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PostPosted: 19 Jun 2007, 11:43 
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Okay, on the floor of my front bedroom I have some lovely original Victorian 7"-ish floorboards.

1) I don't want to hire out a floor sander to clean them up and remove old paint etc, I'd rather do things properly, pull them all up, de-nail, make good and put them through some sort of planer, before finishing them and screwing them back down. I would rather screw than nail as then I won't be shaking the original cornices and plaster rose of the lower floor ceiling. I don't have a standalone planer but might be willing to invest in something for the future

2) I'd also like to tongue and groove them somehow (currently plain boards) but obviously don't want to lose any width - although I have some spare to make up any ground caused by the gaps in the 150 years of shrinkage. I thought about grooving both sides and inserting a 5mm tongue, but am wondering if I can buy stock readily available to do this.

Any thoughts on equipment for (1) and ideas for (1) and (2) would be appreciated

All the best

Ian

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PostPosted: 19 Jun 2007, 12:03 
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A suggestion for (1)

Your local, joinery company may have a large planer, where the long lengths of floor boards will go through in minutes with an even surface, ready for staining / polishing, due to the limited man power / time required I would assume this will be done for a very reasonable price. Especially when you think of the time / electricity / sanding paper you will use.

I appreciate there is northing like doing it yourself however :D

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PostPosted: 19 Jun 2007, 12:25 
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Walnut wrote:
A suggestion for (1)

Your local, joinery company may have a large planer, where the long lengths of floor boards will go through in minutes with an even surface, ready for staining / polishing, due to the limited man power / time required I would assume this will be done for a very reasonable price. Especially when you think of the time / electricity / sanding paper you will use.

I appreciate there is northing like doing it yourself however :D


Thanks Walnut, but do you know what? Birmingham's supposed to be the country's second largest city and the chances of me finding such a company are minimal - unless others know of any. It's poor where we are. I used to know this reclamation yard that helped out with such like, but they soon went. Davies Timber, Wythall (South Brum) might be able to do it though if I ask them nicely!

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PostPosted: 19 Jun 2007, 15:27 
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To refinish boards a planer/thicknesser or a drum sander m/c will do it but one piece of steel and your in trouble .Ply comes in 4 & 6mm thick so you could have tongues cut and route grooves in the board edge. Any board cupping will give you problems and shims will be required to keep floor level with thinner boards

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PostPosted: 19 Jun 2007, 15:29 
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I think finding a workshop that has a planer thicknesser would be easy, I imagine that none would let you run your floor boards through it.
I'm not too sure exactly what the effects of planing off layers of paint will do to the working parts of the machine, but the blades will be blunt very quickly.
A large drum sander might be a different story however.
Where you want to screw the floor boards back down, is this to enable easy access underneath for future needs?
If this is the case then any tongue and groove or spline joint will be troublesome to remove.

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PostPosted: 19 Jun 2007, 15:35 
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I was faced with a similar problem, although the boards I wanted to clean up were probably worse as they were from our barn and were covered in many years' worth of unmentionables and lots of gritty dust.

I tried denailing these and then, as you suggest, putting them through a planer. The problems I had:

Any board that is slightly cupped will have a fair bit removed to get an even finish everywhere; this may not be an issue if the boards are thick enough to start with, and you can finish by putting them through a thicknesser to get them all to the same thickness. Because my boards were already t&g, ending up with boards that were all the same thickness AND had the t&g in the right place was a **&£%**.

The dirt left on the boards after a going over with a wirebrush was still enough to blunt the planer blades quickly, with the result that the finish wasn't very good. I don't have enough experience to comment as to whether old paint would cause similar problems? The dust that came off my boards in the planing process was unpleasant; old paint or varnish could be much worse - decent mask required!!

The one remaining hidden bit of nail in the board will be discovered by the planer blade and make it into an interesting moulding machine instead :evil:

So I would stick all the boards through the planer, with the above caveats, then put new blades in for thicknessing (assuming it's a combined machine.)

As I said, my boards were flooring from a dirty old barn; in the end I found it better to sand them, because of the nature of their original state - I used a Festool Rotex with suitable extractor, and it worked really well - and then finally plane/thickness the ones that were worth using for something special. The rest will go for rough cladding.

That was my recent experience, and quite a learning curve; hopefully someone with rather more experience might be able to give rather more useful advice.


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PostPosted: 19 Jun 2007, 15:39 
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If you've got a van and fancy a drive to junction 5 I can accomodate you, grooves as well.

