LumberJocks

stripping finish off hardwood floor planks

  • Advertise with us

« back to Finishing forum

Forum topic by harum posted 03-19-2019 09:17 PM 449 views 0 times favorited 22 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View harum's profile

harum

351 posts in 1970 days


03-19-2019 09:17 PM

Hello, I have been unsuccessfully trying to sand the finish off these Brasilian Cherry hardwood flooring planks which are leftovers given to me by the neighbor across the street:

With coarse grit sandpaper I can only scratch the finish before it gums up. Not sure what finish this is, it’s thin but pretty hard.

As I need to strip the finish off about ten sq. ft. worth of this flooring, what would be good ways to complete the task in reasonable time without driving myself insane and spending a fortune on sandpaper? Would chemical stripping be an option or it will blotch the wood?

Any comment and suggestion would be appreciated! Thanks, h.

-- "If you're not counting the ripples when throwing pebbles in the water, you're wasting your time."


22 replies so far

View John Smith's profile (online now)

John Smith

1748 posts in 490 days


#1 posted 03-19-2019 09:25 PM

I would sacrifice a short piece to experiment with different
chemical strippers to see what will work the best for your project.

.

.

-- Failure is proof that you at least tried ~ now, go do it again, and again, until you get it right --

View Andre's profile

Andre

2545 posts in 2133 days


#2 posted 03-19-2019 09:54 PM

Only success I’ve ever had was with a jointer and planner for most hardwood flooring, really helps with helical head carbide! Burnt out some HSS blades real quick on some Jatoba.

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

View Aj2's profile

Aj2

2124 posts in 2125 days


#3 posted 03-19-2019 10:44 PM

Some flooring has a industrial oxide finish. Just like sandpaper. :(
The only way I know to remove it is to resaw with a bandsaw.
You might find it cheaper to just buy the wood clean. :)

-- Aj

View harum's profile

harum

351 posts in 1970 days


#4 posted 03-20-2019 02:07 PM

Thank you guys for all the feedback! The flooring planks are 3/4” thick and are probably meant to be refinished at least once later in their life. I just thought that an edger might make a good sander but not sure if renting it is worth it.

-- "If you're not counting the ripples when throwing pebbles in the water, you're wasting your time."

View Snipes's profile

Snipes

392 posts in 2572 days


#5 posted 03-20-2019 03:31 PM

-_-ya that stuff sucks to remove.. throw it outside for a couple years, might come off.

-- if it is to be it is up to me

View TechTeacher04's profile

TechTeacher04

403 posts in 1859 days


#6 posted 03-20-2019 03:59 PM

You could stand the stock on edge and rip the finish off on a table saw. An old blade will burn it some but then you can safely plane it without damage to your planer knives.

View sras's profile

sras

5034 posts in 3456 days


#7 posted 03-20-2019 05:25 PM

I’ve used TechTeacher’s method. It’s worked well for me. I used a newer blade with no burning, but I might have turned it into an older blade sooner than otherwise.

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View LesB's profile

LesB

2046 posts in 3770 days


#8 posted 03-20-2019 08:00 PM

You could try using a paint scraper on them. I like the Warner model 741. https://www.amazon.com/Warner-Paint-Scraper-2-Edge-741/dp/B00J4JB6EM

It has a replaceable double edge blade that can be resharpened multiple times. I do it on my bench grinder but you can probably do it with a fine toothed file. I have tried other scrapers and none compare to this one for removing finishes. I think Home Depot also carries them.

-- Les B, Oregon

View BlueRidgeDog's profile (online now)

BlueRidgeDog

470 posts in 106 days


#9 posted 03-20-2019 08:37 PM

If I was doing that, I would run them through the planner.

View builtinbkyn's profile

builtinbkyn

2927 posts in 1267 days


#10 posted 03-20-2019 08:48 PM

Hard wood and hard finish = tough job. That finish is almost bulletproof. A handheld belt sander and some elbow grease would probably take off the finish.

I had a rental apartment with an engineered flooring with that finish on it. Prior tenant left the floors in a mess. Thought the easy and less expensive option was to refinish. Man I almost wish I went with option 2 – replace. Tough stuff to remove.

