knocking in brads/ nails in t&g floor boards

13 Nov 2004
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United Kingdom

I have searched for this throughout the forums but with no luck, if this has been covered in the past please direct me to the right place.

I am currently preparing my floors for sanding at the weekend, I am clearing out the crud between the boards no problem but i am struggling to knock some of the square nails (brads??) suitably below the surface of the wood. some nails have been knocked well into the wood during installation, however there are a couple that are proud of the surface. My nail punches are either to big to do a tidy job or too small to shift the nail further down. Any tips/ hints? I tried finding a rectangular punch at the B&Q but they did not have anything suitable. How would these nails have been laid in the first place to get them below the surface? (house was built 1912)

Whilst i'm at the key board, a previous DIYer/ lazy bod decided just to cut across the boards to get below (rather than go into the cellar), how can i tidy these cuts?

Thanks for your help
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hi there

cant help with first problem

but if you have some off cuts of your floorboard laying around

start sanding then down or cut them up and collect all the saw dust
and mix with wood glue

this makes a great filler and if you do it right , it cant be seen
also if cut goes across a knot , you can use a artist oil crayon
to draw the rest of the knot

this sounds silly but it does work
I've done a couple of the rooms in our house this month and had the same problems getting the nails beneath the surface. My punches just sank into the heads of the cut nails leaving them looking like a right dogs dinner, without getting them any further beneath the surface! I just went ahead with the sanding and didn't rip any sanding sheets on them, they just got sanded with the wood no problem. Guess the worst were 0.5 to 1mm proud of the surface, maybe I was just lucky....
I would feel like trying this: centre punch top of nail, then use a suitable sharp drill. But you might need a metal guide plate with a drill hole through that you can put your weight on to prevent slippage. After reducing head-punch to flatten. It's worth a try!
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I have found a solution that has worked:

Get a narrow cold chissle and grind the end so that it has a tip the same size as the head of the nail. Used with a reasonable hammer this worked ok for me.

I used a professional belt sander to do the floors and this did not hesitate at the nails at all, they are now flush with the boards. I don't know if i would have been as lucky with a drum sander.

Thanks to those that helped. One other tip would be not to sand across the grain if you intend to stain the floor, I ended up doing my hall twice last weekend because i had used the big machine in the wrong axis due to the narrowness of the hall and the stain showed all the sanding lines. Much better to use an edger and keep going with a worn paper to polish out the circular marks.

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