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10 Mar. 1991

Wood scraping techniques,how to make a cat tree from a ladder,wood veneer inlay banding,lean to greenhouse ideas - How to DIY

By Gordon Bock The demand for wood floors at the turn of the 20th century led to long-handled scrapers--a tool designed to increase production but one that was criticized for mediocre results.
The wood came from virgin growth trees that were once abundant in large diameters, and though durable, they were easily worked into boards with simple hand woodworking tools.
Wide-board softwood floors were typically painted or left bare, but by the mid-19th century, the picture was changing rapidly.Industrialization, and the mass production of wood products it made possible, dramatically altered the equation for wood flooring. Steam-powered woodworking tools greatly improved the volume and sophistication of wood flooring that could be produced, simplifying its installation with ready-formed narrow boards of tongue-and-groove flooring, thereby reducing its cost.
Oil varnishes were the more durable alternative, and to give the coating glass-like depth and shine, two preparation steps borrowed from furniture making became essential.ScrapingWood grain patterns are most distinct under a clear finish when the wood surface is razor flat and literally slices across the cellular structure to bring the color gradations of the annual rings into focus. Though flooring fresh from a planing mill may be flat, it is not smooth enough to obtain this quality, so the important first step in floor finish preparation became scraping to remove mill marks.


When drawn across the wood (or finish) at a slight angle, the scraper shaves off paper-thin curls of wood similar to shaving a beard, leaving a surface that is both smooth and remarkably even.
Even by 1906, when the demand for finely finished floors was at a high-water mark, trade manuals noted that floor planing and scraping required a peculiar degree of skill and was the the hardest work about a building and no place for a man who is lazy or grouchy. At the height of scraping in the 1910s, just before the first electric sanders appeared, there were long-handled scrapers on the market with little wheels like a carpet sweeper that allowed the mechanic to stand upright while working.FillingExcept for its beauty, evidence of meticulous scraping may be hard to see today in an old floor, but filling can be easy to detect with close inspection.
Because these depressions are fairly large and conspicuous in some popular flooring wood, such as oak and ash, under a clear finish they leave a pitted or rippled surface that detracts from final gloss and clarity. The solution to this condition is filling, the process of building up the voids in the open grain and, in its way, is the opposite of scraping. Wood fillers have been formulated by the end user for centuries, and by the 1890s the typical filler might be a finely ground, pigment-like material (such as wood dust, marble or quartz dust, or corn starch) mixed with a drying oil binder (typically linseed oil) and thinned with a solvent (turpentine).


When mixed to a paste the consistency of mashed potatoes, the finisher would apply the filler over the floor with a rag, working against the grain of the wood to force it into holes and depressions. Once the filler had begun to dry, the finisher would wipe it from the floor using burlap or wood shavings, leaving the remainder below the surface in the wood pores. Though it’s possible to clear-finish open-grain wood without a filler by repeatedly applying and rubbing out varnish until there is a level surface, applying filler as the first step is far more economical.
Removing the old finish may remove old filler and varnish down to fresh wood, opening pores that will accept finish or stain unevenly.


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