-- Bill, Yo!......in Brooklyn & Steel City :)

View Lazyman's profile

Lazyman

3222 posts in 1714 days


#11 posted 03-20-2019 09:03 PM

I think that a paint scraper with carbide blade or belt sander are your best bet. If you pay someone to refinish a floor that is probably what they would do. Might want to scrape first and finish with the sander. Running it through the jointer or planer is going to dull the blades pretty quickly. They really are not intended to be used to remove a finish and you’ll need to resharpen, turn or replace the blades pretty quickly so probably not the most economical approach either.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View 4wood's profile

4wood

11 posts in 281 days


#12 posted 03-20-2019 10:39 PM

This looks like an aluminum oxide finish. Check with your neighbor to see if the have an old box because it will mention it someplace. As you have discovered it is extremely hard to sand. The flooring industry uses a ceramic coated belt. Lowes sells ceramic sanding belts, 4” x24” are $12.99 for two.. I think the best method for you is to use your table saw as mentioned in the above posts. Another possibility is not to remove it and just plane the bottom flat and use that as your surface if that would work with the project you have in mind. Wear a dust mask. the wood dust and the aluminum oxide dust is harmful. Attached is a link from, Wood Floor Business, that you can read to give you more information. Do a search while you are on the link below and there is a lot more information about aluminum oxide.

https://www.woodfloorbusiness.com/sanding-finishing/tips-on-sanding-wood-floors-with-an-aluminum-oxide-finish.htm

View Richard's profile

Richard

11274 posts in 3360 days


#13 posted 03-20-2019 11:38 PM


I think that a paint scraper with carbide blade or belt sander are your best bet. If you pay someone to refinish a floor that is probably what they would do. Might want to scrape first and finish with the sander. Running it through the jointer or planer is going to dull the blades pretty quickly. They really are not intended to be used to remove a finish and you ll need to resharpen, turn or replace the blades pretty quickly so probably not the most economical approach either.

- Lazyman

I ran my Uncles Hardwood Flooring Co. for a couple of years. If Sandpaper just “Gums UP” it’s probably the type of finish that is causing that.

I agree with Lazyman. A Scraper might be your Best Bet. Keep the blade SHARP and free of Residue.
A small, fine double/cut File for Metal is GOOD for sharpening the Blade. Do it MORE Often rather than LESS Often. Do the Outside Edge First, followed by the Inside Edge. Don’t leave a BURR on the edge.

P.S. You haven’t Lived until you’ve Stripped an Entire Solid Oak 2-1/2 Story Winding Staircase for Re-Staining and Finishing! The only place you could use “Power” was an Edger on the Treads! That even needed cleaning up. ALL of the rest was by a Hand Scraper and Sandpaper. Occasionally & Carefully a ROS on the Winding Handrail! & Other accessible Areas.

Hope this helps Harum!

-- Richard (Ontario, CANADA)

View harum's profile

harum

351 posts in 1970 days


#14 posted 03-21-2019 12:21 AM


P.S. You haven t Lived until you ve Stripped an Entire Solid Oak 2-1/2 Story Winding Staircase for Re-Staining and Finishing! The only place you could use “Power” was an Edger on the Treads! That even needed cleaning up. ALL of the rest was by a Hand Scraper and Sandpaper. Occasionally & Carefully a ROS on the Winding Handrail! & Other accessible Areas.

Hope this helps Harum!

- Richard

:) Hope that oak staircase wasn’t aluminum oxide!

I’ve tried my old paint scraper and it worked quite well: stripping a square foot took ten minutes and two scraper blades, two rough blades in each. Need to learn how to sharpen them back to original edge.

As always, thank you guys for all the suggestions!

-- "If you're not counting the ripples when throwing pebbles in the water, you're wasting your time."

View Lazyman's profile

Lazyman

3222 posts in 1714 days


#15 posted 03-21-2019 01:22 PM

You might want to try rounding over the corners of the blade slightly to help avoid the gouging you are seeing there. Be very careful to keep the edge flat as you scrape. With a little practice you’ll get a nice clean surface with just a few passes of the scraper that will require just a quick pass with the belt sander to finish it up.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

showing 1 through 15 of 22 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com