carpet padding, DIY, do it yourself, drum sander, edge sander, floor, friend, grashopper, home improvement, humor, photography, sanding, steep driveway
OK, so that’s the third time the phone has rung in that many minutes. Must be important.
So, my EX-friend Ann decided to call here before 5 AM so I could get up nice and early and get the most use out of the floor sander in a twenty-four hour period as possible.
What a friend.
I’ll get her later.
So here I sit on a hardwood floor … no furniture of course … no Ann either. But my dishwasher is loaded and started and the sander has a ripped piece of sandpaper in it.
Remnants of my sanding efforts late last night.
All the furniture is either stacked in an unsittable arrangement in the TV room or out on the incredibly cold front porch.
So I will give you an update on the sanding project before my EX-friend Ann gets here.
Yesterday I met up with my two partners in crime … My EX-friend Ann and Texas Linda … to go to the equipment rental store in Linda’s beloved truck and pick up a drum sander.
The one that does not reach the walls … and gouges the floors.
But I digress.
Never let it be said that three older, decrepit (read: life worn) and enthusiastic women didn’t take a 100 plus pound drum sander and get it out of a truck and up a steep driveway and into the house.
Little did I know that the work had just begun.
Let the sander do the work.
That’s what all the How-To Videos said. And I was more than willing to follow that advice.
Finally getting the drum sander into the living room, I dutifully took a before picture of the floor with all the carpet, padding, linoleum, and peel-and-stick tiles up … and most of the gunk scraped up as well.
The floors really were that dark.
And following the very exact instructions of the man at the rental place, I unscrewed the screws on the sandpaper holder. Don’t take the screws entirely out, he said. Spring loaded, he said. Extra screws taped to the handle, he said. Screws will fly across the room if you do, he said.
It was shortly after we got back to my house yesterday that the words came tumbling out. And validly so. Linda just had shoulder surgery. Ann has a bad back that cannot tolerate vibration.
So guess who gets to do all the Drum Sanding?
Not a problem … after all it is my house and my floor.
Speaking of which … I cannot find the magic cable that links my camera to my computer. It is somewhere in the stacked furniture and computer stuff in the Dining Room / TV Room that is stacked wall to wall.
But that just means that you will have something to look forward to tomorrow, right?
The first two sandings went well. Using 24 grit sandpaper. Rough but well. And the magic started. Lo and behold there appeared to be a good wood floor under all that mess.
Ann is here and is now putting on another piece of 36 grit sandpaper.
She excels at this. Which takes me back to yesterdays story. Following the mans directions to the letter, I had been taking off and putting on sandpaper. Never taking the screws out … not wanting the spring-loaded screws to fly across the room as he promised they would.
So I decided to move to the next finer grit sandpaper … 36 grit … and promptly put a huge gouge in the floor.
“Stop! Stop! Stop!” I heard Ann yell. “There is a gouge being put in the floor.”
Looking down, I saw a long deep gouge about a quarter-inch wide all down the three feet i had just sanded.
The bottom of the sander had a bent screw … again … and was gouging the wood. This was the second time a screw had bent.
They had included several extra screws for just this reason.
But somehow this didn’t seem right. So I looked … very carefully … at the screws and the little bar and the side view. And for all the world, it looked like the piece was in upside down. Shouldn’t there be places for the screws to sink down into the metal bar so they wouldn’t scratch the wood?
It didn’t matter so much with the heavy-duty sandpaper … but this finer stuff wasn’t as thick.
So I broke the rules.
We took out all three screws completely. The one was so bent that Ann had to take it out using a combination of power screwdriver, pliers and sheer brute strength.
There was no spring-loaded anything.
Nothing flew across the room.
And the other side … the side they had face down on the machine … had the deeper holes for counter-sunk screw heads.
They had given us the machine with the piece in upside down.
Girl-Power springing into action here, I flipped the bar, we inserted the screws and all was well.
Ann is now telling me that the paper is on … so off I go to sand for a while here.
Time for me to run to the Doctor for a quick appointment. Do Doctors do quick appointments?
Linda is on her way to the house.
Now this is interesting. I will be away from the house and the house fairies will be working on the edge trim, cleaning and whatnot.
The only way this gets better is if my house was somehow a giant PC screen and I could drag and drop some things and have it all done.
As I walked into the room the sheer beauty of the progress on the floors struck me. How has this happened?
I am fundamentally lazy. Ann and Linda cannot do the Drum Sanding. But they are doing touch up work with small tools … and somehow, the floor is coming to life.
I made a command decision to move to the 60 grit sandpaper and went to the handy-dandy sandpaper holder to get some.
No 60 grit sandpaper.
The papers say there is a 10-pack of 60 grit and a 10-pack of 80 grit.
Reality is there are two 10-packs of 80 grit.
Not a problem. Girl Power. Eighty grit it is. And off I go to use the 80 grit paper.
Flash back to yesterday, when the parting words from the woman behind the counter rang in the air.
“If you are sanding and it doesn’t seem to be working well enough, just lift up the back of the sander as you go and the pressure will do a better job of it.”
So all of yesterday and all of today when I encountered a darker patch that was particularly stubborn, I would lift the sander up off the floor using the strength in my arms only … and sand forward with only the front of the sander on the floor.
Worked like magic.
Weighed a ton.
Reality is the sander weighed between one hundred and one hundred and twenty-five pounds. And I carried this monstrosity for much of the heavy sanding and some of the lighter sanding.
Who is this woman? Cannot be me. But it sure looks like me.
Sawdust covered me … but still …
As the time for the sander rental comes to an end, I can not help but have a huge grin on my face. This is looking phenomenal.
Except for the edge around the room … and the tops of the step going upstairs.
And I realize … now is not the time to skimp. So I am going to get an edge sander to do the remaining work.
We took a long lunch at the local Chinese Restaurant. If anyone wondered why three women with work clothes were eating lunch there, they did not say anything.
I got the Edge Sander.
I am sure it is the right choice.
First, Edge Sanders are cute little things. It is amazing how, once you lug around a beast of a Drum Sander, something like a one-foot tall Edge Sander looks cute.
Second, as we were leaving the house, I looked down and saw two things.
The beautiful floor … and a baby grasshopper that had jumped in from the front room.
Grasshoppers in your house are signs of good fortune aren’t they?
How can I go wrong?
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