This project was extremely complex as it included; splicing in 800 square feet of new 3” red oak hardwood into 500 square feet of existing factory finished hardwood, installing a herringbone pattern with a border in the dining room, a picture frame around the fireplace, flush mount registers, installing new treads, risers, and a landing on the stairs, and sanding/finishing everything. I had to cut each piece of the herringbone to an exact length and route both ends. There ended up being over 300 pieces. That’s a lot of work especially when you’re doing it all by yourself!
National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) courses; Intermediate Sand and Finish and Intermediate Installation
This was a tremendous project and such a positive impact on me as a hardwood professional. The idea was to create a floor with a traditional feeling. To achieve the traditional feeling we used traditional techniques. Hard maple trees from Thronville, Ohio were cut and processed with a bandsaw mill. The boards were taken to Holmes County, Ohio where they were turned into tongue and groove flooring measuring 8", 7", 6", and 5". The flooring was installed by blind nailing with the pneumatic nailer as well as replica 18th century cut nails installed by hand (over 1,000!).
The flooring was installed in completely random widths. There is no discernible pattern between the 8", 7", 6", and 5" boards. The cut nails were driven into the home's floor joists providing a tremendous amount of holding power. The floor was finished with a linseed oil and wax which added depth and helped to define the bandsaw marks. The color was selected to match existing wood work in the home. The floor completely transformed the home.
The maple was taken from the farm in Thornville to the lumber mill in Holmes County. The 1" thick boards were planed down to 3/4", squared, ripped to the appropriate width, and tongue and grooved. The mill did a great job.
The cut nails add such a neat touch. They were acquired through Tremont Nail Company in Mansfield, Massachusetts. Tremont operates out of the same nail manufacturing mill they first opened in 1819 and still uses some of the same equipment from the mid 1800's. These particular cut nails are called boat nails. The middle of the nail is wider than the top and bottom.
The combination of the aesthetic attributes of the floor along with the knowledge of the floor's origins 50 miles away, merge to create a truly unique and traditional floor. To read the article I wrote for Hardwood Floors Magazine follow the link below:
This was an especially meaningful project as it is the kitchen of my childhood home. Removing the multiple layers of existing flooring was like going back through my life in reverse. The underlying hardwood was covered in a thick layer of old backer pad and adhesive, which is not ideal for a refinish. It turned into a real labor of love as I scraped and sanded most of the floor by hand.
Another interesting aspect of this project is that there are two different hardwood floors; 2 1/4” red oak and 3” heart pine. They were once separated by a wall, however that wall is now gone and the two floors did not line up. After much thought we decided to install a transition board between the two floors made from a large 6x6 beam from our barn. The floor was finished with Pallmann Magic Oil.
This project came about through a chance meeting at the Old Hilliardfest Art & Street Fair. The homeowner wanted to bring the feeling of her recently sold farmhouse into her new house. She had done her homework and knew exactly what she wanted. 3/4" solid wide plank white oak, hand cut live edges, completely prefinished off-site culminating with multiple coats of OSMO oil, and finally nailed down (no glue). I immediately felt a connection and knew this was going to be a wonderful process and a beautiful end product.
The process of prefinishing the hardwood off-site proved to be the most challenging and rewarding step of the project. Each board went through 13 dedicated stations prior to being loaded onto the trailer for delivery. Starting with unfinished white oak from a nationally recognized top tier mill, Sheoga, we began to age the wood with hand tools. Wire brushes, a spokeshave, a draw knife, and a scraper. Each adding subtle characteristics to the boards. The boards were blackened with a vinegar/steel wool solution prior to being sanded. Each board received multiple coats of OSMO oil followed by machine buffing. The boards were air dried on drying racks to cure prior to installation.
I had never heard of OSMO oil until this project. It turned out to be a great product. It's a natural, low VOC oil/wax finish that penetrates into the wood and protects from within as opposed to building a film on top of the wood. The result is a very deep and rich color while not creating a barrier between yourself and the wood. Hand applying the OSMO at waist level in good lighting allowed us to ensure proper coverage.
Believe it or not, mixing steel wool and vinegar together and allowing to sit for different amounts of time will turn certain species of wood a dark color when applied. The solution interacts with the tannin content of the wood. White oak has a high tannin content, so the effect is pretty dramatic. Once dried, the solution was sanded off the surface yet remained in the recesses.
The installation went very smooth thanks in part to Sheoga's exceptional milling as well as the wide width and long lengths. Notice the cut nails in the picture. Similar to the Forest to Floor project, the entire floor was face nailed due the wide width. A pilot hole was drilled for each nail prior to being hand driven. There are thousands of cut nails in the floor and in conjunction with the cleats that were blind nailed, this floor is crazy strong.
