The 57 acres that comprise Cedar Ridge Farm are located in the beautiful rolling hills of South Central Kentucky. My wife, our four children, and I are on a homesteading adventure as we work toward increased self-sufficiency. We grow much of our own food and enjoy being in touch with the agrarian roots of our lives.

One of the major projects we have undertaken is the building of our own home. The house we're building has three major distinguishing features: 1. we're building it without incurring any debt; 2. it is a timber frame structure; and 3. the exterior walls will be plastered straw bales. We live debt and mortgage free, and building our house with that approach makes perfect sense. Large timbers in a home possess a beauty and project a sense of strength, stability, and warmth that we want in our home. Straw bale walls provide insulation and make ecological sense. This blog is a record of our home-building project.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Sanded hardwood floor

I keep working on the house as time allows. In September, I borrowed a friend's old flooring drum sander. It needed new foam on the drum. I bought some off of Ebay with its own adhesive, cut it to size, and adhered it after scraping/sanding off all the remains of the old foam. It seemed to work fine. I used 3/8” foam, but 1/2” would have been better (it ends up requiring the sanding sheets to be have about 1/2” cut off their length – not a big deal). When removing the drum in order to install a belt for the vacuum system, one side of the aluminum frame that holds the drum broke off. I had to repair it using a thin metal plate bolted to the side to hold the broken piece in place. The repair worked fine.

The flooring boards had some variation in height because the level of the tongues and groves was not consistent between all the boards. I’m not complaining – a friend milled the flooring for me, and I know how hard it can be to get everything consistent without an actual flooring mill machine. Because of the variations, I had to do some extra sanding to get the floor surface level.
I started with 24-grit sand paper, moved to 36-grit, 60-grit, 80-grit, and then 100-grit. The sander itself is not as strong and aggressive as I imagine a new machine would be. That was a good thing – less chance of creating divots and hollows in my floor. Doing the edge sanding was more of a job. I used a belt sander, mainly. This worked well.

In all, I spent about two weeks worth of work sanding the floors, but they are now done. Once we get things all cleaned up in the house, we’ll finish them with hemp seed oil. I don’t want to put a plastic finish on my natural wood floors. So, polyurethane is not an option. Besides, if you get a scratch in a traditional poly finish, you have a scratch in your finish that cannot be simply repaired. With an oiled finish, you can repair such things with a little sanding and more oil. An oil finish is not glossy/shiny, of course, but that’s not the look I desire. An oil finish is warm, soft, and durable. Hemp seed oil (and tung oil) is a drying oil – it will harden when it dries (it takes about two weeks to dry).

I’ll update after we get the floors oiled. In the meantime, here are few photos of the sanded floor.


Jessica said...

It looks beautiful! I really like the idea of an oiled finish rather than stained.

Power Tool Hut said...

Nice to hear that brute force isn't everything, and that you've been able to get some mileage out of a less powerful sander. The results look good!