Jumping the Gun
Finished surfaces bring out my inner anal-retentive, type-A personality. While vacuuming the floor in preparation for the staining, I notice faint whorl markings in a few places on the floor. I believe these are from the edger. I’m not sure if I missed these spots with the finer grit papers or if it was something else I did or didn’t do. In any case, there were all these little lines cutting across the grain of my floors. This was unacceptable. I did what anyone else would do. I got out a wad of sandpaper and our new sander. With a combination of hand sanding and the power sander, I start working on the floor. After a while, my wife came in and caught me on digital-film.
Wife: “What are you doing? Are you done vacuuming yet?”
Me: “No. I’m trying to get these marks out.”
Wife: “What marks?”
Me (pointing): “These.”
Wife: “I don’t see anything.”
Me: “You don’t?”
Wife: “Nope. I have bad eyesight though. I believe you, but I just don’t see it. Let me know when you’re ready to stain the floor. I’ll come and help.”
A while later Rhea and a couple of her friends stopped by to see the house. I was still sanding.
Me: “Rhea, you have good eye sight. Come here and look at the floor. Do you see these swirls?”
Rhea (looking confused): “Swirls?” She leans closer, “I don’t see anything.”
Rhea and her friends enjoyed looking at the Queen. Apparently, we’ve crossed some mystical boundary. Instead of running in terror or cowering in fear, people are finally beginning to respond positively to the Queen. We actually hear comments like, “she’s beautiful, I can’t wait to see her when she’s done.”
Finally, I was satisfied with my sanding job. Well, sort of. There were still a couple of spots (behind the tub) I would have liked to sand until the November elections, but I decided it was time to move ahead. I don't figure that anyone besides me will crawl over the clawfoot tub, wedge their head between the wall and tub, and press their face to the floor to check the wood grain, so everything should be fine.
I methodically vacuumed the floor with the shop-vac. One tip regarding shop-vacs: if you buy the cool filters to keep the exhaust vent from blowing the fine dust out the backside, be sure to empty the dust-bin before you start. The filter doesn’t help if there is already crap in the dust-bin. After the vacuuming, we went over the floor with tack cloths several times, and then we were ready to breakout the stain.
I’d love to tell you what stain we used, but I can’t remember. We bought it ages ago, and all I remember is it’s something-pecan. Maybe. In any case, I like the color. My wife and I quickly covered the floor (brushing with the grain) using two, two-inch chip brushes (cheap, throwaway painting brushes). We waited about five minutes and then marched back in to rub the excess off (also with the grain) using some cotton rags. The funny part was there really wasn’t much excess. The wood floor is at least sixty years old, so it was real thirsty.
And, here is the finished product.
And, if you're wondering how we kept our big, nasty foot prints off the floor, we used shower caps.