Amish made hardwood

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 Post subject: Best finish
PostPosted: Fri Mar 21, 2008 5:03 pm 
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I was wondering if anyone could recommend their favourite brand of finish?

Long story short, we bought the house 4 years ago, the living room floor was covered in this nasty tar paper. Nothing would take it off.

Finally, a couple of weeks ago, we rented the tools to do it, and got the floor all sanded and almost all of the tar off. We are going to be taking the orbital sander to it next weekend, as well as putting the finish on.

I'm pretty sure we are going to go with oil-based urethane.

Also, what is the best way to apply it to get a nice even texture?

Thanks! -Erin & Matt

Here are some photos of the before and after as well

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Amish made hardwood

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 25, 2008 9:37 am 
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bona woodline oil based polyurethane by far


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2008 12:05 am 
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I agree, that is a good pro quality OMU. BYW, did you know that your wood floors are douglas fir? And what you are most likely looking at is the subfloor. The black was an asphalt mastic residue from the previous flooring or underlayment over those fir subfloors.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2008 1:34 am 
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We have a lot of those old fir floor installed up here in the NW. I love using a cherry stain on them. They almost have a domestic cherry look once finished. It is my favorite way to go. I have stained them natural to ebony. The cherry gives an impressive look.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2008 5:40 am 
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That's really interesting to know. We were thinking that they were pine. What would be the best place locally to look for this urethane? Would a woodworking place have it? We looked at Loew's and all they had was MinWax and this other kind that looked like their own brand.

They are the original floor that had been used, though, as there is tar paper underneath this flooring. What had actually happened was this place had been a school and was built in 1918. The few planks in the middle of the floor mark where the hallway separating the entryway from the classroom had been. When the family that bought it in 1930 renovated the house, they had put the tar backing down on the wood along with about 6 different layers of linoleum and carpet.

If these floors are indeed the subfloor, I'm not sure what the school children would've had to walk on other than this. The floors are tongue/groove, though.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2008 1:23 am 
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If I were you I would look at using Bona water based products. The ease of use, clear finished look, and their durability are the reason that I use them. If you want a rustic but modern looking floor then I would use a natural water based sealer (Bona Deep Tone Sealer). As I said before Bona's Drifast Cherry stain on these fir floors, gives a floor that looks fresh and new but still looks historically correct. I dislike using oil based products on these floors since they "orange out" so bad in time.

As for finish Bona Mega is extremely easy to use and a bit less expensive. However, Bona Traffic is well worth the money. If there was any way for you to use Traffic I highly recommend that your expense will be well worth it.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 28, 2008 6:42 pm 
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Thanks Barquios. I really do appreciate any help we can get.

I tried my best to talk my Fiance out of doing an oil-based polyurethane, but he was dead set on it. He was also dead set on not staining it either.

If it oranges out and he doesn't like it, he'll be the one to refinish the floors again :)

Tomorrow we'll be doing the final sanding cut on the floor and then be laying down the sealer and the first coat of finish.

I'm still having a hard time figuring out why in the world they would have used Douglas Fir for the floors here. Apparently it's a pretty rare thing to find here in Indiana, on top of this having been a school, since Fir isn't the hardest wood for a high traffic area.

Here's a more updated shot of the wood - that first one was right after we got the tar off using 20 grit.

Image

Image


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Mar 29, 2008 2:04 pm 
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Yeah, given the age and location, Indiana, I'd have thought maple would have been the typical choice for school houses. Here in the western states, fir was commonly used in factories, stores, schools, warehouses, porches, homes, etc. It does dent easily.


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 Post subject: Did you get your floor completed?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2008 8:29 pm 
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My son is doing a very similar project and I was wondering what you decided on the finish and if you had pictures? Thanks for any help. DT


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2008 5:12 pm 
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Sorry for the slow reply.

We ended up going with Bona oil-based polyurethane in satin. It turned out beautifully. We're pretty happy with the results, except for a few stray hairs in the finish.... mine, unfortunately.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 27, 2008 1:06 am 
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Floor looks great! You gotta love that! :D

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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Sat Feb 06, 2010 1:32 am 
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Gary wrote:
I agree, that is a good pro quality OMU. BYW, did you know that your wood floors are douglas fir? And what you are most likely looking at is the subfloor. The black was an asphalt mastic residue from the previous flooring or underlayment over those fir subfloors.



