Cleaned up and ready for stain. The last couple days have had me on a sort of self-imposed deadline. I really don’t feel like living in squalor anymore, so I booked the maid for today, Sunday. That meant that I had Friday night and all of Saturday to complete the sanding, pull down the plastic curtains, and start cleaning up. Saturday night I HAD to be done with the sanding. My requirement for myself.
Rented the floor sander on Friday night. Broke out the 36 grit and busted my ass for about five or six hours until about 12:30am. Just as I was gonna switch paper and go up to 80 grit, the machine broke. Sort of an argh moment, but I figured it’d be a good time to quit for the night anyway. So at that point, I’d run the really coarse stuff, gotten all the heavy noise off the surface, and was ready to move on to the medium grit, followed by the fine grit for the buff. The heavy work was done.
Woke up early on Saturday, bombed up on the espresso, walked the dogs, and lugged the sander back to the truck. I think the thing weighs a couple hundred pounds. If it was three ounces heavier, I would’ve needed help. Got to Home Depot in Carson after 9AM, explained the situation to the guys, and they checked it out. They apologized, said something on it busted, and it’s just one of those things. The chances of the “thing” going out with me would be less than one in fifty. They happily gave me another one, which I needed to have back by 6PM.
I got back to the house after breaking my back another couple times, hauled the thing into my little plastic-curtained dust corridor, put on some new 80 grit paper with a brand new pad, and plugged the thing in. It went on for about two and a half seconds, and then, guess what. Yeah. DOA.
You’ve gotta be kidding me. A sign, I told myself. Must be a sign. Do I really want to break my back to take this thing back yet again, only to run into the same thing three times? And only to run medium and fine grit? Do I really want to spend the fourteen hundred dollars in gasoline to make the extra trip to Home Depot on a late Saturday morning, only to circle back and have to return the thing at the end of the day? And do I really want to go in there yet again and explain that I’ve busted one of their machines again, even if I really didn’t?
Nah. Fuck it.
I broke out my old friend, the Ridgid R2720 3×21 Belt Sander, and threw on some 80 grit belts that I had bought anyway. Strapped into my Vader mask, grabbed a pillow for my knees, and got busy. Ran five belts of 80 grit, followed by two belts of 120. Done. Returned the floor sander with no questions asked, came home, pulled down the plastic, vacuumed the ceiling, vacuumed the walls, and watched Caddyshack.
Maid came today. Did a fantastic job. Poor thing. Took her almost seven hours to clean up this war zone. As soon as she left, I found an extra package of orbital sander disks, 220 grit. Extra-super-ultra-maximum-mega-fine. The 5″ disks go on the hand-held Ridgid Random Orbit Sander, borrowed from the same cat who let me use the belt sander. As I found this package of disks, I figured to put ’em to good use, and run ’em all over the floor before I do the stain. Nice and fine. 220. Two-twenty, two-twenty-one, whatever it takes, right?
I knew there would be a dust issue, so I rigged a cardboard box with an armhole cut in it. Here’s what I was gonna do: take the cardboard box, turn it upside down, doming the orbital sander. I cut the hole for my arm, and figured I would be ready to roll. And, I sorta was.
I ran ten disks over the floor, and about halfway through, I noticed dust coming out from the crack between the bottom of the box and the floor. Like a windstorm blowing dirt under your back door. Dammit. But too late. Damage is done. Keep going. I went as fast as I could, and got all the way through. Towards the end the dust was getting worse; the more full the trap bag is in a sander, the more subsequent dust you’ll get spewed in the room. It’s just a matter of physics. Dust seeps through the canvas bag, and will do so more and more profusely as the bag fills up.
So to make a long story a sentence longer, I basically ended up undoing the maid’s fabulous vacuum and mop job in the living room. Also needed to go and re-dust everything. Argh. I should’ve ran the 220 with the curtains up, but I didn’t know I had the disks. The good news is that the floor is as smooth as the proverbial baby’s bottom. Which is actually quite an amusing expression, but it probably warrants another conversation. We’ll do it some other time.
There have been lots of things I’ve learned on this project. One of the most important things I’ll take with me: MAKE DAMN SURE YOU’RE DONE SANDING BEFORE YOU BRING THE MAID IN.
Now it’s about the staining. I picked up a quart each of Minwax Natural and Ebony. I’ll be bluetaping the entire piece tomorrow, doing the Natural on every tile in the sequence. I’ll let that dry for a week, and then we’re off to Vegas for the weekend. After that I’ll get on the masking for the Ebony squares, and binarize the whole thing. That’ll basically be like a painting session, calling for accuracy and patience. It’ll be a true Zenny night, that one. After that, it’s the polyurethane.
After that, we dance on it. You coming?