Friday, December 31, 2010

That's Done, at Least!

Look at that.  Isn't it pretty?

Fourteen stair treads, all rough-sanded.

Yes, they need lots of filling, then a go with the medium and then the fine grit.  But the old dirt and grime and roughness is off.  It's gone.

And it's still 2010.

In which case, I'm hitting the Publish button and going to go party.

See you next year!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Where I Am with Things

I admit it:  I haven't done anything with the hall floor sanding since Monday the 20th.  Too much going on since then with choir concerts, year-end paperwork, Christmas cookery, and general holiday-making.  Even if I'd had time to sand, my friends wouldn't savor my bread and candy any more with a dusting of wood floor over it.

But this afternoon I really am going to do something.  Need to rehang the plastic over the doorway to the 3rd floor (it fell down day before yesterday) and 120-grit sand the last 2/5 of the hall way floor.  Then drape the openings to the stairhall on the 1st floor with plastic-- not my favorite sport, and the animals won't appreciate it, either.  Then, then, maybe I can start on the 1st floor stair treads.  Nothing gets shellacked in there until the sanding is done.

Meanwhile, here's a couple-three pictures from the most recent work:

Where I cracked a groove during the medium sanding.  May've had something to do with countersinking that nail beyond the board's tolerance.

Securing down that cracked groove.  I used some small annular nails I had in my workshop, toenailed in, as recommended by various websites.  Wish I'd used regular finish nails instead.  It doesn't look too bad in this picture.  You don't want to see how it looked after I tried countersinking those flat heads.

Ran my carpenter's pencil over the surface (actually wrote myself a monitory message) to keep from oversanding before I started the 120-grit fine-sanding phase.  When the pencil marks are gone, it's sanded enough.  Period.
How the part that's totally sanded looks.  Pretty!  (I think.)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Back at It

I'm too tired to say anything clever at the moment, but I thought I'd report that for the last two days, after an hiatus of what? two or three weeks, I'm back at the hallway sanding.

And I suppose it's going reasonably well.  The rough sanding still isn't done, but at least I can tell the difference between what I've worked on and what I haven't.

I've been using the belt sander; it's the only effective way to get things started, my floor's in such bad shape.  The biggest difficulty has been keeping the damn cord out of the way.  They say to drape it round your neck, but that's only going to work if you loop it round once or twice.  Which could get interesting if the sander got away from you.

Ergo, I didn't get the best use out of it yesterday, which led me to believe I was going to have to do a lot of additional filling, where the soft parts of the wood have worn away.  But where I was working today, I was able to hang the belt sander cord off the newel post, and got a lot more done with it.  Smoothed down some floorboards I was sure would have to be filled, and I think they're still structurally sound . . .

I'm still not sure how far I can take that.  If I decide I'd better not sand the boards down until they're absolutely clean, which will look worse:  shellacking over the remaining dirt, or shellacking over the wood filler?  I've noticed that the latter actually looks darker than the wood around it once you've got a few coats on.  And if I don't fill those areas, what will that mean for wearabilty?  But if I don't, will the filler necessarily stay in?

I reflect as I work that I have no method.  I mean, sometimes I use 80-grit belts and they work well enough.  But sometimes they don't, and I go to 60-grit belts.  And sometimes I can manage the 60-grit belts just fine, and sometimes they leave skid marks in the wood and I have to go back to the 80.  A professional would be able to use a given tool or technique the same way all the time.  Me, I'm no professional.  I have no method.

I haven't made too much of a mess of the floor, though some of the adjacent vertical woodwork now bears marks of where I let the belt sander get rather too close.
But I've figured out how to track the belt, so that's an advance.

The rough sanding isn't totally done, but as I said, I'm tired.  I'm using muscles I forgot I had.  I need to cut more sandpaper for the mouse sander, and rip some more filler strips for floor cracks.  Yes, there are some I didn't fill last April and know now I should have.