Hardwood question.

Have a question that has probably been asked before. In my new home before I purchased it the hardwood floors were refinished by the owner. The job was unsatisfactory but was a small price to pay to buy this awsome house. Anyway, I am about to redo the floors which I have some experience on but there is a catch. It looks like the previous owner used a drum sander incorrectly which left a bunch of marks (chatter marks I believe thier called) but the worst part is that he sanded against the grain so there are many marks on the floor against the grain. I called him up and asked how many coats of poly he had used and he stated there was only two on the floor. I know that I will have to redo the whole foor to get rid of the marks but my two part question is: Do I have to use a drum sander again to get through the poly to the bare wood and then use an stand up orbital/rectangular to get rid of the marks? Or can I just use an orbital for both steps since there is only two coats of poly? Is this the proper way to do it?
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A good question but not an easy answer. Two coats can be thick and hard or not. But it can gum up the sandpaper easily. There are some people who would get on hands and knees and scrape and then sand. That is a bit much. My guess is that you will want to rent a floor sander - drum type. But, before you get into it, take a floor section (the worst) and try out what it takes. If you are using a hand belt sander get some heavy duty grit (30) and one that will not clog up fast. Also get a scraper and give it a try.
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There are contractors who do nothing but sand floors. Consider this option. P.S. sanding marks against the grain are WAAAYY over-rated. Don't worry about every little thing. Enjoy your new home.
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On Fri, 29 Aug 2003 04:44:29 -0400 (EDT), snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (RM MS) pixelated:

Very good idea.

That's (partially) true only if they are going to clearcoat it. Since most people like 'em darker, the contractor stains it first. Crossgrain sanding marks are then highlighted and show up like bloody scratches on white legs walking through a berry patch.
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Call in the pros. They're experts at fixing botched homeowner projects and their workmanship is far better. They also have the knowledge and tools to keep dust from spreading. Remember what others in this group have said about the dangers of poly dust. -- Ernie
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Forget the orbital sander on any floor that needs to have some wood removed. Somebody's wetdream....you will need a real drum sander to get the cross-grain scratches and any drum marks. Don't try a handheld belt sander either, it will be more of a mess. Anything less than a good *even* sand job will look just as bad.
The chatters happen for a number of reasons. At the top of the list is a bad sanding drum, then improper paper installation. Could also happen from a bouncy subfloor. If it happens again(happens to the pros too) there are ways to mitigate before applying finish. If you get that far, repost and I'll help you out. Just don't waste your time with the stupid orbital thing.
M Hamlin The Oak Floors of Marco Los Gatos, CA

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Ok, thanks to all your posts I have decided to go with the drum sander. New question is: Should I do the standard 36, 60, 80 then 100 grit? or can I get away with it with less sanding than that. The poly is really dry and even though he added two coats it does not look thick at all. Should I attempt to get rid of the chatter marks with a low grit on the drum sander?

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We routinely use 36-50-100 on our machines. Not exactly what the trade association recommends, but it is a very widely used system. Few pros use 4 papers. The machine you rent will be a little different and you might not want to skip the 80. The rentals are lighter and frankly, very difficult to use, you tilt them unlike the bigger ones with a handle that raises the drum. Ideally you would want a 220v belt sander. A green one. I've never seen one rentable.
The 36 needs to handle all the existing scratches. If they are too deep to get out with a couple of passes, you need to 45 the floor or at least that area. Run the machine at a 45 degree angle against the grain. Not too hard here. If thats not enough, go the other way at a 45. When all is gone, straighten out the cross grain scratches with the 36, preferably a new one is feasable(how many sq ft are you doing?) It is imperative to get ALL the cross grain scratches out before moving up to the 50.
The edger is actually the most difficult machine to master. You won't. (cutting edge on an edger should be 12-2 o'clock) For paper, use 50, then 100. If the 50 gums up use 36, then 100 slowly. Sounds like you may know this, but the 50 comes after the 36 big machine paper. Your 100 edger is just before your final big machine paper.
You won't really know if you have chatters until after your final paper. Some chatters are worse than others. Some are livable, other not. Usually they are from (among other things) a bad drum, paper installed too tight or too loose, or a floor that bounces under the drum. Those rentals have a roller tightening system. The paper needs to be just tight enough that there is no slack when you squeeze the two sides. After your final paper, you should buff with an 80 or 100 grit screen. You will need to rent the buffer anyway, so have it ready. Screen once and check hard for the chatters. The screening seems to accentuate them. If they are there and more than you care to see, take a bucket of water and rag and dampen the entire surface. Just enough that it appears dry in about 15 minutes. No puddles. After its dry, screen again, hard, with a new screen. (cutting edge on a buffer is at 8 o'clock) Usually helps them a lot. Last resort is to use a piece of sand paper on the buffer(hard plate), but this is a risky procedure, often causing far more grief than its worth(imagine massive, wide-spread deep swirls). I know some mechanics who swear by the hard-plate. I have never had a real need for one.
You haven't mentioned what you want to achieve color wise and what finish you plan on. The simplest way to disguise things is to use no stain(natural) with a satin or matte finish. Natural shows dust dirt and scratches the least. Its all an illusion.......
HTH M Hamlin

