OT - refinshing oak flooring - correct sandpaper to use?
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    Default OT - refinshing oak flooring - correct sandpaper to use?

    Greetings all:


    A bit of an off topic question - What type of sandpaper is typically used for sanding hardwood floors - specifically oak? Not asking about the grit progression, but rather the **type** of sandpaper. In the past, I have used zirconium oxide, the zirc does not wear fast but unlike when used on metal, it does not break down and generate new cutting edges when used on wood - so it slowly gets dull. Are there better choices for refinishing oak - such as aluminum oxide, silicon carbide, alumina ceramic (never heard of this before my latest web searching). Your thoughts please as what type of sandpaper would be preferred and why.

    I have refinished floors using random orbital sanders that use 6 inch dia sandpaper with hook&loop attachment. For cost reasons, I prefer to buy 100 count packs of the sandpaper in advance rather than pay the per sheet rate a the rental place. And yes, I know that real floor sanding is done using a drum sander - I don't have a spare floor to practice using a drum sander so I'll stick with the slower random orbital machines.

    TIA

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    Quote Originally Posted by aribert View Post
    Greetings all:


    A bit of an off topic question - What type of sandpaper is typically used for sanding hardwood floors - specifically oak? Not asking about the grit progression, but rather the **type** of sandpaper. In the past, I have used zirconium oxide, the zirc does not wear fast but unlike when used on metal, it does not break down and generate new cutting edges when used on wood - so it slowly gets dull. Are there better choices for refinishing oak - such as aluminum oxide, silicon carbide, alumina ceramic (never heard of this before my latest web searching). Your thoughts please as what type of sandpaper would be preferred and why.

    I have refinished floors using random orbital sanders that use 6 inch dia sandpaper with hook&loop attachment. For cost reasons, I prefer to buy 100 count packs of the sandpaper in advance rather than pay the per sheet rate a the rental place. And yes, I know that real floor sanding is done using a drum sander - I don't have a spare floor to practice using a drum sander so I'll stick with the slower random orbital machines.

    TIA
    "Back in the day", Appalachian hardwood country where pine was an imported luxury, local woods cheaper, be they Oak, Cherry, Hickory, or Black Walnut, we ordinarily used rented walk-behind belt sanders with ignorant "flint" paper and Garnet.

    Wood is still wot it is, millions of years and counting, so those are probably still the least-costly.

    One DOES change the belts OFTEN is all. Raw new, wood is rough, lots to remove, so the wood fines clog. Older floor the Varnish or Urethane clogs.

    Exotic abrasive takes second place to CLEAN belt, so yah wants to keep them CHEAP and swap 'em OUT for new.

    Orbitals - the rectangular pad ones - only for the corners, and drum sanders only if you want to make wooden washboards, BTW.

    Now.. if ALL I had to do was "strip" an otherwise just-fine floor?

    Might get by with the Oreck orbital I own for my porcelain tile, and Scothbrite & steel wool pads. But it would be sore TEDIOUS anything bigger than a bathroom.

    I'd prolly rent an on-yer-knees wide belt sander instead of the stand-up, even for a small room.

    2C and "many" floors worth... Teak in the Hong Kong flat. I did say "local woods"?


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    Closed coat AlOx is used by most of the guys I know using commercial machines

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    Quote Originally Posted by Greenwud View Post
    Closed coat AlOx is used by most of the guys I know using commercial machines
    Refinish? Strip the old finish with chemical stripper prior to sanding regardless of paper type.
    You will be money and time ahead.

    Oh, Alox is fine. It lasts a long time on bare wood.

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    Note that there are walk-behind random orbital sanders with 12"x12" or so footprint. Less easy to make big fast mistakes with than drums. Dust collection options, plus often 120V instead of 220. I have not used one personally, but installers at the house have.

    I use the long-life 3M sandpaper that's green, purple, tan, and clean it with a gum-eraser-type cleaner. Works well on white oak.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chip Chester View Post
    Note that there are walk-behind random orbital sanders with 12"x12" or so footprint. Less easy to make big fast mistakes with than drums. Dust collection options, plus often 120V instead of 220. I have not used one personally, but installers at the house have.

    I use the long-life 3M sandpaper that's green, purple, tan, and clean it with a gum-eraser-type cleaner. Works well on white oak.
    Red Oak was what we had too-damned much of off the sawmill on the farm. G'Mum wasn't impressed with it, even as rough board fencing, gave it a miss.

    Did the trim and staircase in home-grown Cherry.

    Finished out the flooring with home-grown Black Walnut. Cheaper than pine.

    All we had to do was send the rough planks over to the Cousins as owned the local mill, They took a "percentage" as fee. We got back lovely tongue and groove.

    No cash-money involved.

    You'd have to know Appalachia?


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    Quote Originally Posted by aribert View Post
    Are there better choices for refinishing oak - such as aluminum oxide, silicon carbide, alumina ceramic (never heard of this before my latest web searching). Your thoughts please as what type of sandpaper would be preferred and why.
    You don't want the kind of sand paper that has black abrasives which will break off and embed into your oak. It's like you sprinkled pepper all over the floor.
    Fine Woodworking has a book on wood floors that covers everything.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rons View Post
    You don't want the kind of sand paper that has black abrasives which will break off and embed into your oak. It's like you sprinkled pepper all over the floor.
    Fine Woodworking has a book on wood floors that covers everything.
    Can't even remember when last I saw that old "natural" black?

    Point the books should cover is that woods differ. Heart of pine you have rosin ridges build-up. Black Walnut is waxy, Teak is far worse, yet. Red Oak it is compressed ridges of wood fines, Bamboo, a grass not a wood, is chock full of abrasive silicates.

    White Oak and "rock" Maple are actually among the easier ones to sand, don't really need anything all that "special". Oak OTOH, has a coarse grain you have to love. Or not. Maple is a right bitch to expect to hold stain. Use it natural or go pound sand, etc.

    Gets to be too much trouble? Just lay "tarima flotante". The "floating" floor of pre-finished "engineered" laminates.

    Damned good stuff, yah don't cheap-out.

    Never catch ME sanding ignorant Oak again. Cherry or Black Walnut, maybe. But not plain-old OAK!

    I mean.. we are going to WALK on it, not EAT off of it, yah?

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    Sanding screen to remove the finish. Anything else will clog fast. I bought a 12x18 ros standup sander for about $400 on c-list included $100 worth of paper.

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    Rift-sawn white oak is the best in my book.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chip Chester View Post
    Rift-sawn white oak is the best in my book.
    Oak is tough, but also ugly...

    Walnut family - Hickory for example - are way prettier.

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    Thank you all for your replys - I'm off to search for closed coat alum oxide in bulk packaging.


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