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.

16 Comments:

Blogger EMBO said...

That is truly beautiful! Amazing work. :)

Emily

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.

Cheers,
Konrad

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...
QUALITY!!!
Black

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...
Superb!!!

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.

Cheers,
Konrad

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.

Cheers,
Konrad

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

Konrad,

I'm sorry to hear about your head exploding.

Dan

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.

Cheers,
Konrad

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

Konrad

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!

Tom

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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Saturday, 28 November 2009

An incredible piece of Rosewood

(and another honkin’ big plane!)



I have been working on a 28-1/2" A2 jointer for the last several weeks. The infill is Rosewood, steel sides and a bronze lever cap. The set was roughed out almost 3 years ago. When I took the first cut off the rough piece I had selected, I saw this amazing pair of black lines. They were unusually straight and I knew right away that I was morally obligated not to screw up this special grain. I immediately roughed out a set for a 28-1/2" jointer. My goal was to preserve enough of the line to carry it from the front bun all the way to the rear infill.



I started on the rear infill first and was very pleased to find that the line did not disappear as the wood started to take shape.



A long view of the rear infill...


(click on the photo for a larger view)

... and a close up of a particularly nice section right beside the handle. It is hard to see it from this angle, but there is a black line in the handle that lines up perfectly with the black line on the deck of the rear infill. The planets had certainly lined up for me!




The block for the front bun is also fit, and the grain looks to be equally stunning.



And here is what I was after - that black line running from front to back.



And a close-up of the rear infill where it terminates into the sole.



The chamfers have been “roughed” on the sidewalls and the dovetails have been ground off using a bench grinder. The next step is the front bun.

12 Comments:

Blogger David said...

Amazing Konrad! this will look so good under the french polish, I wish I had the money to buy such a special piece of art(tool).
one day, I aspire to achive your precision and artistry in my wood working!
Great work!
Best regard.
David

29 November 2009 at 03:55  
Blogger Joe Powers said...

I'd love to see pictures of using the bench grinder to remove your dovetail protrusions. Thanks.

29 November 2009 at 09:45  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow!!

Serious hunk of rosewood Konrad, absolutely inspiring wood you've got there, and it's a perfect mate to that monster A-1. Congrats on the fitting, the stars definitely were aligned.(lol)

Cheers,
Steve

29 November 2009 at 14:45  
Blogger Konrad said...

Thank-you for the very kind comments David. I am dying to get some french polish on it too. It is going to be sensational!

Warmest wishes,
Konrad

29 November 2009 at 17:22  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hi Joe,

I will ask Jill to take a few photos next time I am grinding at the wheel.

Cheers,
Konrad

29 November 2009 at 17:23  
Blogger Konrad said...

Thanks Steve. Sections of Rosewood do not come along too often and I like to take full advantage of it when I find it. Kinda like finding Brazilian Rosewood burl... you want to use it the right way in the right plane.

Cheers,
Konrad

29 November 2009 at 17:24  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Konrad,

I love the traditional look of the old Brazilian rosewood with the steel. You've done a great job optimizing the figure in that one.

Unfortunately, your blog doesn't convey how well these planes work.
I am continually amazed by your planes' performance.Someone is going to cherish that plane for a long time.

Thanks for sharing the process.

Dan

30 November 2009 at 08:30  
Blogger Raney said...

Unbelievable piece of wood - and I agree that there's nothing quite like Brazilian rosewood and a steel-sided plane. Gorgeous!

30 November 2009 at 11:17  
Blogger Konrad said...

Thanks Dan. And I agree - the traditional look is pretty amazing (it doesn't hurt to have an incredible infill either:). "Performance" is a pretty tough thing to photograph or write about - it is one of those things than has to be experienced. And even then - not everyone will like they way they feel. But in the right hands - they are pretty amazing tools.

Warmest wishes,
Konrad

2 December 2009 at 07:53  
Blogger Konrad said...

Thanks Raney. I fully understand why it is so highly prized.

Cheers,
Konrad

2 December 2009 at 07:54  
Blogger Jim said...

That is one of the best I have seen yet my friend, might need to see how I could use one...

2 December 2009 at 09:28  
Blogger Konrad said...

Thanks Jim. You do realize this is all part of the evil plot right:)

Take care,
Konrad

2 December 2009 at 20:18  

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Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Border & banding details



Here are some further details of the inlay in the border. I decided to integrate the inlay into the floor as opposed to try and add it after the border was installed. The process worked amazingly well - here is what I did.

The above photo shows the rabbet I cut into the floor boards just above the groove. I did this on the table saw with a dado head. I debated on using a router, but the table saw was much faster (I needed 170 linear ft). The rabbet was 7/32" deep and 1/4" wide.



