Tuesday, November 23, 2010

For a Moment, I Wavered

For awhile there this past weekend, I about gave up my DIY card on the 2nd floor hall sanding.

Very early this past Friday morning I was minutes away from heading to a substitute teaching engagement, when a call came in from the school's dispatching secretary.  Class was cancelled: some bright soul had crashed his car into the power pole carrying the transformer that fed both the junior and senior high schools.

I can cope with that, she said brightly to herself.  That gives me an entire day to make good progress on my hallway floor.  With my tamed belt sander.  Yeaa!!

Or maybe not.  Ever try sanding a floor with a liquidly runny nose?  There I am with my goggles getting fogged up because I keep the thermostat low and my dust mask catching snot every time I bend over to work.  I can't see, I can't breathe, and besides, it's gross.

And then here's the belt sander, with the belt getting off track.  Damn!

I got online and looked up how to fix that.  All the while, my cold is getting worse and my head more congested.  Okay, it says to find some screw on the side of the sander and adjust that while holding onto the switch.  Oh, gosh, that'll mean my big screw flathead driver, and I can't even fiiiiiiiinnnnndd it!!!!!  I doubt I can even find the blinking screw!!

I try using the orbital sander instead.  It does No. Good. At. All.  Crap-crap-crappity (sneeze-sneeze-sneeze!!)-CRAP!

I find a diagram of my sander.  Oh, good grief, it's not a screw, it's a knob!  Why the dickens do they want to call it a screw for?

I try adjusting said knob.  Maybe now my sandpaper will track and I can get something done.  Between drips, that is.

But no.  The belt slid over again and sent up sparks, and every time I bent over, my nose sent out snot.


So I wavered.  I confess it, I did.  I got back online and looked up "Floor sanding Beaver County PA."  And found the website of an outfit not too far away that seemed to do good work and came with good references.  I measured the hallway (approximately 65 square feet) and  the treads (14 at 3'-0" x 10") and put in a call.

The refinisher guys weren't in, but hopefully they'd call me back on Monday.  If the bid would came in at $250 or less for the rough sanding (or all the sanding), they could have the job.  Screw my pride, I didn't give a single damn.  My health can't take this.

That evening, I went to bed early.

But hope springs eternal.  Saturday I dragged myself to a local hardware store that was having a one-day coupon sale, and among other things bought some 80-grit belts.  Maybe I could manage them better than the 60-grit I just got in the mail.  And when I got home, I tried retracking the 60-grit belt that was on it (too sick, tired, or lazy to change it) and got to work.  In the closet, where it wouldn't show.

Whoa!  Good thing I did!  It took the dirt off, but it definitely left treadmarks in the floor!  Blast it, it wasn't the sandpaper, it was the forward roller of the sander.

Back to the Internet.  Oh! you're supposed to turn the thing on while turning the tracking knob!

That was too much for me.  I went back to bed with a new box of tissues.  For the rest of the weekend.

Yesterday afternoon the floor refinishing people called back.  My little hallway would be their minimum $600.  $1,100, if they did the treads down to the 1st floor, too.  "Treads are very labor-intensive."  Yeah, tell me about it.

Six hundred dollars for that hallway?  Another $510 for the treads?  Uh, thanks but no thanks.  Looks like I'll have to stiffen the backbone and get on with it myself.  After I get over the cold.

And as earnest of that, this afternoon I took the Hitachi down the basement, clamped it in the vise, and did the tracking job properly.  It's still sending out sparks from the dust it's collected, so work will have to wait till I get a new can of compressed air.  Just as well-- that'll give my sinuses the chance to clear up, too.

But my DIY resolve is returning.  Funny how the prospect of a humongous professional bill can do that for you.


dynochick (Jan) said...

I absolutely hate belt sanders.

I can never get the belts on correctly. I always over sand. I always injure myself. Plus they are just too heavy.

I wish someone would come up with a non belt sander that is bigger than the orbital sander but lighter than a belt sander but works as good as a belt sander and is idiot proof.

Am I asking for too much?

What about using citrus stripper on your treads and then using an orbital sander to smooth it out?

We haven't done our stairs yet. They are curved and I just know those pie shape treads are going to be a real PITA.

Good luck with the sanding and the cold.

Kate H. said...

I totally agree with you about the need for an intermediate machine for these jobs. I can't afford to have my floor gouged out-- it's subfloor and finish floor in one.

Happily, the old finish and random paint drips are already gone, taken off with a heat gun and refinisher. So it's just a matter of sanding down the filler and getting off the ingrained dirt.