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The following are a first try experiment planing some gymnasium maple flooring. 

Stain colors right to left

  • Ipswich pine – Varathan
  • Cherry – Minwax
  • Maple – Minwax
  • Red Oak – Minwax  – It's hard to tell from the photo but this is the winner.
  • Dark Walnut – Minwax

OMG: 6000 pounds of wood.

Take the thickness down in steps.  If you do not you will see that as the blades heat up they deflect and give you deeper planing at the beginning on the ends of the boards. Maximum planing cut depth appears to be 0.015 inches per pass at best. 


  • Color test – planed 2 boards per color and stained.  See above photos
  • Production test of planing – Search for minimum amount that can be taken off all boards.  Due to variance in thickness 0.905 appears to be that number.  Did a batch of 22.  Efficiency of planer only method is insufficient.Fisn
  • Sanded quantity = 6 with a 4×24 belt sander. Finish came off easily without clogging the sand paper. Results of staining showed more sanding errors as dark splotches and color that did not match the attractiveness of the planed only parts.  Subsequently planed these boards .010.  End thickness = ~0.950.  Stained the boards again and found the result to be better.  It still did not match the quality of the planed only boards however quality was sufficient.
  • Used #60 SiC grit and water to abrade the finish off of two boards "telescope" style. Yielded boards with almost perfect sanding results. However either due to the water used or the excellent sanding the wood soaked up the most stain I saw to date.  Extremely dark result that was not appealing. Later used mineral spirits to remove some of the stain. This lightened the color but still was not appealing enough.
  • Mounted 8 boards to the floor and used a floor sander with #36 grit then #80 grit.  After staining the result was acceptable and showed acceptable sanding error level but lacked the high lights.  —> Try planing this 0.010


Notes Distilled from Experiments on Process

  • Plane flooring until gym flooring finish is removed. Bin it according to measured thickness.
  • Place the wood parts in their installation locations – nail
  • Cover entire room floor
  • Use wood filler 
  • Sand using #36 grit
  • Sand using #80
  • Sand using 120 grit 
  • Stain
  • Polyurethane

How to Polish hardwood floor


  • Stain Color: When I just looked at the boards in isolation I like the darker red oak color.  However when installed the darker color does not display as nicely as a lighter color and it shows mistakes and imperfections much more.  After seeing this I went with the Minwax cherry stain. 
  • Sanding: while I preferred the appearance of planed only boards in isolation and thought the sanded wood look bad in comparison after installed an experiment with sanding showed that sanding was preferable because it did not have a cheap looking shine that the planed wood seemed to have after finish.

Photos of the results






Categories: ArchitectureFlooring

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