I know this post is a million years old but I would respectfully disagree with Gary about this being an original subfloor. They were probably originally exposed original floor and the Fir is excellent in resistance to rot and bugs because the high tannin content. The old growth yellow fir was so sappy you can bubble it out with a heat gun!

Then before amazing new technologies (poly and modern finishes) maintenance was such a drag with constant
waxing and re-shelaccing which never made them look as good as today, they just said screw it and adapted to the new mod linoleum in the 40's and beyond. Now in this era (thankfully for craftsmen like Gary and the other pros)
the rediscovery of these great treasures has caught on like wildfire.

THat said, my experience with that nasty tar-paper was pretty awful, until I solved a few issues.
I wasn't going to try and sand it because I was afraid it would gum up with the heat.
So I saw a post on some site that recommended a wallpaper steamer/stripper! just kept moving the paddle
to the next spot and scraped off with a wood chisel for maximum torque and leverage.

Also the maple had a million screw-nails holding down the 1/4" sub plywood, what a nightmare. I used a Collins Ax to get that up!

Hat's off to you, we both have gone to hell and back and have done a justice to the old school craft...


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 Post subject: Re: Best finish
PostPosted: Sat Feb 06, 2010 8:06 pm 
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Not quite understanding what you're trying to say here. First you say you disagree, then say the fir floors are original.

Quote:
I would respectfully disagree with Gary about this being an original subfloor. They were probably originally exposed original floor


Are you saying that these fir floorboards are installed over an existing subfloor? That is quite possible. Here on the pacific coast, it was commonly done both ways. T&G 3/4" x 3.5" fir floor boards were sometimes nailed directly to the floor joists. And they served as both subfloor and finished floor. In other areas, they were used as a subfloor only. And in other situations, fir flooring was nailed to solid lumber subfloors. But that was more uncommon here, as builders are a thrifty lot. Mostly, fir flooring was laid as both finished wood floor and subfloor. Seen it a lot in San Francisco and Berkeley. Then in the nicer areas of the home, they would overlay the fir with 5/16" face-nailed oak, usually quartersawn white oak. This was standard practice in the SF Bay area from the late 19th century through the 1930's. Seen it in multiple homes.

But in stores, warehouses, schools, factories, etc., it was used as both the subfloor AND the finished floor. It was often just oiled with products like P&L's Okene Oil. Or painted. In homes, they would try to stain, shellac and wax ( the typical finishing system for hardwood ) but it didn't work as well on fir as it did on oak due to fir's greater denting.

BTW, the predominant fir used was Douglas Fir. It is known to be strong and somewhat rot resistant, if protected from water by paint. Not nearly as rot resistant as redwood or cedar but much stronger. It has been the building industry's framing wood of choice for over 70 yrs.
Clear fir boards have been used as flooring, interior trim, stair components, furniture, exterior trim, cabinets, etc. A very nice wood.


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 Post subject: Re: Best finish
PostPosted: Sat Feb 06, 2010 8:32 pm 
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Nooo what I mean was that the Fir was probably the original flooring material, not as a sub-floor under something else.
And then they covered it when the linoleum and wall-to-wall carpet craze came about.

I think the region in the US (or world for that matter) would depend on what the most abundant material was.
In the Great-Lakes region there was so much oak they used to burn it to run steam ships! Could you imagine
that now? But almost all homes in Chicagoland pre-Korean war were built with Michigan Oak.
The closest woods by the west coast I would imagine are Fir (not really a hardwood but sturdy enough)
, redwoods and I don't know what else from the nearby mountains.

More often than not these strip floors were built over some kind of plank or timber, almost never directly on the joist.
After the depression hit, the biggest building boom in US history came to an end, and they started skimping.

I love history.

BTW the bungalow ('27) I'm restoring is all Red Oak in and out except for guess what? The windows themselves!
I discovered those being Fir. Very hard to sand to plane, I had to make my own shapes from blocks to wrap the paper
around. Thank God the windows were the only thing painted, everything else was painted with Butternut in the late 60's.
Before that a simple golden varnish. Hardest thing is to watch the lead in the stain glass when you're sanding...


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 Post subject: Re: Best finish
PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2010 9:37 am 
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Quote:
More often than not these strip floors were built over some kind of plank or timber, almost never directly on the joist.
After the depression hit, the biggest building boom in US history came to an end, and they started skimping.


Well, not here on the west coast. I have worked many dozens of homes and historic buildings. Most of the time, fir flooring was used as both subfloor and finished flooring. If they wanted something nicer, they overlaid it with 5/16" oak.


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