Wednesday, August 03, 2005

The Experiment Continues

Phase four has begun. I started putting the shellac down tonight. I noticed a few swirl marks from the edge sander along one wall that I didn’t notice before. They didn’t really turn up until after I put the first coat of shellac on. Most will be under the cabinets and refrigerator so I’m not going to worry about them.

Phase one was putting in the salvage wood, and we all know how that went. I’ve begun to think more about that experience and I think there is a reason no one put in 1X6 fir flooring 100 years ago. It is really, really hard. Getting a 1X3 or 1X4 board to lay perfectly flat and straight is hard enough, but the wider the board gets the harder it gets to finesse the board to lay against the adjoining board. Nothing in nature is perfect and we seem to make every attempt to bend nature to our will. At some point nature is going to win. This also explains the subtle gaps in the 1X6 redwood flooring in the rest of the house. I guess that’s why you don’t see a lot of that either. Everyone corrects me when I tell them I have 1X6 T&G redwood flooring in the house.

“No, no – that’s sub floor”

“No, there is sub floor underneath it”

“Well, that doesn’t make sense.”

“It makes sense if the T&G redwood is the finish floor.”

“No, that can’t be. There must have been something else.”

This is the point in the conversation that I now give up. I used to argue more, but what’s the point.

Phase two was plug & fill. The plugs worked OK. When a nail sits in wood for a long time the corrosion seeps in to the wood and leaves a black ring that is much larger than the nail. The ring is oval shaped in the direction of the grain. I was able to plug the holes fine, but I was not able get rid of the black seepage in the wood. The putty fill was interesting. Before I sanded it, it looked great. Very nice color that would be a close approximation to the finished floor. However, when I sanded it, it was gray underneath. It was as if the paint had leached out to the top layer. Very strange. It is not as gray as the basic fill material, so it was a partial success.

Phase three was sanding. This was yesterday’s blog entry so I won’t go in to the details. Other than the edge sander it actually went pretty good.

Phase four is the finish. I’m doing a very traditional Boiled Linseed Oil and Shellac finish. Everyone tells me that shellac on the floor in the kitchen is a big mistake. Well, I didn’t get where I am today by taking a lot of advice from people, so here I go again. What’s the worst that could happen. In a few years the floor will look like hell and I have to put down a polyurethane finish. BFD. This finish is taking me about 3 hours and costing about $40.00, so it’s no great loss.

I appreciated everyone’s comments on yesterday’s blog. Perhaps I’m a bit of a Drama King and like to belly ache when things don’t meet my high standards, or maybe the floor really is a big disappointment. Maybe that is something better left for others to judge. I do know that I am disappointed, and that is really what matters to me at this point. In my mind, and I think reality will prove me right on this one, the problems with this floor go beyond the blemishes and imperfections of normal wood floors. There are some real problems with the wood. The only thing that can make this right for me at this point is if I can get some of my money back. Knowing that I got a good deal on it will make me feel a little better about it.


Gary said...

I put two coats of diluted poly over shellac and gave it the wax treatment and it looks like shellac! The poly was put down to protect the shellac, not the wood.

Scott in Washington said...

Ignoramus Question: After you sand and fill and sand the fill, you put down linseed oil, then shellac, then poly? Is that correct? If so did you buff the linseed oil and/or the shellac before applying the poly?

I got as far as sanding and then left off the project and moved on to others. I'm not really sure what to do with the floor at this point.

Gary said...

For SD,
Linseed oil will help preserve the wood and should be diluted 50/50 with turpentine or paint thinner. You then apply shellac that is thinned with alcohol (1# cut or so)to seal the wood. Let dry for 1 hour. Then you lightly sand with 220 grit paper and a palm sander. This makes the wood nice and smooth. Clean dust with a tack cloth. Apply two coats shellac (2# or 3# cut). Let dry. Lightly sand with 220 grit and clean again and repeat as you see necessary. Apply poly over sanded shellac, at least two coats. When dry rub with superfine steel wool and floor wax. Wipe, buff and slide across the floor!

Jocelyn said...

I hope you get some money back- crossing my fingers for you.

Scott in Washington said...

Wow, thanks Gary. I'll file your description away for when I finish the bunk in the wall project and move on to refinishing the floors up there.