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.

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