Floorboard Planing Advice + Product Advice

Discussion in 'Carpenters' Talk' started by TGull, Jan 15, 2019.

  1. TGull

    TGull Member

    Evening all,

    Hope all is well.

    Over the past few months I've been sanding bitumen off some floorboards and have decided I want to try a different route.

    Rather than sanding it off with an angle grinder (only thing which can do it when clogged) I'm thinking I could just take the first few mm off with a Planer. I've never used one before, but I can't see any issues arising, unless someone wants to point them out?

    Firstly, just wondering if anyone has tried the MAKITA M1901 2MM PLANER 240V? I've bought a similar Makita product for sanding (MAKITA M9400 4" BELT SANDER) and been overall very happy with the quality... just wondering if you can sharpen the blades yourself? Or is it quite normal just to get new ones like everything else? I've learnt that often it's best to get a product which has cheap / replaceable bits as often the cost of the bits will far outgo the cost of the machine.

    The other only concern I was thinking regarding planing the floorboards is hitting nails or the likes of. Therefore I was thinking of getting a BOSCH TRUVO DIGITAL WALL DETECTOR. I could use this for studs etc, but initially I would be using it to find where the nails are, then punch them out accordingly (carpin nails / snapped floorboard nails).

    Does this method seem ok? I'm not 100% fussed about a perfect flat / even finish, as I don't mind it being a bit higgledy piggledy.

    After the planer I will use the belt sander / random orbital to finish.

    Thoughts welcome.


  2. KIAB

    KIAB Super Member

    Lift floorboards & turn them over.:)

    Other option is hire a proper floor sander, will make short work of bitumen.

    With regards to planers blades, I put them in a knife jig & sharpen on my sheppach sharpener, same with stanley blades.
  3. TGull

    TGull Member

    That is a genius idea, but annoyingly quite a few of the boards a bent, so will look a bit of if U shaped. Also, the next lot I'm 99% sure are all tongue and groove, which brings its own set of issues (never done that before).

    I've tried this before, and it took an age. A room which was 5x6m took many days just getting down to the basic level. I tried a few things and it seems the angle grinder is the best way of getting it off. Then using a belt sander to flatten out (40grit).

    I've got about 4 rooms to do, so I would prefer to own the gear as it's going to take a while. So I thought I could just chop the top bit off then sand accordingly.


    Is yours something like this? https://www.screwfix.com/p/scheppach-tiger2000s-200mm-whetstone-sharpening-honing-machine-230v/40540

    Maybe I could get this titan sharpener along with the TRITON LONG KNIFE JIG?
  4. KIAB

    KIAB Super Member

    I use a Sheppach 2500,which is the next one up to the Tiger 2000.

    That sharpener is no good, as it's a dry sharpener, will take the temper out of the blades,so soft & won't hold an edge, the wet sharpener keeps blade cool.

    Would have thought floor sander with 24 grit or even 16 grit sanding belt would have easily dealt with bitumen.

    As to cupped boards,I have usually laid them & them go over them with floor sander to true/level up.
  5. sospan

    sospan Screwfix Select

    You could try something like oxalic acid that should soften bitumen. You may be able to remove the residue with a multi tool scraper blade or sandpaper.
  6. KIAB

    KIAB Super Member

  7. sospan

    sospan Screwfix Select

    BTW agree with TGull over the floor sander - like most things they aren't as good as they used to be. Daughter hired one before Christmas to sand some surface grime on a T&G floor I put down.

    Despite all the heads being hidden, the sanding disks ripped and wore out in no time even though it was bare wood. In the end, just used my Festool Rotex sander, only 50mm narrower, quieter and less dust ....

    And the other bizarre thing, is that the floor sander came with a paper bag to capture the dust. Nothing special like the Festool ones which are like fabric paper towel. This was literally a paper bag by iteself with no fabric outer to protect it.
  8. TGull

    TGull Member

    Good advice, I spoke to a friend at work and he also said that would be terrible as the stone is only so wide and will therefore not evenly sharpen the blades. So when it comes to using them, it will cut uneven. I'm99% sure he said to use a wet stone and do by hand. Seems rather simple, however it it works, then great.

    Interesting idea, but the stuff is so horrible that it get's everywhere. Before you know it you get through 1001 paper towels and it's stuck everywhere. The problem however is you can get the top layer off, but there is still the really nasty stuff bedded into the wood, which still requires a fair bit of sanding.... hence why I went for the aggressive approach and used an angle grinder.

    Also, time wise, just going in straight with an angle grinder takes less time... only problem is the uneven surface, hence I'm thinking just taking a few mm off the top with a planner, then go straight onto the orbital sander.

    Sounds like you have nice kit.

    Personally I use fairly good but modest priced items. I then use a karcher wd 3p for power source + vacuum. I then put a TITAN SHOP VAC WET & DRY VACUUM CLEANER FILTER BAGS, cut the ends (so you can empty it a few times of use) and then hold back together with clips.

    So far little to NO dust. Only when the sander isn't sitting 100% flat on the wood does this kick up any dust.

