I decided to redo the floors in my back bedroom when my last roommate moved out. Old growth fir so the potential to look beautiful.
Step 1: Tear out the old carpet. Apparently the guy installing the old carpet had a deep seated fear of sliding as he felt the need to hold down the carpet with approximately three bushels of staples. Pull out the old carpet, pull out the old underlay, pull up the old carpet strips, pull out three bushels of staples using barb wire fencing pliers.
Yup, they work great. Unless the staple is smashed into the wood, then you have to gently slide a knife blade under the smashed staple and pry up until it either comes out or is high enough to grab with the pliers.
Now I have to sand the whole thing smooth. Turns out I didn't actually get all the staples, it just seemed like it. Staples tore up the sanding belts on the sander. Recheck the whole floor now that I know what they look like. (Hint: they look like places where you took out smashed flat staples).
By the time that's over I've about had it with refinishing floors and, as Churchill might have said, it was not the end, it was not the beginning of the end, but it was, perhaps, the end of the beginning.
My buddy comes over and announces that it isn't ready, it has to be hand sanded to get something done. Not sure what, but that's what he says. Hand sanding. He sands about twice as much as I do in the same amount of time and he's sixty three years old.
Now it's ready to putty.
Let that dry for a while and sand. Again.
At least this time there are no staples. I already ran over all of those. I am so tired of sanding but at least I can use the belt sander.
Oh, no. I can't. The belt sander doesn't strip it down enough. See all the light bits? Yeah, that's putty. It has to go away or the finished floor will look like putty.
Hand sanding. Once again.
Now that is a nice looking floor. As soon as I finish sanding by hand (oh, did I mention that I have sanded about one fifth of it and am bored out of my mind and my thumb hurts?), I get to stain it, resand it, varnish it, resand it, varnish it, resand it, varnish it (not sure if there's a resand after that last one).
Who would EVER want to do this as a job? I, on the other hand, get to stand in front of a bunch of cheerful, motivated students, all ready to enthusiastically learn math. My life rocks!
Except that I still have to finish the floor. Or sell the house.