This two story home in Troy was built in 1908. The first floor has 2 1/4” red oak hardwood installed over floor boards. The red oak was in terrible shape as can be seen in the first picture and there were 6 vents and returns that had to be covered. The real story is the second floor of the home; original heart pine floor boards. They were not as bad as the red oak, but still not good. The Hummel did a tremendous job of restoring them to their original glory.
This project evolved around the notion of a "worry-free floor." The idea was to create a hardwood floor that could withstand the abuse of everyday family life while minimizing the visual effect of that abuse. Also, the floor needed to be able to handle the effects of open windows a large portion of the year in Ohio. The "worry-free" effect was achieved through a combination of 3/4" engineered hickory, hand scraping, and a linseed oil wax finish.
Plant based and volatile organic compound (VOC) free, this finish combination is driven into the wood using a buffing machine. The high RPMs in conjunction with the weight of the machine simultaneously heat up and drive the finish into the wood fibers. The result is a finished product with depth that brings out the natural color of the wood along with the grain. In addition to the organic look and natural sheen, normal wear-and-tear do not produce the unsightly white scratch marks commonly associated with a factory finished floor. Any areas identified as needing repair can be locally touched up with a few drops of oil.
The hickory is an engineered product meaning that it is not solid hickory. Each board is 3/4" thick with the wear layer (top) being hickory. The wear layer on the hickory for this project is the thickest on the market. The core is comprised of 11 layer baltic birch cross-grained plywood, which is also the best on the market. The benefit of engineered hardwood flooring is that it is very dimensionally stable. It resists the urge to expand and contract due to humidity swings much more than solid hardwood (especially in wider widths). This engineered hickory is also Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified ensuring that is came from responsibly managed forests.
First, the edges of the hickory boards were eased by hand using a sanding block. Each board was then softened with a damp sponge and hand scraped using a two stripe pattern. The boards were then hand sanded. All of that was done prior to installation. After installation the entire floor was hand sanded once again. The hand scraping adds character and texture to the floor while also serving as camouflage for future wear-and-tear.
Prior to the advent of drum sanders for flooring use, hardwood floors were scraped flat using a hand scraper. It's very challenging work, however, the look and feel of the finished floor is truly authentic. Walking on the floor barefoot will make you realize that this is the floor you were meant to walk on. You can feel the connection to the wood and the craftsmanship.
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This was a really fun project we completed for some really great homeowners in Troy, Ohio. We started with 4" rift and quartered white oak from a mill in southern Ohio. We hand sanded, edged, and wire brushed the hardwood off site prior to hand staining with Duraseal's ebony color. After installation the floor was coated with 2 coats of Pallmann Magic Oil.
These stairs were custom designed and built for a client in Victorian Village. They lead from the second floor up to the third floor loft. We wanted to expose as much of the brick wall as possible while building a set of stairs that appeared as though they were original to the house. They were made out of pine to match the floor and finished in a Rubio Monocoat 0% VOC oil.
800 square feet of 2 1/4” clear maple was installed to match 500 square feet of existing maple. The existing maple was in bad shape after 15 years of use by a busy family of 5. The original finish was an oil based product that had significantly ambered over time into an unflattering yellow. The goal was to achieve a white look that is maple’s natural color, and to keep that white look over the next 15 years. To get the look I used an ultra clear sealer underneath a water based polyurethane.
I was able to start refinishing this floor the same week that the homeowners closed on the house, which is a terrific time to embark on a refinishing project. This floor is actually two separate floors. The front half of the house is original 1 1/2” red oak and the back half is 2 1/4” red oak. The floor was sanded and stained a custom grey color. Due to the age of the 1 1/2” red oak, I had to dilute the stain to keep the color consistent with the back half of the house.
A few months after this project the homeowners removed their fireplace and the tile it was sitting on. I went back and patched, sanded, stained, and finished the area. It turned out really nice.
This turned out to be a really neat varying width hickory floor in German Village. The widths are 2 1/4", 3 1/4", 5" and they combine in a non sequential order to create a unique floor. The open stair rail gave us an opportunity to incorporate a subtle design element.
Jake takes some pretty cool pictures
This is an original staircase in German Village getting sanded down with the Festool. The staircase leads from the first floor to the second floor. We wanted to blend the blonde hardwood on the first floor with the dark hardwood on the second floor. We decided to sand off the the old finish, but not deep enough to remove the character marks from 100 years of use. We actually highlighted the character marks with a dark stain before applying multiple coats of a water based polyurethane. We also gave the risers a facelift.
We installed 5" bamboo in this dentist office. We also made our own baseboard for this project.