Voids and splintering

Q: I’m restoring a century old owner-built adobe with worn *** wood floors. There is no subfloor, just 2×8 floor joists 20 in O.C. resting on crude shimmed up piers, but solid. The flooring is 3/4 inch, pine I think (soft). It was covered most of its life but was probably of poor quality originally. The way it was sawn caused unusual wear patterns the entire length of a few of the boards, where the wood easily splinters and chips, naturally with the wood grain. I want to preserve this floor but how?

It has no finish, no nothing, just old wood (and quite dry). How much will sanding help? What should I use to fill the voids? Due to the nature of the wear, some patches will be long, but very thin, almost a veneer. Could multiple coats of polyurethane fill these smaller voids and protect the floor from splintering? Can I oil or otherwise condition the wood first?

A: I would sand with the finest grit that will get the wood clean, while removing as little stock as possible. After a good cleanup, I would go for at least 2 coats of Waterlox tung oil based penetrating finish followed by 2 coats of polyurethane of your choice. However, If you like how the Waterlox looks, you could simply go with that as your finish and apply 4 coats initially. This product is so easy to freshen up with another coat, virtually anyone could do it.

As for the cracks, you might consider a top quality wood filler such as Timbermate. www.timbermate.com. This can also be purchased from CCI. www.cumicanada.com