Ralph’s step by step instructions:
01) Remove molding
02) Vacuum all cracks
03) Wipe floor down with damp rag & let dry
04) Sand lightly with ridig sander (finishing paper) or by hand
05) Vacuum floor
06) Repeat steps 2-4, 3 times
07) Wipe floor down with alcohol, let dry
08) Mix 1 qt: 1/2 5 lb. shellac & 1/2 alcohol
09) Using 1″ fine brush — paint on slowly in direction of grain, board by board, no bubbles
10) Clean brush
11) Repeat step 9-10, 2 times
12) Using 1″ fine brush – paint on (1) coat un cut 5 lb. shellac in direction of grain, board by board
13) Let dry for 1 week
14) Sand and shellac molding using the same process. replace molding
15) Clean brush
16) Apply 1 even coat of spar varnish on floor & molding — let dry for 1 week
17) TAKE PICTURES — Floor will be like a mirror AND LAST
I understand I do an overkill, but the quality of the results are worth it, to me. I only use shellac/brush.
I have wood I did in this manner 45 years ago. I looks like I did it last week. If you want a quality job you have to put in the time and effort. This may not be for everybody. I hate the words “cost effective” — to me this means a cheap/quick schlep job.
I have gone through 8 pen knives scraping corners.
For a few pennies more you go first class.
Craig’s suggestions: I would question using “shellac” as a seal coat. It contains a natural wax which will not allow adhesion of other top coats. There are de-waxed shellac products that offer better results. Zinsser universal sealer or Dura Seal Universal Sealer are good choices. Good adhesion on both sides of the shellac.
The main advantage of de-waxed shellac is it’s adhesion properties on certain old floors that contain “contaminants”. Current floor finishes far exceed such finishes generally. Everything has its place and time. With de-waxed shellac, you can coat in about 45 minutes.
I think wasting 8 pen knives, scraping corners, was unnecessary. You could have bought a hand scraper and fine edge file, and done the job a lot better and faster, not even coming close to using up the one blade.
I would consider your methods out of touch with modern technology.
(But to each his own cup of tea, eh?)