Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Hardwood Flooring Whitby Ajax Oshawa

Strip Hardwood Flooring is the traditional flooring of the 50's.

They use smaller and shorter, lower grades of material and tongue and groove the ends as well. Some strips are 12" long... some are 36" and anywhere in-between.
This strip flooring is roughly 3". Merv doesn't often mill material this small. In the interest of showing you different looks and options, we include these.
You can reach Luke at (416) 834-0750 or (888) 293-8938
This was unfinished oak, 3" strip which was stained and finished with 3 layers of high end verathane. You can tell from the photo above that it was finished in place due to the smooth appearance in the light from the window.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Antiqued Wide Plank Flooring

Antiqued Wide Plank Flooring
There are different ways to lay flooring. Sometimes it is a restoration type of project where we have to mill douglas fir into quarter sawn planks and then lay string in to create spaces and use square head nails to match a nearly 200 year old floor. Don't get me started about the tinting. Photo(Etobicoke-Toronto Wide Plank Pine Flooring Custom Tint)
Flooring can be antiqued using chains, bolts, ball bearings, carved hammers and chain mail. The goal is to make it look old before it's time. There are a million techniques and some will look more rustic than others. We could start out with thicker boards and even sand wear paths out when it comes to pine and softer woods.
My caution here is that the expectation needs to be met--not managed. Managing after a client is upset will cause problems later. Best to have an informed client. Photo(Etobicoke-Toronto Wide Plank Pine Flooring Custom Tint)
If they like the look of pine, but aren't aware that pine will crush beneath heavy furniture and chairs and leave marks, and that high heels will mar the surface (antiquing the flooring further), and that the flooring will wear away with time. Beech is a hardwood that can be stained to look much like pine, (and without so many knots), if they want a better wearing floor. Photo(Etobicoke-Toronto Wide Plank Pine Flooring Custom Tint)
A good hardwood, or Antique Wide Plank Flooring supplier will show you samples of what the floor will look like before it is installed.
The floors seen in these photos were installed in an Etobicoke-Toronto Area residence and had to be stripped up after installation and hickory put down instead because the contractor didn't explain to the client what they were buying. It was nearly 3000 sf of flooring. Photo(Etobicoke-Toronto Wide Plank Pine Flooring Custom Tint)
The photos in this article were provided by Lawrence Winterburn. He was the trim carpenter doing crown molding, base and hanging doors on the site.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Barrie Area Hardwood Flooring Company

Nothing looks better beneath a Christmas Tree than Real Wood Flooring.
The client wanted a rustic wide plank wood floor and an instantly old look so we gave pine the run down with 18 grit paper which gave it a scratchy surface. We gave it a rough scrape with 40 grit on the drum sander to even things out a bit. A light sand with the buffer to make it feel more smooth without taking out the slightly rough finish and this Wide Plank Pine floor was ready for stain. (photo) Wide Plank Pine Barrie On.
We mixed high quality tints by hand to produce this exotic, South American Hardwood looking custom colour. Then gave it 3 coats of a high end verathane.
Most people don't realize that we can put down high quality wide plank flooring of any species and give it nearly any colour tint we want. Some species absorb the finish better than others. Every type of wood has subtle differences in grain and colouration. You could use the same color stain on 5 different types of wood with entirely different appearances.
This Beech Flooring has beautiful tone differences between sap and heartwood and has a natural color applied--however there is nothing stopping you from giving it a deep red tone to make it look much like tiger wood.
. (photo) Strip Beech Flooring Barrie On.
Both of these jobs were done in Barrie Ontario. To speak with the hardwood flooring contractors call 705-322-9919 and ask for Lawrence or speak to Jamie Elliott at 705-487 5353.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Wide Plank Flooring Toronto

