Pine Flooring

I have a cache of salvaged pine planks to use as (bedroom) flooring. Many of the planks have larger than I like nail holes and some large chip divots that I would prefer to fill with an appropriate filler. What filler may be best?
I was told by an oldtimer I can mix sawdust with BLO and press into the holes. I suspect this would make for some "debris" smeared on the upper surface and this may be hard or inconvenient to clean up... I don't know, I just anticipate problems, since I have no experience with this solutuion.
I plan to prefinish the planks today, with at least 1 coat, before installing them and doing any hole filling. I'm not confident the prefinish would be compatible the BLO, if I decide to try this approach. I suppose I could test a few "scrap" pieces, using Sealcoat as a go-between coating.
Any recomendations for filling the large holes? Thanks.
Note: During the planing of the planks, now and again I would blow off the dust and debris, from the planer (and the motor grating/grill/vent end), with the air hose. At one point, the tip of the air nozzle loosened, unscrewed and blew off onto the planer table, inside under the head. I almost didn't notice this.... close call! Check the tightness of your air nozzle tips, so a possible accident doesn't happen with your work.
Sonny
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If the holes are really objectionable perhaps dutchman patches might be an appropriate solution... something I've seen in 200+ year old homes to repair damage. Alternatively, cut out the bad sections and install shorter boards. Distributing the shorter boards around the room, of course, would be better than bunching them all up.
John
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I had forgotten about a dutchman approach. These holes are smaller than what a "normal"(?) sized(?) dutchman would be used for, but your suggestion prompted me to rethink: plugs for especially the nail holes. I don't have a plug cutter. I can certainly carve a modified dutchman/patch for the odd shaped divots, too. I'll test some carvings.
The holes and divots aren't severe enough to warrant cutting out sections and installing shorter boards. Yep, alternating joints are a must.
Thanks. Sonny
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I can't recommend plug cutter enough. I have used them many times on a wide variety of projects. And they can be used on large projects too.
I did a salvage job once on a waterbed. They had sitting boards screwed to the sides. They screwed the boards down and filled with putty. It was a stupid move. The hole was so large that the putty either was too short or too tall for it to be flush.
I cleaned all the old putty out. I pulled the screws out and drilled the holes a little deeper. There was plenty of wood to hold the thing together. I cut some plus to fit and refinished. Which was easy because it was a simple oil finish. When it was finished, you had to look from a couple inches away to see the plug. They just disappeared.
The people were so happy with the job they paid me a bonus! And sent me some more work.
I used to do medieval reproductions. Not real big items. But they did a lot of very intricate carved edges I would just cut a bunch of clear fir (when it was reasonably priced) rout the edges, glue and screw it together. Then I put candle holders on top and screwed them on from underneath. Put in some wood plugs on the bottom, finish it was some nice oil and it all looked like one big chunk of wood that was carved by a master craftsman. Wood plugs are a traditional way of hiding things.
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On 4/6/2012 6:49 AM, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

Was it flooring before and is it kiln dried?
If not, or unsure, something to think about:
You might want to treat it with an easy to apply borate solution _before_ you start finishing.
A couple of years back I built a house where all the flooring was salvaged pine from an old tobacco warehouse in North Carolina. A year later the anobiid beetles started sticking their heads out of the finished floor.
Much easier and cheaper to prevent BEFORE you start finishing that salvaged pine:
http://www.loghomecare.com/preservatives.html
Scroll down to the last section. The first thing I found, DAGS may turn up more.
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http://www.loghomecare.com/preservatives.html

That was a well advised post and link. Thanks. I don't know if they were treated. It was old warehouse wall boards, previously.... someone else got the warehouse floor boards.
Planing them may have removed any previous treatment. The weather is clear and low humidity, today, so a treatment would certainly dry fast. Easy preventative job!
Thanks again. Sonny
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I think if it were me I would follow Karl's advice on the borate solution anyway, just to make sure there wasn't *something* in there. About 5 years ago I turned a large bowl with long sweeping sides on it for a friend from an old ash stump I had. That stump was about 3-4 years old, and had been sitting on a cinder block outside the house aging (read: in the firewood pile).
I turned it, sanded it, admired all the inclusions to that gave it so much character and gave it away. In two weeks there were little bits of sawdust around the bowl, and after that it got worse. I mounted the bowl and cut the walls thinner and there were some kind of borers that has been there all along. I didn't know they could last that long, but they were quite healthy.
As for the floor, I have used different approaches depending on what the end result was to be used for. For nail holes and other small occlusions, i have use a small forstner bit in an electric hand drill, and drilled out the offending area and plugged it with a dowel. Worked great. I got that idea from when I was a helper and it was my job to go behind the carpenters that counter sunk the screws in the work, and I had to back behind them and put a plug in, cut it off with a chisel and sand it smooth.
I used store bought dowels then. But with this you could actually match the grain and just about make your plug disappear:
http://www.mlcswoodworking.com/shopsite_sc/store/html/smarthtml/pages/plgtenon.html
This is my favorite for fixing larger problems and again, you can match the grain pretty easily depending on the wood. One of my amigos has this set and just loves it. He wound up buying a couple more of the patterns, since he had way too much fun playing with this:
http://www.mlcswoodworking.com/shopsite_sc/store/html/smarthtml/pages/router_inlay.html
Robert
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http://www.mlcswoodworking.com/shopsite_sc/store/html/smarthtml/pages/plgtenon.html
That 8 piece plug cutter set is a heck of a lot cheaper than the 3 piece Snappy set (with the same cutters as in the 8 pc set) I just ordered from Woodcraft.
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Yes, but the plug cutter from snappy, is it chamfered plugs or straight. Straight are not as good. I have had both, I sold the straight set. The chamfered work no matter what, while the straight will show.
On 4/6/2012 11:15 AM, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

Snappy set (with the same cutters as in the 8 pc set) I just ordered from Woodcraft.
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actually looking at that again, it appears to have both straight and chamfered... ...
You only need chamfered... They fit no matter what.
On 4/6/2012 11:15 AM, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

Snappy set (with the same cutters as in the 8 pc set) I just ordered from Woodcraft.
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Excellent advice..
"Swingman" wrote in message wrote:

Was it flooring before and is it kiln dried?
If not, or unsure, something to think about:
You might want to treat it with an easy to apply borate solution _before_ you start finishing.
A couple of years back I built a house where all the flooring was salvaged pine from an old tobacco warehouse in North Carolina. A year later the anobiid beetles started sticking their heads out of the finished floor.
Much easier and cheaper to prevent BEFORE you start finishing that salvaged pine:
http://www.loghomecare.com/preservatives.html
Scroll down to the last section. The first thing I found, DAGS may turn up more.
--
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Last update: 4/15/2010
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------------------------------- I wouldn't try to hide the defects but rather accent them.
Mix up some epoxy filled with carbon black and fill defects proud.
When cured, sand flush.
Have fun.
Lew
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

BLO and sawdust won't make much of a filler. Sawdust and some binder that binds a whole lot better works. What binder?...glue, varnish, lacquer, shellac...most anything would be better than BLO IMO; not that BLO *can't* work, just that other stuff is better. There are also commercial wood fillers, some better than others; can't suggest good ones as I don't use them.
Regardless of what you use - including plugs - the dings/holes should be filled and sanded *before* finishing.
Regarding plugs, those can work well; however, if you use them on a bunch of small holes - like nail holes - you'd probably get a better finished appearance using filler.
--

dadiOH
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