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.