Monday, 30 November 2009

Hmmm... picking one favourite board?

This past Friday was sanding day. Well... part of Thursday too - but it was a tough day and we are trying to forget about it.

There was one issue with this room that we were a little concerned about - the floor was not perfectly flat or level. I debated on tearing out the sub-floor, leveling and re-installing a sub-floor... but that seemed like too much work - even for me. The uneven height and gentle curve to the floor did cause problems for us in both the installation as well as during sanding. We found that many of the nested board ends were not level with the adjacent boards. Part of this is likely the nature of a herringbone floor - any variation in board thickness will cause this, but everything was likely compounded by the curve of the sub-floor.

We used a random orbital floor sander with 4 discs. It was quite a bit slower than the belt style sander, but it was the right choice given all the crossing grain. After several hours we were ready for the first coat of finish.

After much deliberation, we opted for a light coat of oil followed by a few coats of satin Fabulon. At the end of the day, I am not really interested in removing all the furniture once a year to re-apply a coat of wax and polish to the floor. Add in two active kids, and a durable film finish seemed to be the right choice.

This floor is the first time I have ever worked with white oak. Over the last half year I have grown quite used to the light straw color of unfinished white oak, so when we poured the oil onto the floor - I was taken by surprise. There was texture, color and grain in there that I had not seen nor anticipated. The floor came alive. As we sloshed the oil around it became more and more impressive almost to the point where my head exploded. The beauty of this floor exceeded my wildest expectations.

We let the oil sit for a bit before wiping up the excess and buffing everything with clean cloths.

Here are a bunch of photos.

I suspect it will be nearly impossible to pick a single favourite board - but this section right in front of the pocket door is particularly stunning.


Blogger EMBO said...

That is truly beautiful! Amazing work. :)


1 December 2009 at 23:33  
Blogger raney said...

wow. How cool is it going to be to walk into that room every day for the next few decades and see what your hands have wrought?

2 December 2009 at 01:43  
Blogger Konrad said...

Thanks Emily.

2 December 2009 at 07:55  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hey Raney,

Yeah - we are pretty stoked about it. I keep walking by the room and I find myself just stopping and staring. It is hard to believe this is in our house. As you know with planemaking - the personal satisfaction of making ones own stuff is pretty incredible and this floor feels just like that.


2 December 2009 at 07:57  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That looks fabulous, Konrad. A beautiful job.

Cheers ;-)

Paul Chapman

2 December 2009 at 08:29  
Blogger Jim said...

Absolutely amazing Konrad! I have been working with qswo now for 7-8 years and I love it in the right application. That floor is incredible, love it!

Jim Shaver

2 December 2009 at 08:52  
Blogger Jameel said...

What can I say Konrad? I know exactly how feel at the moment. What a gorgeous result. Oiling a finished project might just be my favorite part of the whole process. Can't wait to see the rest of the room come together.

2 December 2009 at 09:38  
Blogger Adrian Baird Ba Than said...

Outstanding finish Konrad,clearly no stain was required to bring that spectacular Oak to life!!!
I appreciate the fact that you used a durable top coat such as Fabulon.Who wants the hassle of refinishing a floor annually,not me that's for sure!I can't even be bothered refinishing the 100+ year old pine floor in my living room(it's been needing done for at least 3 years,rustic is the word that could best be used to describe its current state!)
I'm with Jameel,can't wait to see the whole room come together...

2 December 2009 at 17:09  
Blogger Adrian Baird Ba Than said...

By the way,whats the story with the barcode/morse code line of inlay in the second last photo,some message for future generations to decrypt?

2 December 2009 at 17:38  
Blogger Adrian Baird Ba Than said...

Excellent,it's Morse Code!!!
I'm going to be getting tattooed on my hands in Morse code,genius on one & idiot on the other...

2 December 2009 at 20:02  
Blogger Konrad said...

Thanks everyone. It has been a long haul - but well worth the extra effort. The first coat of Fabulon may happen on friday - that will be another exciting event. I am also looking forward to doing all the trim work, but I am going to put it on hold for a bit in order to get some planemaking work done.


2 December 2009 at 20:15  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hey Black - I was wondering if anyone would catch that! Yes, it is Morse code. Using it as a signature method is not my idea - I borrowed it from Garrett Hack. One of his pieces was signed "HACK" in the ebony and holly stringing - I thought it was an excellent idea. Maybe a little over the top for a floor... but it was pretty simple and a lot of fun to do.


2 December 2009 at 20:20  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I'm sorry to hear about your head exploding.


2 December 2009 at 21:07  
Blogger Konrad said...

Its ok Dan - I grew a new head quite quickly... all the chicken in my diet I think.


2 December 2009 at 21:21  
Blogger tomausmichigan said...


The exuberance of the rays, the restraint of the quarter-sawn grain lines, the geometric order of the herringbone, the alternate geometry of the border--pattern on pattern on pattern!!--I love it, its beautiful!


3 December 2009 at 08:37  
Blogger JW said...

Konrad, the floor is gorgeous. And you have pinpointed my biggest frustration when dealing with White Oak.

The first time I worked with it, it beat the holy snot out of my tools. I was cutting a lot of dovetails, and there was a lot more sharpening than usual. Long days, dull and chipped (!!) tools... I pulled out the usual litany of appropriate language, and ended up dulling the edge on that, too. By the time the job was done, I was quite ready to call it quits on working with QS oak ever again, or at least for a while.

Then I splashed some oil on the piece, and the finished product had the unmitigated nerve to look great. Chagrined does not begin to describe the feeling.

Congrats on a beautiful floor. :)

Can't wait to see the pillars, now...

7 December 2009 at 12:48  

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