I manufacture and then hand plane (distress) wood flooring. I am looking for an automated machine/sander that can help sand out the chatter in the flooring without losing the texture prior to me pre-finishing it. Any suggestions? Orbital sanders take way too long!
From contributor L:
If you do actual hand planing to the floor boards, then there is no machine that you can use to sand the board without ruining or distorting the hand planing. The only way to sand it is to use a sponge with sandpaper on it and do it by hand. Yes, slow and much labor. But if you use a machine, you will ruin all that physical labor you put into it when you hand planed it. The only way I can see doing it by machine is to use a Flappy Sander, which is a bunch of sandpaper installed onto a drum and then rotated with a motor. You would need to use 150-220 grit "J" weighted paper. I have such a machine, but I use it to sand moldings. It is set up like a molding machine and you feed the moldings through it.
Try a scrub plane. This tool has been largely forgotten since the advent of power tools. It has a curved blade and wide throat to clear a lot of shavings without jamming up. It's what was used to dress timber to size before smooth planing. Those characteristic marks seen in older timbers you are trying to recreate were probably made by this tool. You will also be pleased when you find how much faster they are to use than a paint scraper. The marks they make are a bit more distinct and hold up to sanding without washing out better as well. Try regrinding the blade's radius to suit your taste.