Tuesday, October 14, 2008

As Good As It Will Get

I must admit, I like to take sandpaper to wood. I like to see the grain reveal itself as the finer sand paper is applied. Sanding is an art form that can never be mastered, and it is a task that can never be finished.

I like sanding by hand and hearing the swish, swish of the paper. But for a job this size (because now I have added the dining room and laundry room, both of which need refinishing), I needed to rent some big tools. Big, loud, foul, bad-tempered, dangerous tools that cut things into tiny pieces. A drum sander can rip a layer of oak away in seconds, turning hardwood into a powder, which explains the picture to the right. I hung some plastic here and there to prevent the dust from wandering into other parts of the house. If Dexter had a thing for wood, it might look like this.

Normally, I am into big tools. I spent Sunday with the big sander, punishing my poor floor with brute force. Soon I learned that the sander would not reach several tight spaces in the kitchen and pantry and (almost to my relief) it became clear that I would need to be down on my hands and knees sanding by hand for three days, studying the boards face to face, working where the big sander could not reach. You might say "What a lucky guy, on his hands and knees for three days" but don't be so quick to envy me. You have your share of fun, too, I'm sure.

Willow drools and sheds hair and Cheryl spills things, and the poor, unfinished and defenceless floor could not survive without its protective coat for much longer. I cannot sand forever, no matter how much I might like. A deadline had to be imposed, and today was it. Time to varnish. So here I am, waiting for a coat of varnish to dry so that I can apply another.

Now there's nothing to do but wait. The time for sanding is past.

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