Where to apprentice to learn floor sanding

Q: I am at wits end. I have reclaimed wooden antique long leaf pine floors installed in my house. I first tried to sand them myself with a rented floor sander (from Home Depot) and got a “few” chatter marks. I quickly stopped working on the floor. Reading on the internet, I decided the best thing to do would be to hire a professional.

The professional, *************, promised he could get rid of my chatter marks. After he sanded and put finish on the floor, instead of getting rid of them, the ENTIRE FLOOR now has waves (chatter marks) ALL OVER IT, much worse than ever before, about an inch apart. First he told me “pine floors all do that”. Next he claimed it was my floors fault. Then he again changed his story and said it was “one of those unexplainable things in the universe”. I talked to several other flooring people in my area and had another older, basically retired, flooring person come out and look at the floor.

He told me that the flooring WAS INSTALLED CORRECTLY and it was that the previous refinishers sanding equipment was not adjusted right and this caused the chatter marks (which seems to make the most sense from what I have read on the internet). I have been unable to find anyone who has the knowledge or willingness to fix my floors. I am already out $6400 being ripped off by he who left the chatter marks. The floor is just terrible (unacceptable).

I cannot sell this house for any where near what I have in it so that does not seem like a reasonable option either.

My question to you – Since I cannot find anyone in this area to do any decent work, can you recommend anyone, anywhere in the continental United States that I could go work for, for free, that would be familiar with this chatter mark problem and how to get rid/avoid it. At this point, all I can figure to do is to learn how to sand floors myself so that I can one day fix my own floor. I am willing to move to their location and go to work for them for several months to try to learn how to sand wooden floors correctly. I know that sounds ridiculous, but I simply do not know what else to do at this point? Is there a school I could go to and learn how to sand floors without chatter marks (hands on, not just reading a book) and if so where is it located?

Thank you for any suggestions to help point me in the right direction.

A: I may as well send you to the top for answers to what you wish to do. Do a search for National Wood Flooring Association and contact them. They do have training schools. I have their magazine sent to my inbox regularly.

If ones equipment and drum are functioning correctly the one issue with pine (besides generally a high resin content) is the knots. All the wood around the knot is very soft but knots themselves are very hard. So the sander tends to dish out more material surrounding these knots. If these waves are everywhere, even in areas with few to no knots it is likely an equipment problem. When dealing with a floor that has waves, if it is then sanded in a straight direction following the lengths of the boards, the drum will follow the contour of the floor and the waves will get worse. First the floor would have to be sanded on a bit of an angle.

One thought on “Where to apprentice to learn floor sanding”

  1. wow. brutal. Realizing that this post is very old, how did it all work out? what part of the country are you in?

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