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Specifics of My Sanding Process, Part 2

Keith Long
6 2 Implements High Country New

Hello everyone, Keith Long here with Thunderheart Flooring out of Greeley, Colo., for Part 2 of my series on my sanding process (see Part 1). Springtime heading into summer can be interesting weather here on the high plains of Northern Colorado. It snowed a couple inches here the day the local high school seniors had their graduation. Just west of us 50 miles in the Estes Park area, the last school day of the year before summer break was a snow day, as places up there received 36 to 42 inches of snow …

6 2 Implements High Country New

As the years have passed contracting hardwood flooring jobs, I have implemented more dust containment measures. For the first year in this industry, I worked for another company and used catcher bags on the big machine and edger. Once I got out on my own, I got dust containment on the edger immediately. Here is the most recent incarnation of dust collection for my Clarke Super 7R edger:

6 2 Pulse Bac Edger

I look at tools from a cost to benefit standpoint. I learned on a Super 7R edger and am comfortable running it. I know how it performs. I know how to maintain and repair it. Because it works for me, I use it. Other contractors learned on B2’s, or some other brand, and they are comfortable with them. Great! Is Ford better than Chevy? Last I checked, they can both get a person from point A to point B.

I have arrived at the conclusion that tools with moving parts take maintenance. This PulseBac vacuum can be hooked to the edger or vacuum wands. I’ve had it for almost three years now. It does its job but not without maintenance. The filters need to be replaced periodically, and I have broken the same pin a couple times in the inner workings where it pulses the dust off the filters.

I heard of another contractor cutting a short length off of a handle to a gallon paint can and running it through where the pin breaks and crimping it off to keep it in place. Since I’ve done that, I have had no more issues with the pins.

6 2 Edger Upside Down

I edge so that the predominant scratch pattern runs with the rows of boards. I have my edger set up to cut the hottest (most aggressive) just to the right of front and center, which would be at about 1 o’clock. Again, this is what I do. It has worked, and continues to work, for me.

I put non-Velcro, bolt-on 60-grit paper directly on the rubber pad of the edger. Since I had gone over the floor with the multi-disc sander with 60-grit paper straight on the drive plates, there was only about 1½ inches around the perimeter that needed to be edged. Two economical pieces of 60-grit edger paper got this portion of the job done.

6 2 Vacuum

I vacuum the floor every time I believe the project will benefit from it, which is often. I went over the perimeter and the field with the pipe and the wand in preparation for wood filler.

6 2 Walnut Filler

I went around the border and filled any voids in the walnut wood with walnut wood filler.

Next, I trowel filled the entire floor with red oak wood filler. I used a 6-inch putty knife to get the product out of the pail, then spread it with a metal trowel.

6 2 Troweling

I trowel on perpendicular to the rows of boards, which drives the filler down into any gaps running with the rows. Once done with the field, I pick up the excess with the trowel, and put it back in the pail.

6 2 Perimeter Putty Knife

I then went around the perimeter of the room with the 6-inch putty knife and filled anything that needed it. I also looked over the field to see if there were any voids that had sunk and needed to be gone over a second time.

6 2 Floor Filled

The part of the world I live in is arid enough that once I am finished filling the floor, I can get started with final sanding immediately. While doing jobs in more humid locales, I fill one room completely, then get a fan on it for some air movement. Once I get done filling the rest of the floor, the first room is usually ready for final sanding.

Let’s meet up again next week to go through my process for how I prepared this floor for stain and finish.

Until then, stay sharp!

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