Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Move Over, Daniel-san

Let's first admit one thing. I'm not a handy man.

Some guys instinctually are at home with power tools, blue prints and a pile of boards. I'm more like the guy whose wife alerts the local rescue squad when he's undertaking a major home maintenance project.

But when we called a professional to refinish the hardwood floors in our front room, he said he was booked up the next three to four weeks. Three to four weeks? But . . . all the carpeting had been pulled up already. All the furniture is out and is in our family room, making that room as cozy as an igloo on Thanksgiving (Wendy says it reminds her of our days living in an apartment). Something had to be done now.

There's no need to fear . . . Big Dave is here. Well, actually that's not so good, but we had no choice. First stop, Home Depot to rent a power sander. There are basically two types of floor sanders. One is a belt sander that will rip through varnish and paint with a speed and fury that rivals that Tasmanian Devil from the cartoons.

Not for me. I instead rented an orbital sander that was less likely to eat through the floor if I had to stop to sneeze. Got it back home, set it up, plugged it in, threw the switch and it rumbled to life . . . just for a few seconds before the motor stalled and the machine went silent.

Did I break it already? This was ridiculous. Then I saw a tag that said, "To reduce nuisance tripping, use a 20 amp outlet." Show of hands, how many out there know what that means? I figured it had something to do with my machine sputtering to a halt. After I re-set the circuit-breaker in the basement, I found a different electrical outlet that I thought should handle this beast.

Bingo. The sander whirred to life and started dancing across the floor. Seriously, that's what it felt like sanding my floor, sometimes I would lead and pull the machine where I wanted it to go; other times it led me down its own primrose path. After about four or five hours, I had stripped the floor as bare as I was going to get it. Even Daniel-san from the Karate Kid couldn't sand the floor any cleaner.

The next day I applied the stain, a medium oak color. Then for the finish, I picked out a water-based polyurethane because it was quick-drying. However, when I e-mailed my dad what I had done and where I was going, he responded:

"I don't like to say this but I don't like water base polyurethane . . . "

Aarrrgggh! My dad is a handy guy so I follow his advice. I exchanged the water-based poly at Home Depot for oil-based polyurethane. Two coats later and you can see the result. Not bad, I'd say, even if it took me more time than I wanted. This room normally serves as the dining room for Thanksgiving. Obviously not this year, not in this condition.

So Thanksgiving is at my sister-in-law's house this year while our floor dries out and cures. I can finally relax, for now anyway. And happy Thanksgiving to all my family and friends, both inside and outside cyberspace. May you all have something to be thankful for. I'm thankful that my next home makeover project involves re-carpeting, something we'll leave to the professionals.


Blogger Lynilu said...

Happy Thanksgving, Dave!

And that floor .... gorgeous!

7:36 PM  
Blogger Carine said...

Happy Thanksgiving Dave.

My husband refinished the floors in our last house about 25 years ago. He did a beautiful job (just like you!), we loved it-even the 2 day stay in a hotel w/ 2 very little kids.

What we didn't love was the breaking of a water pipe in the kitchen 6 months later.

2:42 PM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

LYNILU--Now just to put a few throw rugs around. I'll bet they'd have some pretty ones available in your neck of the woods there in New Mexico.

CARINE--A broken water pipe would be my worst nightmare. Water pressure and I don't get along. The most I would do in that case is to turn the water off and call a plumber.

4:48 AM  
Blogger TechnoBabe said...

Great job, Dave. The floor looks so nice. I like your description of dancing across the floor with the sander. Hope your Thanksgiving at your sister's place was great with all your family who were there. Tell your dad we are all in awe of his home project knowledge. If I ever have any questions I will ask you to ask your dad!

9:42 AM  
Blogger CAROLDEE said...

Hope the fumes don't overwhelm you..the floor looks really nice! You did great job! Hope your day was good too!

1:35 PM  
Blogger CAROLDEE said...

Hope the fumes don't overwhelm you..the floor looks really nice! You did great job! Hope your day was good too!

1:35 PM  
Blogger CAROLDEE said...

Hope the fumes don't overwhelm you..the floor looks really nice! You did great job! Hope your day was good too!

1:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good work Big Dave! Are you sure son number 1 wasn't involved somehow. When do you begin the renovation for the Man Cave? It adds tremendous value to the house. Just make sure you outfit it with a plethora of Michigan memorabilia. Go Blue!

5:40 PM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

TECHNOBABE--I often ask dad about various home maintenance issues. He was quite worried about my trying to use a floor sander too. But I agree that it seemed to come out fine. We had a nice Thanksgiving at my sister-in-law's though nearly everyone, including me, fell asleep afterwards.

CAROLDEE--We had to keep our front windows open to help dispel the fumes, even though it was quite cold outside. The fumes are the worst part, I agree.

ANONYMOUS--Thanks. Number one son was too busy to help, ushering football and stuff. Hopefully, he'll be able to help out on our next project.

7:45 PM  
Blogger Merle said...

Hi Dave ~~ Great job on the floor and it was good to have a Dad who knew what was best. You did very well. Glad Thanksgiving was good for you all and as you say, very filling. Glad to hear your grandmother liked Sweet William flowers. I do too.
Good on your wife keeping the dust at bay, it was more of a joke, but
is not a favorite things to do. Most of our papers carry free TV guides these days, and there is one to buy called TV Week. Take care my friend, Regards, Merle.

12:21 AM  
Blogger Yoga in Mirrormont said...

Your floor isn't the only thing that got shellacked!

I hate cheering for the Wolverines;
That ain't the way I roll!
But a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do
To put SPARTANS in the Rose Bowl.

Thanks for nothing, Dave!

12:21 PM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

MERLE--Thanks for the compliment on the floor. Our Sunday paper carries a free TV guide too, but I do see now that they sell the national TV Guide at the local grocery store.

YOGA IN MIRRORMONT--Just not our year, in football anyway. But the Wolverine men's soccer team won today to put them in the elite eight in the NCAA tourney.

Since Big Dave is a big guy, I will say congrats to the Spartans on a great win against Penn State. They played well and deserved the W. The last MSU win at Penn State happened when Joe Paterno was a student assistant, I hear.

6:14 PM  
Anonymous cassie-b said...

It looks terrific. Are you for hire?

12:28 PM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

CASSIE--I don't think I'm that good. The picture doesn't show everything, and I had to take a ton of pictures to find one that looked this good.

3:49 AM  

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