Canal house Dining Room floors Herengracht
Bees wax and elbow greaseMay 03, 2011
The Floor Scrapers by Gustave Caillebotte (1875) I wish I could say I've had these guys in to finish my floor, but I have ...
I wish I could say I've had these guys in to finish my floor, but I have been busy myself over the past few days. I used old slats from window blinds as floor boards. As they were too wide, I had to cut each floor board five(!) times to get it the right width and length.
It was quite unusual for Dutch houses to have parquet flooring in the 18th century. In one of my interior history books I found several designs for 'parquet flooring' from around 1770 which I thought would work for my dining room. The design is simple but provides a little bit more interest than just floor boards.
After getting my boards all fitting perfectly, I rubbed down all the edges with sandpaper to give them some signs of wear. After gluing them all down (I stupidly forgot to mark them individually and no, they're not all exactly the same length!), I sanded the floor several times. I then mixed up a nice stain out of paint and old stains I had in my stash and gave the floor four coats of that.
The windy weather made quick work of drying the floor between the coats of stain. The next photo is not very good, but I wanted to show you a little detail I put in which is ever so faint, but very nice when the light hits it. I put nail holes in every floor board. After I had put the stain on (which has varnish in it as well) I put black shoe polish on the floor to highlight the cracks and the nail holes.
The final toch was to to rub the floor with a few layers of bees wax. It gives it that beautiful natural glow, so much better than varnish!
After all that work you'd think the floor would be proudly displayed when the room is finished, but in the late 18th century it was actually the fashion to have carpets in the rooms...