So the next thing on our agenda was to get the floors stripped and refinished. Unfortunately, the camera is on the fritz, so we can't access all of our shots. As such we're going to have to describe the process and pass on what we learned.
We decided that we would do this ourselves, but we wimped out on the drum sander. We settled on that sexy 4 pad random orbital thing from the "Orange Store". I'm going to have to say that the folks at Crescent Springs HD, especially Walt and Janet are really helpful and a font of knowledge. I'm also going to recommend the random orbital sander to any neophyte. It's very hard to screw up, dust is very low, and the whole thing is pretty easy to figure out. The negatives are these: You're going to blow through a lot of pads (which are costly). And, it's going to take quite a bit longer than you think if you've got anything but poly on there to sand. We also settled on Varathane clear satin poly. I don't like super shiny wood floors.
I'm not going to go through the blow by blow because instructions are all over the web, and in addition, there are good resources at HD's rental department (from what I can tell). I do want to pass on a couple lessons, though.
Lesson 1: Chemically strip varnish. Sanding it is a pain and takes for ever. If you use varnish remover, you can just apply and sand immediately. I'll save you hours.
Lesson 2: Paint will come up with a sander, but some spots can be stubborn. If they are, hit them with a chemical remover too. It'll save time.
Lesson 3: Both the wife and I make good ballast for improved sanding effectiveness.
Here are the results.
Note how cool our repairs turned out.
I'm pretty sure we have "heart pine" but I'm utterly surprised by the finished color. After we sanded, the floor was very light yellow with dark brown grain. We decided that we would not stain the floor, yet look at the color. Almost like cherry. It's very pretty, but not what we thought we'd end up with.
I'm not sure if there is anything we could do to lighten it up, even if we had the time anyway.