. .and lasted long enough for us to enjoy them today. Ever seen an older polyfinished floor? Not pretty~ just a haze of cloudy scratches with dirt caught in them floating above the wood.

    I'd rather have something that I can spot repair scratches or dings in, because they're GOING to happen. Better to age well over 30 years than look great for 15 before you plummet down into Just Plain Ugly. Kind of like Harrison Ford vs Marlon Brando~ who would you rather look like?

    By Anonymous Nathan@aquick.org, at 10:36 AM  

  • Alli - I was hoping to be able to make it out there this fall, but I just don't think it's going to happen. Upcoming family visits and conferences, etc. are crowding the calendar.

    Nathan - Where were you when I _needed_ someone to chime in with an opinion dissenting from the norm?! Unfortunately, I used an oil-modified poly and I HATE it! Mostly it was laziness on my part because that's all I saw available when I went to purchase. I despise the way it feels underfoot. It also doesn't look very good because as careful as I was, it still ended up with bubbles. blech! Fortunately, this is a room that won't see too much use. I think I will buy an area rug to cover the whole floor!! And when I have the living/dining room done soon, I will definitely not allow poly. What's my oil-ternative? Shellac?

    By Blogger SmilingJudy, at 7:20 PM  

  • Oooh, nice! Good work. I think we're just going to hire someone to refinish our floors in a couple of years when they need it; I'm too afraid of messing up this beautiful 1950s wood.

    By Anonymous Bill, at 10:36 PM  

  • You were very brave to sand the floor yourself. Did you take off the trim first? I thought about renting a sander but opted to pay someone else to sand it. Cost $1 per square foot. I used 3 coats of oil-based polyurethane and sure it has some bubbles, but I think that's because I used the wrong kind of applicator. Everyone remarks how good our floors look. They were pretty awful & water-marred before. If I had to to it again, I'd probably rent a sander like you. After all, they're just floors, and when the job's done & a little time passes, they'll be just floors again.

    By Blogger Z*lda, at 11:34 PM  

  • Hi, Zelda. I don't know if it's bravery or just hard-headed stupidity. :) Previously, I had thought the trim had to be removed, but in my research (and experience) realized it wasn't necessary. I removed it anyway, but that's because I was replacing it. It was too wimpy (not to mention in bad shape) for my taste. I'm pretty sure I'll outsource the floors in the living and dining room.

    By Blogger SmilingJudy, at 10:06 PM  

  • i like the wood floor work you have done! Do you know of any resources that have step by step guides. I need to refinish mine also.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:50 AM  

  • Thanks for the comment. The two links in the post have all the info you'll need.



    Good luck!

    By Blogger SmilingJudy, at 9:41 AM  

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