    With this all being said, I'm tempted to get a rectangular / square sander which takes ordinally paper. I imagine this would be 1000 times cheaper as you can just use the rolls of sanding paper, but I guess the finish isnt quite as good as a random orbital? Example could be - MAKITA BO3710 ⅓ SHEET SANDER 240V

    I just find the velcro bassed ones a bit ****. Much prefer the idea of using one which clamps on and comes off.... anyone had experience between the two?
  9. KIAB

    KIAB Super Member

    Be careful if you decide to buy a1/3 sheet sander,paper size is 93 x 228 mm, & it's impossible to get 50mtrs rolls of paper of that width,my sources have discontinued stocking the 93mm width rolls..:mad:

    You can get 5mtr & 14mtr rolls, but this works out expensive & there limited grit sizes available.


    Whereas I can get 115mm 50mtr roll for around £22.
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2019
  10. Astramax

    Astramax Super Member

    Planer blades will get clogged up in no time at all with bitumen partly due to the heat generated during the planing process.

    Hat air gun will soften the bitumen prior to a good scraping off with an old Stanley Plane blade or broad (4")wallpaper scraping blade. Then use the floor sander.
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2019
  11. mcooper2406

    mcooper2406 Active Member

    just my 2 cents. I did this exact same (horrible job) last year. Planer was not smooth at all and broke quite quickly. (Could well be user error)

    I just knuckled down and did it over 3 days with a orbital sander and about 120 sanding disks.

    End product looks really nice but I would never even attempt the job again without renting a proper sander!

    Good luck!

    EDIT: Also by the end the velcro on the pad was shot so I had to replace the whole pad on the sander!
  12. TGull

    TGull Member

    Arrrrggg. Never make it easy do they.

    Is the quality of the finish still pretty good though?

    My god this is going to take ages. I think my approach with the angle grinder is probably quicker. You just need to get the knack of using it right (don't score too hard).

    I have to say it seems a mammoth task in comparison to everything else. I have no idea how you did it with 120 sanding disks. My 40grit clogs after a 2 mins or so... Then it's like trying to sand the floor with a hard rubber surface e.g. absolutely pointless. This happens with hand sanding / orbital sander / belt sander.

    Other angle grinder bits?
    So far I have tried 40grit angle grinder bits. This does clog pretty quick, but due to the savage nature, even when clogged it works pretty well at removing stuff. You can also get attachments to catch the dust, which works quite well actually. Expect a lot of dust regardless.

    I have also tried these wire things (twisted knot wire wheel) which attach to the angle grinder. These work great initially, and don't clog, but after a while of usage then untangle and become fairly average at removing the stuff. Hence why I go back to the clogged 40grit instead.

    I have also bought a TWIST KNOTTED CUP BRUSH but this vibrates the angle grinder soo much it becomes painful to hold after a while. I only have a single speed angle grinder... am I doing something wrong?

    Anyone recommend any other 'savage' ways of removing with angle grinder or the likes of?
  13. mcooper2406

    mcooper2406 Active Member

    They were 40 grit mate, I mean I used about 120 of them to do the job! Proper time drain, I kept thinking I'll be done soon I'll be done soon but it just went on and on and on and on and once I'd invested a day in it without renting a sander I should have cut my losses but just carried on! Love the floor now though!!

    Also the small section I did with an angle grinder ended up so uneven I had to spend about the same amount of time again making it smooth!

    I searched for hours online bud and tried all the suggestions but it's just not easy.
  14. TGull

    TGull Member

    Ahh ok I see!

    My project is around 200 sm :| done the biggest part (upstairs) but still got the whole of the downstairs to do.

    I was tempted to buy a second hand drum sander from ebay, but seen too many threads about things going majorly wrong. Pluss a little late in the day now to invest in one.

    I'm trying to keep the house as original as possible, as it's been in the family since the 50s. Otherwise to be honest, I would have been tempted to start again.

    Just trying to think if there is a more aggressive industrial scrapper type thing which I could use to get the stuff off in an even more rapid fashion. Would it be overkill stepping up to a 9" angle grinder. Never used one before though, so not sure how hard they are to handle in comparison to the smaller ones. Or dare i say it, just put the boards upright and use a bandsaw or kinds to slice it off. Not sure how even I could get the cut though. May end up with a floor like the devil's causeway.
  15. KIAB

    KIAB Super Member

    You can hire electric floor scraper/stripper, or use a hilti or similar sds max breaker with floor scraper blade.
  16. CGN

    CGN Screwfix Select

    Not sure about bitumen, but the trick with a floor sander is to initially go diagonally (carefully), then with the grain.
  17. njm

    njm Member

    This is one of them jobs where sentimentality aside you'd just rip the lot up and skip it as its more hassle than its worth surely? I definately wouldnt put an electric planer anywhere near anything sticky like that , it will just get dragged inside the blade drum and clog up , probly causing it to burn out . I think i would try some kind of scraper...even a stanly blade scraper(i know its going to be slow snd painstaking buy isnt it anyway?)- that will take off the bulk of it hopefully, then could you get a wire brush attachment for a dill or even for your grinder(im sure ive seen them?) Scratch most of the rest of it then give it a final quick sand to smooth. Thats my 2 peneth anyway
  18. njm

    njm Member

  19. njm

    njm Member

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