Floor mess question

All, Although perhaps better ask in the alt.homeimprovement group I'm more active here. I'm in the process of refinishing the wood floors in our 1924 Dutch Colonial and whatta mess. Actually the drum sander works really well but the edge sander is melting the old finish and I'm getting maybe 6 linear feet per 40 grit pad before they become unusable. Wondered what folks thought that old finish was? I was thinking shellac since that's what I found when I stripped the doors. Although shellac doesn't strike me as durable enough for floors.
It's pretty well worn in spots but pretty good in others and has been covered with lovely blue shag carpeting ;) for quite a while before we moved in. I only have one room left to do but just curious.
Allen Catonsville, MD
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that sounds like shellac. Shellac eats sandpaper for snacks. I always thought that was curious, too, considering it doesn't get high marks for temperature/moisture protectiveness.
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About 50 years ago my grandparents had hardwood floor installed. I can still recall the smell of shellac from when they were finished. It was the most popular coating for floors. Ed
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Edwin Pawlowski wrote:

Is that original shellac still in place? And in 1954 what alternatives were available?

--
--John
Reply to jclarke at ae tee tee global dot net
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Use a regularly sharpened pull scraper to remove the bulk of the finish, then the sanding disks will last longer. B
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What type of flooring is it? Many times when I sand pine floors it's not the finish but the sap (or pitch or resin or whatever you want to call it) that gums up my discs. When I run into this I usually rough edge with 16 grit paper then go back over it with your final grit. Adam

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I've had that problem too, and discovered, in my case, that the "gumminess" was caused by two things: edges get more varnish when applied incorrectly (common), and carpet tape left a nearly invisible glue substance on top.
My solution was to switch to smaller grit along the edges for a first run, used mostly scrapers around corners (which had a buildup of varnish), and finally went with a chemical stripper in difficult spots.
Good luck, H
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I've had that problem too, and discovered, in my case, that the "gumminess" was caused by two things: edges get more varnish when applied incorrectly (common), and carpet tape left a nearly invisible glue substance on top.
My solution was to switch to smaller grit along the edges for a first run, used mostly scrapers around corners (which had a buildup of varnish), and finally went with a chemical stripper in difficult spots.
Good luck, H
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All, Thanks for the suggestions. Yes the floors upstairs are pine but I can't imagine them still being sappy enough to be a problem after 80 years. I'm not sure I'd call this pine old growth but the grain is really tight on most of it. I ended using a scraper in the corners as several suggested and that helped and from what other folks said I suppose it was, in fact, shellac. I put the second coat of poly on it this morning and it looks great. Much redder and richer finish than I thought. At least at the end of the whole thing I actually get to spend some time in the shop making some new bi-fold doors and SWMBO gets a new guest bedroom / sewing room out of the deal so we're all happy and this project is done before hunting seasons start!
Allen Catonsville, MD
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