Here is a photo of the banding “sandwich”. I started with three, 9' piece of black dyed Swiss pear veneer. They were 4-1/2" wide and .9mm thick. I cut them in half to yield six, 4-1/2' long pieces. I then found a really curly piece of hard maple and milled three pieces that were 3/16" thick, by 4-1/2" wide and 4-1/2' long. I glued up 3 “sandwiches” consisting of a piece of black Swiss pear, a piece of curly maple and then another piece of black Swiss pear. I put a layer of wax paper between each layer and put a caul on the top and the bottom of the triple-decker sandwich.

After 24 hours, I took off the clamps. I edge jointed each layer and went to the bandsaw where I ripped off as many 9/32" wide pieces as I could. I did not re-joint each piece between strips - but the over sized height made up for any variation in the bandsawn edge. I glued each strip in, and held it in place with blue painters tape every 2" (it took 2 rolls!).




Here is a shot of the underside to see what it looks like. Note that the width of the banding hangs beyond the white oak. This was intentional so that the banding would be snug against the next piece. The photo below shows what I mean.



(note the gap between the pieces at the bottom)




Here is a photo of the banding after cleaning up the miter.




This photo is out of order, but after the banding was glued in, I took a few minutes to plane it flush with the tops of the flooring pieces. It made installation a little easier and also allowed me to make sure everything worked according to plan. Plus it made for a great photo!

10 Comments:

Blogger David said...

Konrad, I have to say that will be the most intricat and beautyfull floor I have seen! Wow!
David

18 November 2009 at 19:30  
Blogger Jim said...

Konrad, Simply Stunning, incredible design and installation....

18 November 2009 at 20:09  
Blogger Konrad said...

Thanks guys. And boy - you are fast!

Cheers,
Konrad

18 November 2009 at 20:56  
Blogger JW said...

Beautiful job Konrad.

After reading about the dyed veneer, I have to voice my concern about your choice of finish.

I've used veneer like that before, on a table top inlay. One problem I had was that when the veneer got wet (I used some water to get the veneer tape to come up) the dye bled. BLO is great stuff, but I really, really, would hate to see anything like that happen to your floor.

It gets wet up here in the snowy white north. That means snow on the shoes, and water on the floor.

Skip clearing out the furniture to refinish the floor. I'd hate to have to deal with the chaos involved in rapid-fire drying of any trouble spots.

I'd try a few test finishes on scraps, first. See what looks good, and what holds up to water.

18 November 2009 at 23:00  
Blogger Konrad said...

Thanks JW. There was some dyed veneer in the test section I did and there was no bleeding of the dye at all. I will do a test with some water just to be sure - thanks for the heads up.

Cheers,
Konrad

18 November 2009 at 23:04  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the additional pictures showing the border and banding details. As always with your stuff, Konrad, a super job.

Cheers ;-)

Paul Chapman

19 November 2009 at 06:28  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Konrad,

Thanks for the detailed explanation. The way you did this (before installation) is more forgiving in case of a mistake when cutting the rabbet. Its a lot easier to replace a board when its not already down.
Were there any alignment issues butting the banding end to end?

Wayne

19 November 2009 at 10:55  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hi Wayne,

There were a few spots where the alignment was not perfect... but I will have a more accurate sense once everything is sanded down.

Cheers,
Konrad

19 November 2009 at 11:18  
Blogger tomausmichigan said...

Konrad

Absolutely great! The photos, the banding, the installation, everything! But once the finish is on, we will need some close-ups of your favorite medullary rays. You must have favorites.

Tom

21 November 2009 at 19:04  
Blogger Konrad said...

Thanks Tom.

Oh don't you worry - there are some stunning pieces in this floor. there are a few that come to mind... curly, quarter sawn and full of rays. They should be electric with some finish.

Cheers,
Konrad

21 November 2009 at 20:23  

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Sunday, 15 November 2009

The end of the floor installation



The border and thresholds are now installed - the next step is to sand and finish the floor. Thanks to everyone who has offered their opinions on the finish. Your advise has positively influenced us for sure - and we are going to go with a very simple finish. I made up a small test section of floor, sanded it to 120 grit and applied a single coat of double boiled linseed oil. Everything came alive and the ray flecks and curly hard maple look amazing.



Installing the mitered corners


Unfortunately, I did not get a photo of the “miter station”. I clamped a shooting board to our kitchen island and used my large mitre plane to shoot all the mitres. The plane performed wonderfully.