Dom

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PostPosted: 19 Jun 2007, 15:41 
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Hello Ian,

(1) As said, I doubt any joinery shop would entertain planing secondhand timber for you - too risky. But maybe a halfway house would be to invest in a small thicknesser. A brushmotor portable jobby wouldn't break the bank. They have disposable blades in case you chuff on a nail and still useful for the next project?

(2) I wouldn't T and G cos as wot was already said about access. But you could close your gaps if you put noggins between the joists. Helluva lot of work though.


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PostPosted: 19 Jun 2007, 16:06 
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Assuming that the boards aren't brittle with age and don't just crack when you start lifting them - the pitch pine floorboards in my 1888 house need replacing almost every time I lift one - I'd agree that almost no one in their right mind is going to let you thickness (the machine is a thicknesser and not a planer) recycled boards unless you indemnify them against damage, i.e. nicking, regrinding and wear and tear on their thicknesser blades caused by nails, screws, grit, etc. potentially embedded in the boards. So the most likely companies who might do the job are going to be firms selling recycled timber by machining down old mill beams, etc. Any quality joinery shop would probably not help you out as any damage to a primary machine such as a thicknesser will potentially cost them lots of money in lost production. The same goes for wide belt sanders. People with them generally don't like shoving mucky old boards through their kit as soot off the undersides of the boards can leave marks on the feed belt which are difficult to remove and will mark subsequent materials going through - and almost any house built prior to 1950 will have soot on the underside of floorboards, believe me. Any inclusions such as nails are also likely to damage or even tear the belt(s), which might be OK if you don't mind paying £30 to £50 for a replacement belt (plus the time to load it), but I for one would never have entertained this approach - and I have been asked in the past.

Even if you can get the stuff surfaced, as another poster points out, how are you going to get the tongues and grooves to match up? I'll bet you even money that your T & G is rough sawn on the underside and not planed. It was once common practice (at least until the inter-war years) to surface plane and edge tongue and groove band-resawn boards on a three-sided planer/moulder, often called a matcher-moulder and comprising a thicknessing head and two side moulding heads. These machines generally ran square cutter blocks allowing three sides of a skirting or floor board to be profiled/flat machined in one pass. What did it matter if the back/underside was rough? Nobody would see it once it was installed........

I think the best approach is hire the floor sander and use smaller scale sanders to do the detailed stuff, awkward bits, etc. If the boards are pitch pine the belts will clog with resin (another reason people don't like machining old pitch pine), so get some turps/turps substitute to wash-out the belts regularly. Do not leave the stuff to cool and harden to iron-like consistency overnight, but remove the worst with a screwdriver and spatula every time you take a break in proceedings.

Scrit

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PostPosted: 19 Jun 2007, 16:11 
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Quote:
I'd agree that almost no one in their right mind is going to let you thickness


So what are you saying Scrit :)

Dom

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PostPosted: 19 Jun 2007, 16:53 
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I don't understand why this is worth the effort anyway. Nothing wrong with sanding floorboards.


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PostPosted: 19 Jun 2007, 18:51 
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Many thanks for all the thoughts and ideas. Much and sincerely appreciated

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PostPosted: 19 Jun 2007, 18:53 
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Many thanks for all the thoughts and ideas. Much and sincerely appreciated. I've tried to answer everyone:

DomValente wrote:
If you've got a van and fancy a drive to junction 5 I can accomodate you, grooves as well.

Don't have a van and wouldn't want to screw your equipment. However I would de-nail like mad and am finding your offer tempting and very generous. many thanks for the offer :lol: :D
OLD wrote:
To refinish boards a planer/thicknesser or a drum sander m/c will do it but one piece of steel and your in trouble .Ply comes in 4 & 6mm thick so you could have tongues cut and route grooves in the board edge. Any board cupping will give you problems and shims will be required to keep floor level with thinner boards

