making new oak flooring look antique

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richberman
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making new oak flooring look antique

Postby richberman » Tue Aug 23, 2005 7:51 am

[font=Arial] [/font]I bought a house a few years ago which is "colonial" in architecture. The floors are antique, random width, wide boards of oak, originally wax finished, but now Minwax-Duraseal finished. The owner before me refinished the kitchen, laying new random width oak flooring. The color is lighter and the boards look new. I would like to refinish the floor to make it match the original floor in the rest of the house, but I don't want to rip out the floor and lay new antique wood since it would require removing a large island and large cabinets. Any ideas on the best way to do this?
thanks,
rich berman

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Paul S
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Postby Paul S » Tue Aug 23, 2005 4:37 pm

Hi Rich,

Any chance you can post a picture (or three) of a small section of the older floor that shows the color and signs of age/wear? That'll make it a lot easier to figure out how to make the new wood look like the old.
Paul

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old oak floor from new

Postby richberman » Thu Aug 25, 2005 8:02 am

ok,
Here are photos of the floors in question.
Pic 1, 1a is of the new floor (kitchen).
Pics 2,3 are of the [highlight=red]original floor [/highlight]I'd like to match(Butler's Pantry).
Pics 4,5,6 are an antique oak floor I laid last year (Dining room) from resawn old barnbeams. While not an exact match due to more black marks, knots and distressed areas than the original floor it look really good. In the photos the DR floor looks more brown, but not so in real life by much.
Pic 7 is the junction of the new floor and original floor.
Pic 8 is the junction of Dining room and Butler pantry
Thanks for the nelp.
rich
Attachments
pic1.jpg
Pic 1 - New kitchen floor
pic1.jpg (112.92 KiB) Viewed 4198 times
pic1a.jpg
Pic 1a - New kitchen floor again
pic1a.jpg (112.69 KiB) Viewed 4198 times
pic2.jpg
Pic 2 - Old butler pantry floor to be matched
pic2.jpg (97.41 KiB) Viewed 4198 times

richberman
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pics

Postby richberman » Thu Aug 25, 2005 10:48 am

Here's picture #3 - butler pantry
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pic3.jpg
Pic 3 - Butler Pantry floor close-up. Need to match this look
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Postby admin » Sat Aug 27, 2005 4:29 pm

3 more pictures (limit = 3 per post);
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pic3.jpg
pic 3 - Butler Pantry - old floor to match
pic3.jpg (105.47 KiB) Viewed 4231 times
pic4.jpg
pic 4, DR floor: old barn beams newly laid
pic4.jpg (116.24 KiB) Viewed 4231 times
pic5.jpg
pic 5: DR again, closeup
pic5.jpg (113.89 KiB) Viewed 4231 times
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Postby admin » Sat Aug 27, 2005 4:39 pm

3 more pictures (pulled from the photo album);
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pic6.jpg
pic 6: Dining Room foreground, Butler Pantry background
pic6.jpg (112.88 KiB) Viewed 4230 times
pic7.jpg
pic 7 - kitchen (new) on the bottom; Butler Pantry (old) on the top, junction
pic7.jpg (119.92 KiB) Viewed 4230 times
pic8.jpg
pic 8, Butler Pantry/Dining Room junction again (similar shot as pic 6)
pic8.jpg (117.24 KiB) Viewed 4230 times
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Bob Boardman
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Postby Bob Boardman » Tue Sep 06, 2005 9:37 am

Rich

As I see it there are 2 issues.

First, in addition to wear and "being in use" damage, the older material seems to have many quartersawn pieces, whereas the new does not. The newer oak also has boards that would not have been attempted 60 or more years ago due to today's lumbermill technology. So the first step in matching is to make the newer stuff look more like the older stuff, independent of color.

That could involve everything from adding nail holes at the end of boards and gouges into high wear areas, sanding quarterround (or quarter circled) scratches into the floor under closet doors, intentionally wetting areas nears doors and windows to get a darker look, etc.

The second issue is the color. Without having to sand everything down, the only thing I can think of is a toner. The problem with a toner in a situation like this is:
1) you'll need to find a finish that's A) compatible with the existing finish and B) capable of adhering (a strong bond will be needed) to the existing finish
2) to get the color right you may have to apply multiple coats of toner, which may give the floor a muddy look,
3) you'll need to apply at least 3 coats of finish. With this many different coats of material the risk of a coating breakdown increases over time.

I hate to be pessimistic, but that seems to be a lot of work (and some risk) though I completely understand the point about the island (and from experience, having to tell your wife the kitchen will be a work area !)

I think that for the same effort, you could remove the existing finish. I know this isn't what you like to hear Rich, but the right way usually doesn't have too any shortcuts (though just like you, I'm always trying to find them !) If you go this route, once the finish is removed, you can perform whatever distressing you think will add to the overall appearance (including adding color variations).

Hope this helps.
Bob "Boardman" Borders

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Postby richberman » Tue Sep 06, 2005 10:22 am

Bob,
Thanks for the comments. I was accepting the fact that I would be stripping off the finish either by resanding or using an Infrared heat stripper I already own. Part of me was thinking the stripper may add some distressed look if I overheat and somewhat darken areas (not quite burning). What are your thoughts on this?
I was also considering ammonia or lye darkening. I tried a sample board over the weekend. The straight ammonia was close in color, the lye was too brown and dark. I may try further diluting the lye on another sample board if you think it's worthwhile. I was also thinking of warping the boards slightly with water.
What did you mean when you said today's lumbermill technology produces boards not attempted 60 years ago?
What's interesting about the two floors is depending upon the lighting, the look changes. In dim light, the old floor looks redder and the new more golden. In bright light the old one is more towards brown and the floors look closer matched.
How would I create quarter circle scratches?
thanks for your comments.
rich

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Bob Boardman
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Postby Bob Boardman » Thu Sep 08, 2005 9:04 am

Rich

A lot of the decision about color comes down to presonal taste. The heating of the wood is an acceptable way to get color, and it won't fade over time. The ammonia or lye darkening can fade (actually it's more like a "mellowing"), especially if iexposed to sunlight.

Warping with water could be risky...I've never tried it with flooring that's already in place.

Lumbermills today have use computers that automatically determine the best way to mill the tree, i.e., where to make the cuts and produce as little waste as possible. The saws are also more accurate and faster.

For 1/4 circle scratches Hammer a nail into the floor beneath a door hinge. Cut a piece of heavy twine that's double the width of the door opening, plus about 8". So for a 24" door opening you'd have a piece of twine 56" (24+24+8). Put nails on the top of a sanding block at each end, and then tie one end of the twine to one sanding block nail, and the other end to the other sanding block nail. Find the mid point of the twine and wrap it around the nail in the floor. Put some heavy grit paper on your sanding block, and with the string taut, begin sanding. Once you have a section done, wind more twine around the nail in the floor to reduce your radius and do the next section. Repeat till done.
Bob "Boardman" Borders


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