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Old 09-09-2011, 05:15 PM   #1
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newbie repair underway, with photos


Hey everyone, i've been lurking the forums for a while now, and i've found a lot of helpful information here. I am 23, and have not much woodworking experience to speak of, but I am in the process of restoring a 90 year old hardwood floor, in terrible shape. So to anyone who can help me or benefit from me, Here's my story:

My girlfriend and I recently moved into a property in Columbus Ohio, and the price was great, but we hated the carpet (there was even carpet in the kitchen - yuck), and we both really like hardwood floors.
well, i decided to pull back a corner of the carpet, and sure enough i found very old and dirty hardwood floors. The house was built in 1920, and the floorboards look original (no kidding).
I found out a few things very quickly. 1: this is not tongue-and-groove flooring, its basically decking, nailed directly into the floor joists.
2: there is no subfloor.
3: this was the worst looking floor i had ever seen.

I decided all the carpet was coming off anyway, so i went ahead and removed all the staples and tack strips, and vacuumed up MANY POUNDS of a mysterious fine white powder that i found beneath the underlayment (if anyone else knows what it was please tell me...i wore a respirator for precaution)

Here is what the floor looked like at that point:
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Old 09-09-2011, 05:24 PM   #2
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Those holes you see in the picture above are the places i removed a couple 2x6 pine boards that had been used in a repair, probably before the floor was forever covered in carpet (or so they thought). the longer board was easily removed by going to the basement, and impacting it with the handle of a shovel. the smaller board was obstructed by a heating vent, so i had to pry it off, and broke off part of the neighboring floorboard by accident. lesson learned.

Anyway, the plan was to replace the pine with oak boards, just to make the house happy. found 11 feet of 3 1/2 width oak at 5th ave lumber, ripped it down to 3 1/4, and cut it to size. here it is ready to be nailed down:

and the other one


obviously it looks like a repair job, but im hoping it will look a little more uniform when its sanded and stained....and 90 years older.
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Old 09-09-2011, 05:39 PM   #3
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I took a few more pictures highlighting some problem spots, so everyone chip in if you can help me out. im basically starting from scratch knowledge-wise.

Here's my biggest headache right now. a bathtub sized piece of plywood instead of floorboard. its easy enough to replace i guess, just costly in terms of boards:

maybe i'll just put a rug over it for now. did i mention this was a rental property?
The tile will be coming out as well, my girlfriend and i feel we can tackle the job of replacing it. dont try to talk me out of it.

heres another headache: rotten board by the door. the leak has been repaired from what i can tell, but the board was never replaced. also, you can see i need some sort of molding to put along the stoop so nothing falls into the basement:


heres a floorboard that might not be salvageable? idk. we will see. i like the "barn floor" effect, believe it or not, but i dont like splinters.


and ive been trying to figure out what to do about this - a hole where an electrical outlet might have been? thats what it seems like to me. anyway, i might tack a board on from beneath, then drop a block of wood in the hole, and not step on it. did i mention this was a rental property? lol.


And lastly, heres the gratuitous shot of the only tools (besides the shovel and the shop-vac) i've used so far. wonder bar, wide-mouth pliers (great for staples), large flathead screwdriver (also great for staples, and prying), and the hammer.
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Old 09-09-2011, 05:42 PM   #4
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Well thats all ive got for now, the library's closing.

im going to pull out the last of the nails and staples tonight, and then its on to sanding i believe. unless my landlord wants to pay for the boards to patch that plywood section...

so my question for all you who care - would it be better to use a drum sander or an orbital sander on this floor? and if so, what grits would you start out with? im thinking i might have to go as low as 30 to rub out some of the splinters, then 60, then maybe 100?

any input is greatly appreciated. i'll be back soon, folks!
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