Thanks OLD. Never thought of the ply idea for the tongue
MooreToolsPlease wrote:
I think finding a workshop that has a planer thicknesser would be easy, I imagine that none would let you run your floor boards through it.
You could be right
MooreToolsPlease wrote:
A large drum sander might be a different story however.
It's going that way
MooreToolsPlease wrote:
Where you want to screw the floor boards back down, is this to enable easy access underneath for future needs?
No this is to stop hammer vibrations detrimentally affecting the Victorian ceiling and its original decoration underneath. And I don;t want to split potentially brittle wood. If I'm going to the trouble of pilot holes, I might as well screw in a uniform pattern
cumbrian wrote:
Any board that is slightly cupped will have a fair bit removed to get an even finish everywhere; this may not be an issue if the boards are thick enough to start with, .....
Yes this did cross my mind Cumbrian and why I'm thiking about sanding again. But not in situ
cumbrian wrote:
So I would stick all the boards through the planer, with the above caveats, then put new blades in for thicknessing (assuming it's a combined machine.)
Any machine recommendations? I know it's all about budget but let's say budget to intermediate level
cumbrian wrote:
That was my recent experience, and quite a learning curve; hopefully someone with rather more experience might be able to give rather more useful advice.
Thanks for being unselfish and imparting that info
ike wrote:
(1) .... But maybe a halfway house would be to invest in a small thicknesser.
Any recommends?
ike wrote:
(2) But you could close your gaps if you put noggins between the joists. Helluva lot of work though.
Agreed as I've done this with another room. Basically I want to reduce dust, draughts and gaps for loose pennies (showing off boards instead of carpeting). I would create access areas where am replacing crud boards.
Scrit wrote:
Assuming that the boards aren't brittle with age ...
Mine aren't too bad thank goodness but take your point regarding third party help.
Scrit wrote:
The same goes for wide belt sanders. People with them generally don't like shoving mucky old boards through their kit as soot off the undersides of the boards can leave marks on the feed belt which are difficult to remove and will mark subsequent materials going through - and almost any house built prior to 1950 will have soot on the underside of floorboards, believe me.
This suggests hiring a h/d belt sander for a day.
Scrit wrote:
Even if you can get the stuff surfaced, as another poster points out, how are you going to get the tongues and grooves to match up?
I was just going to take the reference point from the smooth top.
Scrit wrote:
I'll bet you even money that your T & G is rough sawn on the underside and not planed.
Affirmative
Scrit wrote:
It was once common practice (at least until the inter-war years) to surface plane and edge tongue and groove band-resawn boards on a three-sided planer/moulder, often called a matcher-moulder and comprising a thicknessing head and two side moulding heads. These machines generally ran square cutter blocks allowing three sides of a skirting or floor board to be profiled/flat machined in one pass. What did it matter if the back/underside was rough? Nobody would see it once it was installed........
Interesting. Never knew that, thanks
Scrit wrote:
I think the best approach is hire the floor sander and use smaller scale sanders to do the detailed stuff, awkward bits, etc.
I think I would go for a h/d hand held as I'd take the boards up and do them outside to save messing up the house
Scrit wrote:
If the boards are pitch pine the belts will clog with resin (another reason people don't like machining old pitch pine), so get some turps/turps substitute to wash-out the belts regularly. Do not leave the stuff to cool and harden to iron-like consistency overnight, but remove the worst with a screwdriver and spatula every time you take a break in proceedings.
Thanks for this advice
DomValente wrote:
Quote:
I'd agree that almost no one in their right mind is going to let you thickness

So what are you saying Scrit :)
Don't worry Dom, I'd make sure you were indemnified okay
Jake wrote:
I don't understand why this is worth the effort anyway. Nothing wrong with sanding floorboards.
I like to do things in a certain way Jake. I want to inspect all the joists and treat/strengthen if necessary. I need to get them up anyway to clean out all the old rubbish and replace some of the dodgy bits. Also, I don't want to sand in situ as the wife has a massive dust allergy

End

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Last edited by kafkaian on 19 Jun 2007, 19:28, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: 19 Jun 2007, 19:19 
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I had this problem recently. I tried sanding the boards and found woodworm. The boards broke when I took them up. We looked at reclaimed timber, but couldn't find any of adequate quality. It had nails left in it. Eventually, we chose new "European redwood" (meaning pine) bought from Jewson. It worked very well in the end.

Instead of T&G, consider a soundproofing membrane. I used T60 membrane,http://www.customaudiodesigns.co.uk/articles/howtofloors.htm, and it really worked.


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PostPosted: 19 Jun 2007, 19:26 
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inventor wrote:
I had this problem recently. I tried sanding the boards and found woodworm. The boards broke when I took them up. We looked at reclaimed timber, but couldn't find any of adequate quality. It had nails left in it. Eventually, we chose new "European redwood" (meaning pine) bought from Jewson. It worked very well in the end.

Instead of T&G, consider a soundproofing membrane. I used T60 membrane,http://www.customaudiodesigns.co.uk/articles/howtofloors.htm, and it really worked.


Thanks Inventor! I too thought about a membrane and will look at your solution. This is the one room I'd really like to preserve as the original in everything from floorboards to fireplaces to skirting etc. Over the months I have done exactly what you have done and replaced with new - apart from period fireplaces, cornices and plasterwork which are all intact.

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