I am planning on reusing some old hard wood flooring reclaimed from another parts of the house. I should note I have an old house that the original portion was built in 1760 with an add on done sometime in the 70's. Durring a major rehab of the house, I opted to have the flooring pulled and saved from several rooms. After going through the supply, of the three rooms demoed and flooring pulled, I have enough for my family room.

Now that I am looking to start reinstalling I have a few questions/challanges in front of me.

  1. The wood is sound and usable, but it needs a sanding and I wonder if there is a way to do this prior to install? To include a place or company I should look for to do it.
  2. The flooring consists of two species of wood. Cherry and oak. There is not enough of either to do the one room I want in just one species, so I am going to do the feild in oak with a double cherry frame around the room. The challange is that the tounge and grooves of the differing woods are not the same, meaning the oak tounges fit in the cherry groves, but its a bit off center and will leave the cherry sitting higher (and cause a ridge or break the tounges durring or after install) than the oak once on the floor. Can the cherry tounge and groves be redone to match the oak? if so how or by whom?

2 Answers 2


Sanding is best done after the floor is laid. This enables you to get a flat finish across all the boards which would be difficult if not impossible to achieve by sanding prior to installation. If you have any particularly rough boards then you might want to sand them first - but it's not essential.

You should be able to hire a drum sander and an edge sander for a weekend which should give you enough time to complete the job. It will produce a lot of dust so taping plastic sheeting to any doorways will minimise the spread of the dust into the rest of the house.

  • upvote for you input - Would running them through a planer be an alternative? As the room is open to the kitchen and a stairway, it will be difficult, but not impossible to mask off. Thats why I was thinking about having them at least refaced off the floor. They have a finsh coat of something on them(not sure what they used back then). So not sure if it would burn out blades along with mikes's comment on wood hardness being this old.
    – Carl B
    Sep 16, 2012 at 22:46
  • 1
    @CarlB - a planer might be useful if the boards you plan to use are quite different thicknesses.
    – ChrisF
    Sep 17, 2012 at 7:48

I would start by looking for local places that reclaim lumber from old mills and barns. Check local listing for Salvage Lumber or Recycled building materials. They may be able to give you leads on businesses like custom cabinet shops or millwork shops, that are using their products and can handle the millwork you need. My experience is that lumber this old is very hard on equipment, inparticular any cutting tools. Most home owner quality planes and routers will be working hard to mill hardwoods this old. I reccomend contracting that part out. I had a similar project trying to reuse maple trim from and old (100 years) home. Sparks were flying out of my edger and there were no nails in the wood . It was so hard nails bent or boards split before nails went through it. It required predrilling every hole. It was really nice when it was done though.

  • upvote for your comment - I am hoping for "The realy nice..." part like you experianced. There is nothing that will have this woods pateina out there or lengths as long as I have.
    – Carl B
    Sep 16, 2012 at 22:30

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