Thursday, 5 November 2009

At the end of day 3 (with a little bit of day 2 in there)

The floor progressed very nicely on the second day, and by lunchtime, the herringbone field was done. Well... all the full length pieces anyway. I then doubled back and filled in all the ends of the peaks and valleys with shorter lengths. All of these shorter pieces were glued to the adjacent pieces because many of them could not be safely nailed. There was a blue line around the perimeter of the room to define where the border would start. We were careful not to nail on the outside of this blue line.

When Steve and I were discussing this floor several years ago - one of the aspects that stumped us was how to cut a clean line around the perimeter. Then we saw the Festool TS55 and the lightbulb when off. This was the perfect tool for this challenging job. It was this realization that started me down the Festool slope (did I mention I bought a Domino? :)

The saw and rail system did not disappoint. In fact, it was the easiest step so far. I was a little worried about how to deal with cutting the inside corners, but they were no problem for one simple reason. Dust extraction. Because the extractor is so good, all you had to do was look to see where the blade was cutting and when to stop. What a novel idea - using your eyes to watch the cut! I was able to “kiss the line” on the inside corners and am waiting for a friend to lend me his Fein Multi-Tool to finish it off.

Here are a few views of the herringbone with the perimeter defined (and the few inside corners left to be trimmed).

Thankfully - I did not hit any nails while cutting the perimeter. The shot above shows a nail that had been placed really close to the line. We used a nail set to bury it as deep as we could and marked it on the top. After the cut, I took a look to see how close we were. If we had not used the nail set - we would have hit it for sure. Note the blue line just in front of the cut.

The next step is the border. This has been a little troubling to be honest. We do not want something that stands out too much - we are worried about visually shrinking the room. After some samples and test borders we have settled on the sample above. It is a layer of dyed Swiss pear (looks like ebony), then a layer of 3/16" curly maple and then another layer of black Swiss pear. The Swiss pear is over sized veneer - .7 mm thick. It is going to be subtle - but that is what we are after. I figure I have to make 150 linear feet of the banding.

I am going to need more clamps.

Oh, and I am still working too. I have been applying the last coats of french polish to a Desert Ironwood filled SNo.4.


Blogger Adrian Baird Ba Than said...

Hey Konrad,
That flooring is coming along leaps & bounds,very,very nice.The medullary rays are stunning & the subtle black line of ebonised pear in the border is perfect.
Desert Ironwood is it,that last shot of the SNo4 had me almost licking my monitor...

5 November 2009 at 17:52  
Blogger Jim said...


5 November 2009 at 18:27  
Blogger David said...

WOW! That is a wonder full floor!
And the plane... As usual it look fantastic!

5 November 2009 at 18:29  
Blogger Christopher said...

That floor looks great! I just finished new studio space with oak flooring but didn't have the guts to be as creative. I did find, however, that after the first day of installation I could no longer stand up!

6 November 2009 at 06:24  
Blogger Konrad said...

Thanks Black. Right now we are wrestling with how much color (if any) to introduce to the floor. We want to highlight the rays, but not muddy it up with something dark and heavy. Any advise would be most welcome.

Glad you like the desert ironwood infill. It is really amazing timber.


6 November 2009 at 06:56  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hi Christopher,

Your comment really made me smile. I am still struggling to navigate stairs - my legs are not 18 anymore:) I may need to start stretching more often.


6 November 2009 at 07:02  
Blogger Adrian Baird Ba Than said...

Well,I don't have any experience with finishing Oak flooring & I never seen the point of using wood stain,my philosophy is if you want a dark coloured wood then get a wood that is a dark colour,staining seems to disguise the natural beauty of timber to my eye,not enhance it.
I think the grain really pops as it is & it will look phenomenol just with several coats of wax.Many of the oldest country estates in Britain have wonderful old Oak flooring that has nothing but Beeswax mixed with turps as a finish & they look amazing after several hundred years...

7 November 2009 at 19:13  
Blogger tomausmichigan said...


I have to agree with Black, let time color your floor as it sees fit. Trying to accentuate the rays is a fussy business and, when the finish gets worn (two boys, remember!), it will be difficult to match. Any color to the floor masks the ebonized pear as well. And nothing smells better than beeswax.


11 November 2009 at 22:51  
Blogger Konrad said...

Thanks Black and Tom,

I am really starting to come to the same conclusion as you too. I just finished the border tonight and I think a simple finish is the right ticket. I have the same outlook as you Black - if you want a red color - use red colored wood! The ray flecking is already very visible - no need to muddy it up with color.


11 November 2009 at 23:09  
Anonymous ChrisF said...

Wow. That Ironwood is just amazing. Someone is lucky to be getting that plane.

13 November 2009 at 18:27  
Blogger Nathan Beal said...

I would say that you should apply a layer or two of oil before you wax it, just to really make the figure pop.

14 November 2009 at 02:01  
Anonymous Tom said...

Hey Konrad,

floor is looking great and that ironwood has some wild colour. Just wondering what kind of camera you shoot your photos with? Is it a stock lens, macro setting? I'm in the market for a new slr and I've always thought your close ups were of great clarity and quality.


16 November 2009 at 20:34  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hi Tom,

My camera is a pretty simple one - a Nikon coolpix 4300. When I went to buy it, I took a plane with me and asked the guy to show me all the cameras in a certain price range. I asked if I could take a photo of the plane with each camera and view it in photoshop on their computer. I committed to making my choice based on how well the images looked on the computer. I was shocked at how vastly different they were! The Nikon coolpix was clearly the best camera in the bunch. It has a very good macro feature and takes very crisp photos for a point and shoot.


18 November 2009 at 18:24  
Blogger lou said...

your foor is breath the rest of the house like that?

27 December 2009 at 14:07  

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