I just finished refinishing about 925 sq ft of a house we just purchased. 1/2 of the project was Birch, which sanded easily. The other 1/2 was Oak, which was a little more stubborn.
After many futile attempts with a vibrating floor sander, we had to turn to stripper. The old finish kept getting gunked up on the sandpaper. We could only go 5-6 feet, and have to replace it. At $5.00 a pop, it just wasn't feasable. So we tested a few strippers in a closed and this is what we found.
A product called Jasco adhesive remover worked the best. It is not specifically for stripping, but when we applied it over some adhesive in the kitche, it took the finish off as well.
I know that everybody tells you not to use stripper on floors, but this worked great! I would be extremely cautious using it on any soft woods though.
Here are the steps that got us to a beautiful finish;
Close all windows and doors, and keep all fans off. This will minimize dust particles flying around.
Mop the floor with TSP Strip with Jasco Sand with 36 grit Sand with 20 grit Sand with 36 again (by this time, you should be down to bare wood) Sand with 60 grit Sand with 80 grit
It is a good idea to vacuum between each sanding. Before you apply the stain or poly, make sure that all the dust is off the walls and woodwork. This means sweeping the walls, windows and trim 1/2 way up the wall. Vacuum the floor, then vacuum again. Next, we used many wet towels at the end of a push broom to pick up anything the vacuum may have missed. I would not recommend using mineral spirits if you are going to apply any sort of oil-based finish.
We applied 2 coats of stain, sanding lightly with 160 grit paper (by hand). You could also use a sanding screen on a buffer, like a 220 grit screen.
Next came 1 coat of poly, sanding again, then 2 more coats.