Many thanks for all the thoughts and ideas. Much and sincerely appreciated. I've tried to answer everyone:
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
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
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
A large drum sander might be a different story however.
It's going that way
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
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
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
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
(1) .... But maybe a halfway house would be to invest in a small thicknesser.
(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.
Assuming that the boards aren't brittle with age ...
Mine aren't too bad thank goodness but take your point regarding third party help.
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.
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.
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........
Interesting. Never knew that, thanks
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
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
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
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