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Community and Q&A

Reusing 3/4″ Oak flooring

artisanfarms | Posted in General Questions on

I’m looking at reusing some oak flooring that a local building recycler is selling.  Would there be any advantage to running the flooring through a thickness sander to strip the finish prior to installing and than finish sanding once the floor is in place, compared to just doing a more intense sanding after installation?  

My thought on using the thickness sander is that it would guarantee that all of the stain was removed from the wood before installing and might help with ensuring better color and grain matching across the new floor.  It will add a step though and might end up reducing the total thickness of the floor more than just doing one sanding after installation.

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  1. charlie_sullivan | | #1

    Tough call. It might depend partly on whether you will be living in the space while it's being installed, in which case minimizing the in-situ sanding might be nice.

    1. artisanfarms | | #4

      I'm not living there. I made that mistake once and the rehab took 10 years. This time, I'd like to get it done and enjoy it, rather than have it take forever.

      1. charlie_sullivan | | #7

        Good decision! I'd lean toward sanding in place then.

  2. Expert Member
    NICK KEENAN | | #2

    If there are nails they will destroy the blades on the planer. It's really hard to reclaim wood and get 100% of the nails out.

    1. artisanfarms | | #3

      I'm thinking of a thickness sander, think Timesaver type sander, not a planer for the initial sanding.

  3. frasca | | #5

    I’ve reused the 2 1/4” oak strip flooring, mixing and matching a few lots including brand new. My finisher complained that it was a bit bumpier for him to sand and refinish in place than all fresh stock but nothing that his big drum sander couldn’t handle.

    Even fresh stock has tiny differences both in overall thickness and where the tongues and grooves are, so fresh flooring still has “overwood” that needs to be sanded down.

    I think your thickness sander would still leave that, so I don’t see a huge advantage.

  4. Expert Member
    BILL WICHERS | | #6

    I got a deal on some old wood lab bench tops decades ago from a highschool that was being completely renovated. These bench tops were thick maple, very nice, but very stained. I ran them through a planer (a big commercial planer), and it took off all the staining and left new-looking wood. Everything worked out well.

    I agree any nails are a problem for a planer though. The nails will chip the blades, and the chipped blades will then leave raised ridges in whatever you run through the planer. You need to be very, very careful to get out any remaining nails before running things through the planer.

    Once you've planed the wood, you just have to refinish it and you're good to go. This is a pretty good way to use reclaimed wood if you don't want the "distressed" look.


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