We had to do some face nailing on the outermost courses of the border - the stapler could not get in that tight.




Steve and I were pretty surprised at how slowly the border went. The installation took almost as long as the herringbone did. We also realized that there were 14 mitered corners in this room - as opposed to 4 in a square space. I do not regret all the corners though - they really make the space pretty amazing.



There were a few high spots in the floor but a small smoother made very quick work of it. This should greatly reduce the sanding time.


















I used some curly quarter sawn white oak for the thresholds. These were a bit tricky to install - the new floor had the tongues facing towards the existing floor, and the existing floor had the tongues facing the new floor. I ended up cutting a dado in both edges of the threshold and pushed it in place with the adjacent white oak strip still loose. It worked very well and the joints are very tight. Oh, and to add yet another twist - the threshold had to be tapered a bit to square the two floors to one another.

14 Comments:

Blogger teal and gold said...

Wow, that room looks amazing. Congrats on a job almost done.

18 November 2009 at 01:36  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That looks lovely, Konrad. It's been very interesting watching your floor take shape.

Cheers ;-)

Paul Chapman

18 November 2009 at 02:54  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Konrad,

I've been following your floor build and it turned out very nice indeed, looking forward to the finish as I suspect you are too. I remember doing the floor in my workshop with 6 coats of pure tung oil, it was quite the process but over time the floor has aged beautifully.
I was wondering whether you could give some detail on the border/banding and how you actually put it all together, I'd like to do something similar although I'm using different wood species.

Many thanks,
Wayne

18 November 2009 at 10:08  
Anonymous JeffB said...

The floor really looks nice, but it will be even better when finish is applied. You can already tell the grain is just going to come to life.

Couples questions for you. Exactly how is the first border piece "connected" to the main pattern. When you cut the herringbone on the edges with your saw, did you route a groove to accept the first border piece? If not, how are you going to keep the border from raising if it is only nailed on one side? Or does the little banding strip hide a nail going through the tongue of the border piece?

For the finish, are you going to use DBLO followed by wax (as discussed in your previous post)? If so, you may want to check out http://thewoodwhisperer.com/the-difference-a-film-makes/. Floors take a lot of abuse (especially with kids) and a BLO/Wax combo would seem to be a recipe for lots of upkeep down the road. Easy to repair though.

18 November 2009 at 11:02  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Konrad,

As always, it is your mastery of the devilish details that distinguishes you as an extraordinary craftsman. I'm enjoying the show.

What is going in the square cut-outs against the walls? I can't wait to see what you do next.

I hope to see it all in person some day.

Dan

18 November 2009 at 16:43  
Blogger Konrad said...

Thanks Teel & Gold and Paul.

18 November 2009 at 16:52  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hi Wayne,

No problem on more details of the border and banding - I just came in from taking a few close ups. I will post tonight.

Cheers,
Konrad

18 November 2009 at 16:53  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hi Jeff,

The first piece of the border is not connected to the herringbone field. In hindsight - it might have been a good idea spline it or something... but that would be quite a bit more work. We did face nail the first pieces along the edges near the herringbone - and then staple just above the tongue at a 45 degree angle.

The banding strip is actually attached to the piece of white oak - essentially integrated in the individual boards. This way - I could treat the banded pieces as regular flooring. Hopefully it will be clear with the next entry.

We were thinking of using DBLO under a coat of Fabulon (sp?) which is a film based finish. We used it in our sunroom and are very happy with it. I agree that we are looking for something durable - we have two boys under 10 and this space will see a fair amount of traffic. I am not excited about removing all the furniture once a year to re-do the floor.

Cheers,
Konrad

18 November 2009 at 17:00  
Blogger Konrad said...

Thanks Dan. You are always welcome for a visit.

The cut-outs are for columns... cause doing a herringbone floor just wasn’t enough work:)

Cheers,
Konrad

18 November 2009 at 17:01  
Anonymous JeffB said...

"We did face nail the first pieces along the edges near the herringbone - and then staple just above the tongue at a 45 degree angle."

Ah, I guess that will hold it down although now you have nail holes to fill (maybe your banding hides this to some degree). I am in perpetual hardwood flooring installation investigation mode because that is something I would like to do in my house. Information on the more complex border treatments and designs does seem hard to come by so I am always looking for new information.

I have no clue really but I think the typical way to incorporate that first border piece would be to route a groove in the perimeter of the herringbone field and then use a spline to connect it to the border. Still more research to do...

18 November 2009 at 21:58  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hi Jeff,

I agree - routing a groove and then spline the first row makes the most sense. We had talked about it here -but realized we did not take enough care with how close the stapes were to the edge. Hitting one of those with a router would be bad news!

