Posted by: mattcolvin | April 25, 2009

Dust Bowl

Since we keep hearing about how this is a second Great Depression, we Colvins decided to have our own Dust Bowl… sandpaper dust, that is. It has been five days since I first started in with a drum sander on our living room and dining room floors. We are not done yet.

The problem is that the floors are coated in very aged lacquer or varnish or something. It isn’t polyurethane; that sanded off easily enough when I redid our living room in North College Hill. Indeed, that earlier refinishing project took about 3 or 4 days from beginning to end. But these floors were impervious to all but the 26-grit sandpaper, which removed a hefty amount of wood from the top of them: I’ve filled three garbage bags with dust.

Of course, a drum sander doesn’t reach to the walls. My dad loaned us his handheld orbital sander, but it could make no headway with its 60-grit paper. No rental places had an edger (the tool for the job), and I wasn’t going to buy one. So I ended up buying 32-grit fiber discs for my 4-inch angle grinder. This is a fearsome machine, and one I rather wish I had not had to use. But it did the trick and removed the finish.

It also generated a huge amount of dust. My dad’s shop vac isn’t up to the job. We bought extra vacuum bags for our Kenmore. We’ll see what it can do. In the meantime, a fine layer of dust is floating through the house… including onto my diecast car models upstairs. Noses are full of dust. We picnicked for supper tonight to avoid the house.

Tomorrow I hope we will stain with red mahogany, and then apply a coat of polyurethane on Monday.


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