We are a company that specializes in Log Home Restoration in Colorado. I don't know where you can rent equipment. As far as how long to media blast a 3000 sq ft home, 1 person, I'd say it will take a long time including, masking windows and fixtures, and clean up plus set up, maybe 1 month...
It's best to stain right away after blasting, hopefully within the same week. Blasting really opens up the grain of the wood, and will be very thirsty for a good coat of oil. If left untreated for any amount of time, the wood may sustain any number of different types of damage, UV damage, water damage, mold, etc... Have you spoken with any log restoration companies in your area? Do you have photos to post?
You can usually rent cob blasting equipment from normal industrial equipment rental locations (same place you can get sandblasters). Honestly, I think you should consider crushed glass blasting. It does a better job removing stains and rough wood, is more gentle than cob media and costs less. Plus, there's usually less clean-up. It's inert, so can't soak up water or anything like corn cob media.
We've heard so many estimates from DIY homeowners. Masking & clean-up take the most time. And you definitely need to mask everything that you don't want to get etched. I've talked to one DIYer who said it took him and a buddy a week to do their 2500 sq. ft. home. I've talked to another who said it took him 2 weeks to do his 4000 sq. ft. home. I think it depends on your familiarity with blasting equipment, how quickly you can mask, and if you can bribe some friends with a 6 pack and some ribs to get some help. :-)
As for waiting time between blasting and staining: none. You need to make sure weather is right (meaning temps above 40-50 degrees, including overnite temps, both the day of staining and for 2-3 days afterwards). But there's no need to wait after blasting. The one thing you will need to think about: if you're applying a borate-based wood preservative, you'll have to wait for that to dry. Again, that will require favorable weather conditions and at least few days to dry depending on temp, humidity, etc., possibly up to a month to dry if you use a glycol-based borate.
For a more detailed description on the process, feel free to download our booklet called "Keeping the Dream Alive" here: http://www.sashco.com/log/pdfs/Keeping_the_Dream_Alive.pdf. It's a good educational booklet on finishing log & wood homes and will help give you some basic education on how to go about things, temps needed, etc. so you can plan accordingly.
Hope that helps!
-- Charis w/ Sashco - www.sashco.com - firstname.lastname@example.org
Charis, the only think I would add is be sure to have the right protective gear, 3M Full Face Shield, Dupont Full Body disposable suits, rubber gloves. Be sure to have someone around with experience to get the pressure dialed in on the compressor and blast pod, and have the correct tools to accomplish that. Finally, I always clean up the glass media, all of it... I know others who don't, and I come visit houses years later that have been blasted, and there is still glass media laying around exactly where it was left years before. Gotta take the mess to the dump, in Colorado anyway at least according to Summit County / Park County building code and I'm sure many other areas require taking construction waste to the dump.
I am a corn cob blaster in Columbiana County, Ohio and I can provide a free estimate for you or deliver the equipment you need to your site. If you would like more information give me a call @ 1(888)Log-Experts or my cell (330)277-1730
I have a very comprehensive technical information sheet on removing finishes that includes some detailed info on media blasting. It's a bit long to post the info and pictures on here but if you email me I can send it to you (or anyone else) in PDF form. Good luck with the project.
I'd really like to see this PDF too, can you e-mail to me at email@example.com
Just sent it Tom, along with another pdf on the subject. I'm sure this stuff will be old news to you but you never know.
Kevin, PCS Redmond