Before a new wood floor is finished, it should be scraped, care being taken not to injure the surface by tearing the grain of the wood.
Scraping is essential to smooth the jointed surfaces of the floor where occasionally their will be irregularities in the sub-floor or joists. The flooring itself was originally milled to exactly uniform thickness, but the difference in density of various pieces of oak and the slightly unequal expansion after the material leaves the manufacturer can make a very small difference in thickness in places.
This irregularity can be corrected only by scraping. This can be accomplished by means of one of several types of power and hand scraping machines which are usually owned by contractors and carpenters, or can be done by hand with an ordinary cabinetmakers’ scraper.
When this work is done, the scrapings swept up and the dust removed with a soft cloth, the floor is ready for the finish.
The Hardwood Floor Is Ready To Finish
This feature, while most important, is one on which professional advice differs. But the question simply resolves itself into a matter of taste as to the tone, color and brilliancy of finish desired.
Personal taste and artistic or decorative effect are the guides for the floor finisher. Primarily, the floor should be treated with a paste or liquid filler. A paste filler is recommended by a good many
professional inasmuch as it can be worked into the wood more thoroughly, closing the pores and crevices and producing a dense body for the final finish.
A variety of tones quite as attractive as the natural wood can be obtained by incorporating coloring
with the paste filler before it is used, or by the employment of prepared colored fillers.
The final finish consists of a coat of fine oil varnish. This should be allowed forty-eight hours or more to set, and then be rubbed down with rotten stone and oii, or with very fine sandpaper.
A second coat is then applied which is also given forty-eight hours or more to set.
After the second coat, if a glossy or shiny surface is not wanted, this can be again rubbed to a dull finish. This finish is lasting and durable and does not show scratches readily. The above applies only to the highest quality of floor finishing.
Another professional suggests that, after the wood is filled, a coat of pure white shellac be employed. After allowing twelve hours to set, a second coat is employed, and when dry the surface is gone over with No. 0 sandpaper.
After this is done, a heavy coat of good floor wax is applied, spread evenly, and rubbed well into all parts of the floor. The wax should be permitted to set for twenty to thirty minutes, and then with a weighted brush
the floor is rubbed both across and with the grain of the wood until a good polish is effected.
To further increase the luster, a piece of Brussels carpet placed under the weighted brush when rubbing
the floor is very effective.
Another good method of finishing a floor after the use of the paste filler is to apply a heavy coat of good floor wax, and then with the aid of a weighted brush the surface may be rubbed to a velvety gloss. This is a popular and economical finish.
Again, after the use of the filler, one coat of varnish may be employed, and after allowing this to set, floor wax is applied and the surface rubbed with a weighted brush until the desired polish is obtained.
The above information comes from a 1949 professional manual. These are old fashioned remedies and advice about how to finish hardwood floors.