Wide Plank Flooring Suppliers in Toronto
Random width, wide plank pine, custom tinted installed in a Rosedale Residence in Toronto
The majority of our clients live in or near Toronto Ontario. We offer free shipping directly to the site within the GTA or Barrie*, or you can pick it up at our Mill near Collingwood if you would prefer.
If you look closely at the photo (or click it to see the larger view), our wide plank wood flooring is milled to different widths. When you buy wide plank wood flooring out of a box from a retailer it is usually a 5" board and all the same.
Our Random Wide Plank Products are available in Beech, Ash, Oak, Maple, Pine and most other locally grown species and typically feature 3" to 8" boards and really give a different and more historical look. Pine is available in larger board sizes, however it is a softer wood.
If you would like wide plank wood flooring installed in the Toronto Area please call Lawrence at 416-951-9998. They have 5 crews at the ready all winter long. You can also place your materials order through Lawrence.
You can also order through the mill directly or arrange a visit with Merv at (705) 445-1147. You can click for directions at the side bar, but please call first.
*(on orders of more than $3,000)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Dehumidification Kilns.

These are drying kilns. Sort of like a garden shed with a railroad to move the lifts of stickered lumber in and out.

These kilns use heat and a dehumidifier to remove moisture from the lumber. It takes a few days to take White Pine down to 6%, and can take up to 3 weeks for some hardwoods.

The wood is always dried before being turned into flooring. Drying makes the lumber much more stable and any cracking or twisting will ocurr during the drying phase. When the lumber has "Done its Thing", we then plane it so that it is flat and true it so that it is straight.

Stickering is basically re-stacking with small spacers to allow the air to flow through the lumber. It really has to be done by hand.

These fans circulate the kiln's air through the stickered wood. Plywood is placed to direct the air to fit each load of lumber individually. If you didn't have the circulation the kiln would not dry the lumber all to the same level.

This unit is the dehumidifier--it simply extracts the water from the circulated air. There are other aspects involved, but for simplicity, we are showing you the basics.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Planing Wide Plank Hardwood Flooring

We've come a long way from the days where planing wide plank flooring was done after it was in place.

This is a 10 HP Three Phase Planer. I am not sure how old it is exactly, but she has history.

This 3500 lb machine lived at the Collingwood Shipyards for the first 35 or so years of it's life, and Merv bought it at auction.

It originally had an 8 hp, 500 Volt motor. If he tried to run it with that motor every home within 2 miles would have their lights dim for a second when it started.

This is the kind of wood planer that will remove 1/4" of material a pass and do it smooth, quickly and without slowing down. This is no handyman machine... it was designed for constant duty.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Relief Cuts - What are they for?

Relief Cuts in Flooring

These small cuts out of the bottom of flooring actually have 2 purposes.

Firstly it breaks the tension that causes wood to cup. (Cupping is when the board becomes curved across the width of the flooring).

Secondly it cuts the surface area that contacts the sub-floor. If the boards were flat on the bottom they would likely have more creaks and pivot points. Small bits of sawdust, grit or sand may cause the flooring to pivot or not sit flat after if the relief cuts did not exist. Cutting the surface area down increases the pressure on the contact points--enabling more solid connection.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

White Oak and White Cedar Shingles

Now Milling White Oak Shingles and White Cedar Shingles in the Toronto Area

Many people don't realize that shingles were made from numerous species of wood over the centuries with varying results.
White oak, black locust, honey locust, redwood, cedar, rock elm, yellow poplar and osage orange for examples.
Here in Ontario we traditionally had plenty of White Oak so many historical buildings originally had them.

This is an old school mill with Merv posing beside it. Merv has actually devised a way to do the shingles on his band saw mill. Many have tried... few have had success but he has made it work.
Where Red Cedar may last 20-40 years depending on the grade and who installed them, White Oak shingles may well last twice as long.

