We’d rather be there, so there we are again.


The new studio?

E and I jumped up to Montana for Labor Day, driving up on Thurs and returning on Tues. We were pushed up with a strong tail wind that blew out all the forest fire smoke of the summer, and brought in rainy fall temps in the 30’s at night and the 50’s in the day. On Friday we walked up the road and cleaned out a blue bird box already packed full of seed with a mouse nest on top. We ramped up to real work by dinking around with the contents of the built in bookshelves, and moving everything out of the parlour. The blustery day led to a late afternoon coffee break, as our big job of the trip needed starting: refinishing the Parlour floor. It is the last room needing the floor refinished, and it is the roughest of them all. With proper caffeination we stripped half of the parlour floor in a team effort with E laying on denatured alcohol with steel wool to loosen the 100 year old varnish, while I came next with a flooring blade and peeled up a layer of goo/wood that would immediately turn to black tar if not constantly wiped away. We finished the rest of the room Saturday morning, and I began pressing twine into the large and small gaps between the boards. We had to make a run to Great Falls for more twine as each gap needled multiple layers. There was also the side project of finishing out the area of the living room floor covered by the couch. These projects lasted a bit longer than the wet and wind- plus the power went out Saturday evening all over the county from the storm. The cats made their first mouse kill that night, and another the next night.


Friendly cattle.


Bumping along the ranch and hiking in to check the many springs, tanks, and ponds.


The ranch in shadow.


The big hay field, baled.


Walking off the 10 hour drive brings the welcoming committee.


Tiger Salamander- yet another critter living on the ranch.


A blustery trip. Here a storm front moves over in a matter of minutes.


The front boils over the western hills and the day darkens.


One minute things are getting grey.


The next minute the day goes dark and the wind arrives like a train- autumn begins.


A few days of this means a fire in the stove all day long, and indoor chores…


Voices enjoys sleeping with himself.


Xandar is catching up on his reading.


When the day goes dark, the stove lights make the kitchen cosy.


E and I spent Friday and Saturday stripping the floor with denatured alcohol, steel wool, and a big draw-blade. Next it is time for ship-wight skills of pressing twine between the floor board gaps.


I burn through my underestimation of twine, and we make a run to Belt but no luck, so it is on to Great Falls.


Lay in, then use the roller to press it into the seam- layer after layer.


The gaps are sticky with a tar of old varnish and denatured alcohol.


Twine filled gap after sanding.


When we finished the living room a year ago, we had to leave the section the couch covered. We strip the remaining varnish with denatured alcohol, steel wool, and the blade. Next I lay in wood fill where the floor sander (2yrs ago) ripped wood fiber.


Next I have to sand it back- which for such a small area, makes a huge mess of dust right before bedtime. E wants my head on a pike.


Head still in place, the next morning I stain the wood fill.


In the parlour I painted urethane finish along all the string seaming, so I could sand the string flush with floor and use the sander to cut stray strands of fiber. I also puttied the center seam in the parlour=  palm sander for the entire floor.


Sanded back and ready to stain the center seam, then the shop-vac.


I set a heater in the room for a few hours, then lay on the urethane with a wool applicator.


The parlour was the last floor in the house, and in the roughest shape- but our learning curve finally caught up to our restoration issues and it is pretty tight in there.

  1. Nice trick with the twine filling in the gaps between the floorboards. I’ve never seen that done before. I learn something new every day! The result looks great! Good job!

  2. This Old House on PBS will drop a helpful old-school trick that once in awhile. The twine moves with the floor as the house expands and contracts, while a wood filler would crack or flex the floor. Your new concrete looks sharp, btw.

  3. Wow. You’ve refinished all the floors since I’ve last made it to the Ranch.

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