Sanding paper plugging up w/ goo

Q: I am sanding a gunky hardwood floor that has been carpeted over for almost 40 yrs. The paper is plugging up very quickly with, well, I’m not sure what it is. Possibly varathane with linseed oil, or wax?

What can I use to remove this so it can be sanded?

A: You can use a more coarse grained paper. The edger is more apt to cause the heating and smearing. Try quickly skimming with a rough paper to take a lot of it off, and then go back and do it more slowly. Perhaps use a technique called nibbling where, rather than plunge the edger into the mess full bore, you just nip little bits at a time. It is hard and tedious but we have all been there. If you have machines that allow you to run it at a slower speed this may also help since less heat will be created, melting the goo.