finish sanding an oak floor

Finished laying my new t&b oak board flooring a week or so ago.
It now needs finish sanding before staining and waxing (many thanks to Andy Hall for helping me to decide upon the finish).
What do I use?
I've sanded a few existing pine boards before, and that's a whole different kettle of fish. A drum sander would do nothing but harm in this situation I feel, and would be way overkill in any case.
I have a really, really good ROS, but trying to set about 25 square metres of sanding with it would be pure madness.
Also, what should I use to fill any imperfections such as knot holes, etc - it's a rustic grade oak (read "cheap", but the character of it is rather better suited to the property than the higher grades, IMHO) ?
Any advice welcomed as always....
cheers Richard
-- Richard Sampson
email me at richard at olifant d-ot co do-t uk
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wrote:

The guy that did ours used a 100mm belt sander with (IIRC) 100 grit paper, sanding with the grain.

We selected out any large (>~6mm) dead knot holes before laying.
Other holes can be handled (if they are large) by cutting a plug using a plug cutter and then sanding to match the shape of the hole. Glue in place using glue (e.g. yellow PVA) mixed with sawdust and leave to cure thoroughly. You can then either sand down to level or saw with a dowel saw.
Another useful thing is to use Liberon wax sticks. These are sold in about 20 different colours by Axminster and others and if you buy three or four roughly near the colour you can get a good match to the wood. You can cut slivers of the wax, which is,I think, carnauba wax and fairly hard. If need be, you can combine a couple of colours. The wax can then be pushed into small holes like nail holes etc. and will form a good match. It's easy if you warm the area with a hair dryer as well.
Don't try to make it perfect, though. The slight imperfections are part of the natural appeal.....

.andy
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Thanks again, Andy.
Right, nice powerful belt sander it is for this weekend then.....
I didn't install any boards with large dead knots in them, but there are a few smaller knots and things that need filling somehow (with rustic grade you could throw away >30% if you get too fussy, and in that case might as well have paid for a grade with fewer imperfections). Think that the wax sticks shoudl do the trick, and they have the advantage of being easy to repair should the need arise. As you say, it's all part of the character and shoudln't really be made into something that it's not.
Ah, whilst I remember, on the subject of stain (spirit based) - how was it applied? Just with a cloth? I'm worried about patchiness on large areas (due to application technique, oak shouldn't present the problem that pine does with differing absorbtion).
thanks Richard
-- Richard Sampson
email me at richard at olifant d-ot co do-t uk
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wrote:

Mmm. but don't go for too large a one. You should really only need to do a light sanding, depending on the condition of the boards.

I didn't stain the floor, only the inside of the front door with a medium oak stain. That had the stain wiped on sparingly and wiped off after a few minutes.
I would suggest you try out the complete process that you are going to do on some scraps first, to satisfy yourself that you can get an even finish, in the colour and effect you want. You may well have a spread of shades of oak in the material that you have, so if this is the case, try with a piece of each to be sure that you are happy with the results before committing to the complete floor.

.andy
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Thanks, Andy
apologies for the delay in replying.
I re-read what you had said about the finish on your floor and you did indeed say that it wasn't stained!
Going to experiment with some of the darker waxes first - I'm still a little nervous about attacking the new floor with a stain in case I don't get an even application. Will have to tack a few of the offcuts together to create a larger surface area to see how evenly it goes on - good range of the variations in colour in that lot.
cheers Richard
-- Richard Sampson
email me at richard at olifant d-ot co do-t uk
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wrote:

Did I ever send you any photos of my floors and doors? I'd be happy to do so - or if you'd like a sample of oiled oak or some of the oil I used, I'd be happy to pop some in the post.
On the European oak and oil that I used, the colour range ends up being approximately that of a medium coloured clear honey. This was a product consisting of boiled linseed oil, beeswax and turpentine.

That was why I suggested practising on a reasonable area first. Generally staining involves wiping or brushing on first and then wiping off excess after 15-20 minutes. If you leave it, there is certainly a chance of uneven colour.
To some extent, you will get a variation anyway, because there seems to be a variation in the absorbency from piece to piece of timber.
For example, I found when oiling, that some areas of the floor would absorb relatively little oil, whereas others would keeep on taking more and more. For the first coat, I brushed on liberally, and then wiped off after half an hour. For the second and third, done after 2 hours each, more sparingly and after 15-20 mins. With oil it is less critical because the staining effect isn't there. I finished off with a good polish using beeswax and a floor polisher.
I am not sure how effective a coloured wax on its own is going to be for a floor.

I think that that's the key thing......

.andy
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Andy Hall wrote in message ...

whereas these will soften in your hand after a few minutes. Better to match the colour to the finished boards rather than the paler colour they have after sanding.
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