Finding Sanding Scratches

mike_kaiser_gwSeptember 12, 2009

Although this is technically about flooring, it's a problem that woodworkers face and I know some pretty smart folks hang out in this section...

I've been slowing working on refinishing a small area (~50 sq. ft) of strip, red oak floor. SWMBO has decided on a fairly dark stain so I need to be pretty darned careful with sanding. When I've sanded furniture I've used tricks like looking at the surface at a low angle with a back light or wiping it down with mineral spirits. With a floor it's hard to get my head low enough and I really don't want to be using flammable chemicals in the house.

Any suggestions?


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Use a high powered flashlight or even an auto garage-type, corded trouble light, and just lay it on the floor and move it around to scan for scratches. You don't need to get your head down low. It helps to do this when it's dark out as you'll have good contrast then.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2009 at 1:07PM
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You could use some solvent/thinner for the stain to wipe on a thin coat. That usually reveals scratches that can be sanded out prior to applying the stain. After you get the surface prepared the way you want it, the stain should yield a consistent color.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2009 at 4:54PM
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A fluorescent trouble light (single straight tube) can be placed on the surface and then tilted to provide almost a slit with the light washing across the surface.

Defects stand out very well.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2009 at 11:43AM
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