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Posted on August 27, 2023
Floor sanding techniques
When it comes to orbital sanding, preparation is not merely a task; it’s an art. You, dear reader, stand on the precipice of woodworking prowess, where mere seconds of carelessness can spell disaster for your floor or furniture piece.
So, let us embark on a journey—one that meanders through the byways of impeccable preparation for that inevitable waltz with the orbital sander.
Before delving into the nitty-gritty of room prep, familiarise yourself with the beast you’re about to unleash. The orbital sander, my friend, is not a trinket to be trifled with. Its rotating and vibrating mechanisms allow it to remove material in a jiffy. In the hands of an amateur without due preparation, chaos will undoubtedly ensue.
From porcelain figurines to your cherished family portraits, rid your workspace of them! There’s more airborne dust in a sanding session than at a desert music festival, and you wouldn’t want Aunt Mabel’s 100-year-old vase to become a casualty.
Ever been to a good British picnic? Just as you’d lay out a blanket for your sandwiches, lay out a drop cloth for your room. Invest in heavy-duty canvas cloths. They’re less slippery than plastic and sturdier, and you won’t end up doing a slapstick skit with your sander in tow.
If your room boasts vents or air conditioning units, it’s imperative you cover them. A simple masking tape and plastic sheet ensemble will do the trick. Remember, dust is like that gossiping neighbour—it gets everywhere, and fast!
Orbital sanding is not the time for mood lighting. Equip yourself with strong, movable lighting. Being able to spot imperfections or missed patches is crucial. As the British say, “It’s no use shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted.”
Safety goggles, ear protectors, and a quality dust mask are non-negotiable. And, while a cuppa is undeniably the British solution to every predicament, ensure it’s enjoyed away from the sandy war zone.
Before you even think about powering up that sander, give your floor or furniture a thorough cleaning. Remove any nails, staples, or splinters. A simple brush-down can prevent scratches or gouges that might have you rueing the day you took on this endeavour.
Partition the sanding area if possible. It’s about minimising the impact. Hang plastic sheets from the ceiling to the floor, creating a makeshift sanding chamber. This will keep the dust confined, ensuring the rest of your dwelling remains as clean as a whistle.
It’s not enough to have your orbital sander at the ready. Keep sandpaper in various grits close by, a vacuum cleaner for interim cleans, and tack cloths to wipe down surfaces post-sanding.
Preparation isn’t just about the space; it’s about the sander-wielder too. Before engaging with your project, practice on scrap wood. Understand the pressure needed, get a feel for the machine, and ensure you’re moving it in the right direction. There’s wisdom in the old adage, “Measure twice, cut once. Or in this case, “practice twice, sand once.”
Before you plunge into the depths of sanding, ponder for a moment your choice of sandpaper. As varied as our beloved British weather, sandpaper comes in a vast array of grits. Starting with a coarser grit lets you remove imperfections with ease, while subsequent finer grits give your workpiece the finish it deserves.
Beyond the physical artefacts in your space, mentally prepare for the storm—the dust storm, that is. Orbital sanding generates a remarkable volume of dust.
In our fast-paced world, it’s tempting to rush through tasks. However, orbital sanding isn’t one to be hurried. Maintaining a steady, unhurried pace ensures uniformity. Rushing could lead to uneven removal or, worse still, gouges in your precious workpiece. After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was the Tower of London.
Once you’ve whizzed your way through sanding, a little bit of aftercare goes a long way.
To wrap it up with a neat, British bow, orbital sanding can seem like a Herculean task. However, with judicious prep, you can ensure the process is smoother than a cup of Yorkshire tea. Put in the groundwork, respect the power of the sander, and you’ll have a finished product that would make even Her Majesty proud. And now, if you’ve followed these steps to the letter, I believe you’ve earned that cuppa. Cheers!
We provide virtually dust-free sanding with our continuous belt machinery with mobile extraction units, giving you a safer environment for your family.
This organic finish not only adds beauty to your home but also has exceptional water-repellent characteristics, making it easier to clean and maintain.
This natural floor finish offers the softest and most mellow appearance – and leaves your floor able to breath.
Using soft buffing machines (and hand-polishing where required) will bring a wonderful sheen to your newly-finished floor.
We offer a full assessment of your wooden floors to determine what repairs are needed to provide the perfect working surface for the later stages of sanding, staining and sealing.
We offer a comprehensive restoration process designed to address floors that are improperly fitted or damaged over time through wear and tear.
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