Meanwhile, because one of the rooms here at the bunga-mansion is currently empty, and the selection of potential tenants is, shall we say, underwhelming, I decided that this would be the ideal time to finish finishing the floor, a project started about three tenants ago, I think. When I bought the house, this particular room had wall to wall carpeting and painted-over wallpaper. The carpeting was the first thing to go, the wallpaper was next. Under the wallpaper was the original green tinted plaster, albeit with lots of white spackle over later holes ( those have been touched up with watercolor so now it's all more or less green. The floor was covered with what appeared to be brown paint, but after a few solvent experiments, it turned out to be tinted shellac. So I started removing it with alcohol. This was fairly labor intensive, so I ended up just doing a two foot strip around the outer edges, then I covered the rest of it with an area rug. But the areas that had been stripped had no finish except some residual shellac, which wasn't very protective, especially because tenants aren't known for the gentle ways they treat other people's property. So this seemed like an opportunity to get some real finish on ALL of the floor.
Now, if I had money, I could have just called the floor people and they would have done the whole thing in two days for about $400. Or I could have rented a floor sander. However, I've seen enough softwood floors messed up by people who thought they could do it themselves- an out-of-control drum sander with 40-grit paper on it can turn a fir floor into something resembling a roller coaster in record time. So I'm doing it with an orbital sander- slow, but little danger of ruining the floor. It's taken me two days to sand about a third of it with 60-grit paper- still have to go back over it with the finer grits. The shellac gums up the sandpaper, so I've taken to scraping the majority of it off with a carbide scraper first- also a bit labor intensive. I think I'm going to finish the floor the same way I'm doing the kitchen cabinets- several layers of orange shellac with a couple coats of polyurethane on top. If it were just me here, I might dispense with the polyurethane (all the floors were originally shellacked- there's a closet downstairs that still has the original finish), but with tenants, you kinda need something that can't be immediately ruined by water or alcohol.
One other thing- only a few blog posts in and I already had my first troll! Gist of her comment: "Stop whining and write some more books." Yeah, 'cause I can just whip out a book in my prodigious free time.