Good luck with your own flooring adventure.

Konrad

18 November 2009 at 23:01  
Blogger Adrian Baird Ba Than said...

It's looking gorgeous Konrad,you're adding mountains,prairies & rivers to the value of your home.When I say value I don't mean anything gaudy like dollar value I mean the inate worth that comes from something that is beautifully made.You're showing your boys that taking the extra effort IS worth it & that well made things not only look better but last longer so are therefore more cost effective!
The only problem I forsee is who gets the house when you & Jill transform into the force???
As we say in Scotland,
"Oan yersel!"
Black

19 November 2009 at 14:56  
Blogger Konrad said...

Thanks Black. Thank-you for your comment and noticing that extra effort and that the effort is not because of a dollar value, but because of all the other valuable reasons for doing this. We are hoping our kids pick up on this and is of benefit to them as they grow up. Without being over the top about it - I think there is great value in showing the next generation that things of quality were produced by our generation and not just by our great, great grandparents at the turn of the century.

Transforming into the force... now that is funny! And I suspect at that point, we will not be too worried about the floor but more interested in looking back on all the things we did to arrive at a small hut on Dagobah.

Cheers,
Konrad

19 November 2009 at 18:51  
Blogger Jameel said...

Please pass the Ibuprofen....

Awesome Konrad. Infill planes and carpentry...dogs and cats living together...!!

19 November 2009 at 21:57  

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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.






14 Comments:

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...
Cheers
Black

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

Drooooool!!!

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.

Cheers,
Konrad

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.

Cheers,
Konrad

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...
Cheers
Black

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

Konrad

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.

Tom

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.

thanks,
Konrad

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.

Thanks
Tom

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.

Cheers,
Konrad

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

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

27 December 2009 at 14:07  

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Tuesday, 3 November 2009

At the end of day one.


There is a particular line in one of the installation documents I found that was very fitting;

“This pattern is best left to the skilled craftsmen”


My friend Steve and I have been talking about this floor for a few years now, and when he arrived at 8:30 this morning - it was strange to be finally starting. There were several false starts. Then there were a few starts that ended badly and had to be started again. But... after several hours of head scratching and talking it through - it started to come together. 10 rows in... it fell apart... again.



after 5 rows - we thought we had it


So we had some lunch and continued to talk it through. We returned with a new strategy and thankfully - it worked. Steve changed the way he was nailing and I set up a quick workbench on the mantel and took a few shavings here and there to bring everything back into square when gaps showed up. We were both really surprised how sensitive the flooring was to the order of the 3 nails in each board. What seemed to be working was to put a nail in the middle of the piece, then one on each end. Steve alternated the order of which end he did first - and that really seemed to help. Every once in a while, I would have to take 6 shavings off a board - introducing a slight taper. Neither of us could figure out what was happening to the floor to cause this, but 6 shavings seemed to do the trick. We quickly found our pace and the floor really started to come together - for real.



taking 6 passes




the center line


We figured this would take us 2 days - and we knew we were being hopefully optimistic. By 5 pm we stopped and had accomplished much more than either of us thought we would.






My Japanese hammer was the perfect tool for this job. The domed end has just enough curvature to keep from damaging the ends as they are tapped into position.



There are 261 pieces left and after doing a quick measurement and count - I think there will be just enough.


And as I was downloading these images from Jill’s camera - I found this shot. She took this just after I finished sanding the drywall. Curiously - my back does not seem quite as sore.

4 Comments:

Blogger Jameel said...

Wow. The floor is looking spectacular Konrad. I wonder how many flooring installers are using an infill coffin smoother to tweak the courses! I look forward to seeing the finished product. Nice Roy Batty impersonation, by the way. ;-)

4 November 2009 at 19:19  
Blogger Jim said...

That is amazing, love the pattern, so sweet Konrad!

That pic of you is priceless, print it out and date it, put it in a time capsule and hide it in that room for future explores!!

:-)

5 November 2009 at 08:51  
Blogger Konrad said...

Thanks Jameel. I am not sure about how many infills make it into floor installers kits... but it would be one tool that would really suck to leave between two joists and drywall it in! Well... crappy for me... but good for the person who finds it in 100 years:)

Cheers,
Konrad

6 November 2009 at 07:06  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hey Jim,

Yeah - I debated on posting that photo - pretty sad state of affairs - but if you cannot laugh at yourself you are doomed right? A time capsule is a good idea. We have been leaving little hints in all the rooms we work on - signatures here and there etc. But a photo would be a good one.

Cheers,
Konrad

6 November 2009 at 07:08  

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