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Question:

Hello Doc!

I am pondering a career in the floor refinishing business. I am in the process of getting recommendations on the best equipment. Your recommendation for the Primatech nailer was quite helpful. Do you prefer one sander over another? What are you currently using? There are so many brands! Everyone seems to like “Clarke“. The salesman at the local store wanted to sell me the 220v Clarke American rather than the cheaper 110v EZ-8 Drum Sander. They said the 220v gets the job faster and better (less marks). But most ordinary houses in my area (New York City) don’t have 220v! Where do you plug these in? Also the weight can be over 200lbs. How does one person lift these? Any recommendations for the handheld models - the Clarke Super 7R seems popular.

Many Thanks

Andrew

Answer:



Dear Andrew

By all means DO try a career in this business, it's quite rewarding if you love wood like I do. And I sure do recommend a sander or two. The Clark is a great machine and has a long history in North America. They took over the American Lincoln floor machines company, and have made their machines based on this old venerable model. It's similar to the machine I use, and mine is about 30-40 years old and still going strong. Alto now owns the Clarke machines at http://www.regalequip.com/Alto/clarke.htm. I would highly recommend their American 8 floor sander.

But there is an alternative, and that is the Galaxy Floor machines, which are copies of the old Clark, and are made one at a time by a real machinist right here in Toronto. They finally have a web site at http://www.galaxyfloormachines.com.

If you are at all serious about staying in the hardwood floor business, you must have a powerful and heavy machine, and only 220 Volt machines will do. They weigh over 200 pounds so that they don't chatter across the floor when you fine sand. It's no so much a matter of speed, (they ARE twice as fast) as the fact that you won't get paid for jobs that have chatter marks all across the floor. You can always dismantle these machines into two 100 pound loads. I hope you are a big guy.

All houses have 220 volts coming to the main fuse panel these days. I live in a 100 year old house and this has been upgraded in the 60's, as most houses have. If you go into your main fuse panel you will see two big wires coming in from the street. Test them with a 110-220 voltage meter and I'm sure you will see what I mean. All electric stoves and electric dryers run on 220 volts, so in most house you can hook up your cord with an adapter to plug right into these receptacles. You are gong to have to have a few lessons from an electrician, about how to do this until you get the hand of the many variations of this. You need about 30 amps at 220 V to run these machines.

It took me about a year of full time work, before I had the knowledge to do work on my own. You should really consider working for a well established firm, before you start experimenting on customers floors and electrical systems. But I will be here whenever you wish to ask anything about wood floor.

Be sure to read some or all of the books available in the search box at the top of this web page.

You may also find these articles helpful:

1. How To Sand Wood Floors Without Leaving Machine Marks

2. How To Chemically Strip Wood Floors without dust!

3. Should I sand the wood floors myself or hire a pro

4. How To Apply Oil Based Polyurethane WITHOUT The Pits And Bubbles

5. How To Take Care Of Your Health And Safety when Installing, Finishing, Repairing or Cleaning your wood floors