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Hardwood Flooring Edgers - Sanding Sequences

An edger can make or break any refinishing project. Knowing how to use it is another thing. You may think all I gotta do is go around the room and I’m done. Edgers have considerable power and can dig into any floor in a heartbeat. When starting an edger you’ll want to lay it on its side, preferably making sure the power switch is in the off position. Pros share one common habit of plugging the edger in and then flipping the switch.

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How To Properly Use An Edger

Edging begins with the first rough cut and 36 or 40 grit paper Floor edger close to baseboardafter the first run on the drum sander. The purpose of the rough cut is flattening out the floor while removing as much finish as possible. Only dated floors that may have several layers of wax and or shellac will leave some minor finish residue if the right grit is selected. See more on heavy waxed floors.

Edgers should be used in small circular or oval motions while moving left to right. There should also be plenty of light available to see what you’re doing. Some machines have lights while other do not. A handy tip for those edging is to use a flashlight. Keep it on the floor about six feet from where you’re working at. Any flaws will pop out.

Don’t force the edger either. It has plenty of power to do the job. By forcing you’re going to see distinct patterns between where the edger and the drum sander has been. You may think the final screening will take care of it, but once any finish goes on the floor it’s gonna glare at you.

Edger takes out drum sanding marks

When Is The Edger Used?

Edging follows the same sequence as the drum sander. For instance if you use 36,60 and 80 grit with the drum, the same should be followed with the edger. This keeps the same depth of scratch pattern by both machines. It’s about consistency more than anything. It’s also about not going fast or too slow. There’s a middle that most should recognize after an hour or so working with it.

See Proper Sequences & Tips

Transcript of the video

The edger is used where the drum or belt sander can’t reach. ThisVideo transcript includes along wall lines, in narrow hallways, closets and even stairs. It’s used in three different sequences. The initial rough sanding with this tool is done after the big machine rough sanding is completed or what the pros call the first cut.

What grit to use? Most guys start with a 36 grit or the same as what the big machine was using. There are situations the starting grit may go lower as we see here, but that situation was a heavily waxed floor that needed serious attention.

For the first edger cut the goal is taking all the old finish off and flattening the area. Some older floors may need a different approach than others. It’s all a matter of analyzing the condition before, but for most floors occasional back and forth motions are used followed up with a more common circular motion that maintains a consistent scratch pattern

After the floor is crack filled and allowed to dry a finer 60 grit is called in for the second edger sanding sequence. Here only circular or oval motions are used. Where the flooring runs parallel to the baseboard, the motion is less pronounced, otherwise we’ll get cross grain scratches that we don’t want.

The last and final sequence before the buffer shown here is typically 80 grit and follows the same procedures as the second sequence after the big machine has done it’s work.

Important tips for edging in general include not forcing the tool especially after the initial first cut. Only use the same grit as the big machine used. This will create problems that may not be visible until the final buffing stage. Inexperienced users may not see it until the stain or finish goes on the floor. Then it’s a nightmare to fix. Prior to any edging, set all nails that may be in the way with a nail set. Failing to do so tears up sanding disks and causes hazards. Keep the work area clean by sweeping and vacuuming often.