Secret To Success - Super Glue to the Rescue
Super glue and sanding dust is my favorite wood filler when sanding. Any part of the wood that may not be solid or stable is soaked with super glue to harden it permanently. Open holes are filled with dust, then super glue, then dust, then super glue until the gap is filled. This makes a strong and somewhat natural looking filler when sanded smooth. A two ounce bottle of super glue costs me $6 and will fill about 500 square feet of character flooring. I also have a box full of latex wood fillers in all different colors, but I don't like the look of plastic fillers. Each homeowner has their own preferences when it comes to filling the holes in a character floor. The more interaction with the customer, the less likely there will be any problems in the future.
These days, I sand to 100 grit and then use a water based, Swedish manufactured Bonakemi Bonaseal to seal the floor. The water raises the grain on most flooring. After it is well dried - preferably overnight, I sand the floor again. At first it makes a mess creating little balls of finish that run all over and melt back into the floor if you move too slowly. This is a frustrating step and takes more time to clean up the finish balls than I want to spend, but the end result is well worth the extra work. The sealer hardens the wood, so the final sanding results in a very smooth surface. I use 100 grit, 120 grit and finish with 150 grit on the big sanding machine, and use a hand held random orbital sander to fine sand all the character features.
Seeing the floor come to life with the sealer and again after final sanding with the first coat of varnish - is so exciting and rewarding. This is the climax of all your work. Only hearing the homeowner's gushing praise when they see it - tops this experience. So I always get the best stuff at the end of the job - Yes, there is the nice paycheck too! The value of our character grade flooring, installed and finished is $8.00 to $12.00 per square foot.
Bonakemi Mega is our favorite varnish, though we use Traffic - a catalyzed finish for extreme use conditions. These water based formulas are low on odors, easy to use, and dry to a natural clear finish. I rarely stain wood before varnishing. If you want dark wood, I'll install dark wood - light wood I'll install light wood. Don't ask me to stain light wood dark!! I love wood - natural wood, and work to show off its true beauty.
Glued-up Panels are the newest craze here at Timbergreen Farm. When I glued-up countertops for my own kitchen this past winter, they suddenly became the center of attention when people stop in for a tour.
Glue-ups let you take small pieces of wood and make large pieces of solid wood for a variety of uses. Using scrap wood to make high value products just makes me excited all over! Making flooring produces tons of narrow pieces of wood and usually they just go into fuel. Cutting boards, bread boards, cheese boards (this is Wisconsin you know), center panels for doors, stair treads, tables, and counter tops are simple to make with the 3-Ds.