White Oak Shingles are difficult to source. They are available now from Colling-Wood Flooring mill starting at $410.00 USD per square. (FOB Collingwood Ontario).
Merv also has a supply of White Cedar to make shingles from. These start at $200.00 per square and again, it depends on the grade. We can custom mill longer, thicker or to just about any specification. Turnaround time is 6 weeks for most orders, so please book ahead.
Most people don't realize that White Oak Shakes or Shingles have a life expectancy of 125 years and obviously they are a renewable and Green Alternative to Asphalt and most other types of roofing.
The other issue is fire protection in places like California. These shingles can be chemically treated to resist fire as well.
Call Merv Directly at (705) 445-1147 for more information about shingles.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Best way to heat a Woodwork Shop

Here's the best way to heat a woodworking shop.
This little shed houses a fireplace with something resembling a truck radiator. Water is circulated through the flooring mill-woodworking shop and the house offering nearly free heat for both.
The fuel for this unit? Off Cuts, Mill Ends, SCRAP wood from the woodshop.
No disposal cost, no delivery surcharge.
This is the most efficient way to heat any woodworking shop.
Inside the shop and showroom are 2 small radiators with fans that are controlled by a thermostat.
Running a profitable woodworking business is about efficiency and practicality. The lower your overhead the higher your profit and the greater your ability to keep pricing competetive.
This is the other shop unit. It is designed so that it doesn't load up with sawdust.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Is Engineered Wood Flooring Durable?

Engineered Wood Flooring is made from numerous layers of plywood and solid wood laid up perpendicular to one another with resin and has a thin layer of hardwood on top. Normally it then has the same polyurethane with aluminum oxide on top to seal it as click flooring. It is more durable than click flooring, however by the price you would think it would be real hardwood flooring.

Engineered flooring normally contains real hardwood so it will look very much like the real thing HOWEVER--If engineered flooring gets damaged you will not likely be successful in repairing it. You may be able to sand lightly and touch up with polyurethane however it just isn't worthwhile. If you tried to refinish it like real hardwood floor you will likely burn through the typical 1/8" veneer when you run a power sander over any high spots. These floors are not likely to look good for more than a few years, then it is replacement time.
Based on price, you are likely better off to install pre-finished strip hardwood which retails about the same price. It takes a little longer to install, however you have the ability to re-finish a couple of times over the life of the floor.
Now, if you want real hardwood flooring, you can have our wide plank Oak, Maple, Ash or Beech for the same price. It takes a little more time to install, and you may want to hire a pro for the finishing, $3.00-4.00 per foot, however you should get 50 years of service from your initial investment and you can custom tint the colour to any shade or colour. If you plan to keep the home for more than 5 years, and you care about value, install real wood flooring.
Our flooring is full length and wider boards than the standard boxed store flooring. It is a far superior looking floor and obviously has a greater intrinsic value for many years to come.
So in summary, use click or laminant for locations where people are not going to take care of it. Rentals, investment properties.
Use real wood for locations where you get to enjoy the durability and the better looks.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Is Click Flooring Hardwood?

Click Flooring ? Hardwood?

Here's a hint.

You cannot buy hardwood flooring for $1 a square foot.

You can likely buy 1/4" mahogany plywood... come to think of it, that is pretty similar to click flooring... but you don't have a million little gaps between the pieces. At least it comes in full sheets.

Click flooring is an architectural product that is designed for maximum coverage with minimum materials. There is typically no actual hardwood within it. Simply resins, hardboard, a photograph layer and a verathane type of product on top with aluminum oxide to seal it.

Don't use click flooring in damp conditions or high traffic areas--it will not last. Click Flooring is at best, a temporary fix for a cheap reno, rental appartment or until you can afford proper flooring.

You cannot re-finish click flooring.

Unless you like the look of raw MDF you simply tear it out... and put it in the bin.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Pine Flooring Mill Operating in Collingwood

Here's something not many folks get to see--Wood flooring being milled. Merv starts with a round log, slices it once, flips it, slices it again, and once more until it is square. There are different settings for hardwood and soft wood when it comes to width. Slicing rough boards has to be done at different widths since it takes a wider p lank to get a flat piece of hardwood than it does pine. Merv says that is due to hardwood tending to cup more during the drying process in some cuts of wood... they just cut them all a little larger. Today, Merv is cutting pine flooring.