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MSH you've been very helpful,
I am planning on leaving it natural, that's another question that I've thought off by the way. In my previous home when I refinished the floor things turned out great. The buffer gave me a heck of a time but luckily I was smart enough to practice in the basement in some plywood. Anyway, I absolutely loved the way the floor looked after all the sanding was done, completely white (not snow white but you know what I mean) I was hoping the color would stay like this but when I applied the poly, (it was clear) the floor took on a light orange/wet floor look. I am assuming it was because the wood soaked in the poly it was still beautiful don't get me wrong but is there any thing out there that will just keep the floor absolutely clear with no added colors? Or is that just the way is going to be with anything I use.
Santos D. Santiago Milwaukee, WI

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yes, he's great! He steered me in the right direction with his expertise , so that my recent floor refinishing turned out pretty well. If I could just have mastered that darn drum sander BEFORE I used it on the living room floor, the entire process would have been up to my nitpicky standards.
Hat's off to Mark!
dave
SD Santiago wrote:

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Wood will change color with any liquid. I often show natural samples with a wet water rag. Oil poly will turn more of the honey/ambered look that many know and love. Straight water based will come out a clearer color but I found it washes out over the years and I don't think its attractive. No depth. My standard is now an oil sealer with water poly. The closest you will get to raw wood is to use a cut white stain. Just enough to keep the color without filling the grain with white. Lot more technique involved. All that is for red oak. Different game for white oak. You need to determine what you have.
M Hamlin

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MSH,
I hope I'm not sounding stupid but what does the sealer actually do, in my last home I debated using a sealer but since I didn't know what it did I didn't. Should I use a sealer in this project if so what type do you recommend? Also, after laying down the first coat of poly, is it really necessary to re-sand? I have been advanced before to re-sand with a 220 grit after the first coat of poly. What do you think of this?
--
Santos D. Santiago
Milwaukee, WI
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I used the term sealer because that's how its sold. That particular one is simply a thinned oil polyurethane. Many finishes are self sealing and a special sealer is not really necessary except to save a few pennies, its cheaper and isn't subject to the same VOC laws as finish. Some of the better water base are not self sealing, meaning they don't stick as well to wood as they do to another coating.
Before I can answer the rest of your questions, I need to know what type of finish you plan on using. This has a bearing on many things including the sanding process. Water or oil?
Back next week... M Hamlin

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IMHO, a drum sander (belt) would be more efficient. Any cross-grain scratches can be removed simply by sanding with the grain.
Dave
snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (SDSantiago) wrote in message

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You've got some good info here. Before you go and try any of it, consider the wood on the floor. How old is it? How many times has it been refinished already? Lastly, do you believe that there is enought area left above the groove to severly sand it again? Once you sand through, you in it deep.
Good luck,
Myx

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Ok, thanks to all your posts I have decided to go with the drum sander. New question is: Should I do the standard 36, 60, 80 then 100 grit? or can I get away with it with less sanding than that. The poly is really dry and even though he added two coats it does not look thick at all. Should I attempt to get rid of the chatter marks with a low grit on the drum sander?
Sorry for the double post!

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you could stop at 80. and don't wear tennis shoes on a bare floor! DAMHITK. suffice it to say I had to resand a portion of the floor, and from then on, wore 2 pairs of socks instead of shoes.
dave
SDS wrote:

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I've never heard of this, what is it exactly?
--
Santos D. Santiago
Milwaukee, WI
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