Obviously making pine flooring on a log mill is not a DIY activity. My uncle tells a story about a guy in Huntsville l osing an arm at a sawmill...right at the shoulder. He adds horrible comments about the blood and the tourniquet and the pick-up truck ride to the hospital.
This may look like a simple machine, and a simple thing to do however, to get a product out of something like this that is actually good enough to use takes some working out. Merv has rebuilt and reworked this machine to do what he needs it to do. And lets not forget about that under-rated thing called Experience.
When it comes to the trades--Experience is paramount.
We are going to look at the next step in making flooring soon--The drying Kiln.

Monday, September 22, 2008

About our Pine Flooring

Wide Plank Pine Flooring

Wide Plank Pine flooring is a rustic, character rich floor. Over the years it gets scratched, wounded and antiqued. If you plan to have coctail parties with ladies in high heels this is not the floor for you. This floor is very soft and things like high heels will mark the floor badly. Log homes often had full width tongue and groove boards. Over years paths will get worn into the floor and the knots will become raised. This is charm in my opinion.

Our Pine flooring is all mill run,which means there will be knots as well as some clear boards. We produce widths from 4"-16" wide so that more of the tree is used. The waste heats our shop using a wood fired hot water boiler.

We dry All our wood down to 6% moisture content in the dry kilns. Most other manufacturers only dry down to 8%. That extra 2% means far less shrinkage than 8%.

Heating the pine causes the sap to become solid which prevents shrinking and bleeding of knots. Once the floor is laid and finished there should be very little movement unless water is introduced through a leaky roof, a broken window, or a plumbing problem.

Our wide plank flooring is planed on both sides ,with relief cuts on the back to prevent cupping. It is tongue and grooved with a square edge so that when it is laid properly the joints should be very tight.

Our flooring is also a full 13/16"thick.

The lengths of our floors will be from 8'-16' long--rather than hundreds of 2' pieces like some of the boxed flooring you find.
Current Pricing for Wide Plank Pine Flooring

4"-12" random widths $2.85 square foot

14"-16" $3.65 square foot.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Why do we need to dry flooring?

Lumber for flooring needs to be dried to prevent the boards from expanding and contracting. If you have ever noticed a dead tree standing in the forest, the trunk shrinks as it dries out... and the bark is left loose.

Trees expand as they absorb moisture, and shrink as the moisture leaves. They do this primarily through the end grains. Every type of wood expands and contracts at a different rate.

If a tree is milled into lumber and air dried for a few years it may get down to about 13%. When first milled the moisture content can be as much as 55%. We take it down to 6% because we have found that to make the most stable floor. This is the same moisture content that we use for furniture.

In this photo the wood was put down wet, and it was full width ship-lap boards. No, we didn't make this floor, it is likely about 120 years old. I'd love to see if anyone can guess what type of wood it is made of. It is the only one I've ever seen.
This floor was typical 5" tongue and groove pine flooring available at any lumber yard. It is often leftover of lifts from different mills, not straight and rarely ever less than 8% moisture content. We mixed the stain to create a pleasing color.
This wide plank pine flooring was dried, milled and installed by us. I am sure you can see the difference in the size of the cracks. This is a 3 year old floor made of pine just like the last one.

You may find pine flooring "cheaper" however it may be air dryed. So once you lay the floor after some time it will shrink. So don't be careful when you find deals on cheap pine flooring.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Welcome to A Small Flooring Mill blog.

A Small Flooring Mill "Blog"

Welcome to our Flooring Mill Blog. My name is Merv and Lisa is the one editing this blog with me. The purpose of this website is to share information about hardwood and softwood flooring with people searching for information. We want to inspire homeowners to choose the right materials, do it yourselfers to build better and help professionals to hone their skills , and maybe sell a little more flooring from our mill in the process.

Our flooring mill is a wholesale operation, however we may sell small lots directly to contractors in some cases.

Stay tuned for photos of our operation here near Collingwood Ontario. We will show you how we do our job, our unique equipment and methods as well. BTW, we have shipped flooring as far away as Texas and Alberta.

Merv Gardner