Bees wax and elbow grease

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 been...



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 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...






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42 comments

  1. That last picture looks so real! I had to read the whole post to believe that this wasn't in your real home. Gorgeous!

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  2. glorious floor... it looks like a full size floor... :)

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  3. So beatutiful! The last picture is the proof of your skill of photography. It's so realistic with the sunlight!

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  4. Josje! The floor is fantastic. It looks so real. Love the pattern. Well done.

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  5. Thank you for the tips on creating a floor - I hope to do something like that in my dollhouse.

    The last photo looks amazing.

    xo
    Claudia

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  6. Prachtige vloer Josje. Mooie warme kleur.
    Leuk dat je er een stukje geschiedenis bij verteld.

    groet Heleni

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  8. Wat een werk Josje,maar het is prachtig geworden
    groetjes adrie

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  9. Josje, a fantastic floor, a beautiful piece of work!
    Mona

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  10. What a great work,I'm fascinated .Great work Josje !!! Jeannette

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  11. Wonderful. Much better than my real one! Rosanna

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  12. Te ha quedado un suelo precioso, y el cuadro de los acuchilladores, es una pasada!!

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  13. This floor is so stunning!!! Thank you so much for explaining how you achieved the incredible look that it has!!! I love it!

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  14. Are you sure that the last picture is nor real size?? I am shocked!! AMAZING!

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  15. je hebt er veel werk en tijd in gestopt...maar dat is dan ook wel te zien...wat een schitterende vloer!!

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  16. Wat een geweldig mooie vloer is dat geworden, zelfs aan details gedacht en de kleur is ook zo mooi en warm, wat een zonde om daar dalijk carpetten op te gaan leggen!! Hij ziet er inderdaad heel echt uit, je zou denken dat je in n echte kamer kijkt. Ook bedankt voor je uitleg hoe je het gedaan hebt,
    * marlies

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  17. It is a gorgous floor and I love the color too. What kind of wood did you use?

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  18. Great job! My hubby was wrong in the 'is it real or mini?' test. He was very surprised that it was mini, he said "It looks like a floor that has been used for 100 years"

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  19. WOW! It's amazing! All your work has certainly paid off. =)

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  20. Thank you all for the nice comments!

    Marlies, Ja, eerlijk gezegd weet ik nog niet of ik dat ook echt ga doen hoor. Vind het ook een beetje zonde!

    Catherine, it is wood I had in my stash, used to be blinds. At first I thought it might be beech, but now I think it is abachi wood (Triplochiton scleroxylon) which originates from Western Africa.
    It has a nice grain to it which reminds me a bit of oak in miniature.

    Mary, that is the best test to pass, whoohoo!

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  21. Het is absoluut het werk waard geweest Josje, wat een schitterende vloer :)

    Liefs Jollie

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  22. I join the long list of compliments :-)
    You did a fantastic job (as always), and I thank you also for having put the image of a painting extraordinary, extraordinarily evocative...

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  23. HOla JOsje! That's really great when I am thinking about mine already done more than 15 years and looking so bad.... Oups! Your pctures are astonished and you put so many details inside, incredible!! DOei, Claude

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  24. Wow.... what a greta work you have done. The floor looks så realistic in details. You have made wonder with shoepolish and beewax. Now I have to look for blinds next time I go to a garagesale :0)

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  25. Fantastic results! Thank you for sharing the process with us. Your hard work has really paid off. This floor is gorgeous!

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  26. Your floor is perfect. And in the last picture you can't see the scale. How realistic !
    Bravo !

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  27. The last picture is amazing - look so real!
    Ina

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  28. What amazing work! Thanks for sharing your step-by-step. So realistic!

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  29. I love the look of this floor - I quite like the look of the floor polishers too!! ;) - and your info is very timely because I'm working on one right now. I was thinking of using a dirty wash to do what you've done with the black shoe polish but I'm sure shoe polish will be much much better. I've also been thinking wax for the finish and I can see that it's definately the way to go. The finish is beautifully rich looking.

    I'm so glad I saw the notification of this post on someone else's blog because I haven't been getting them into my Readers List for AGES - I thought you must be taking a vacation from minis but on scrolling back I see you have actually been very busy. I'll have to make sure I come over even when there seems to be no activity just to check!

    I've just changed my blog header, you might recognise the little thing in the new pic :) And come over and join my giveaway if the items will fit the style of this new place. The more the merrier!

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  30. Wow wat een werk heb je daaraan besteed maar je hebt er wel eer van want het ziet er fantastisch uit!
    Groetjes, Diny

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  31. That is really a beautiful floor and the photo is fantastic with the sun coming in through the windows!!

    I have a surprise for you over at my blog!

    http://miniature-chef.blogspot.com

    - Hanna, Miniature-Chef

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  32. What in the world would we do without the internet and blogging? What we, a world away, would do ... is miss all this wonderful art, done by some very amazing artisans working in their chosen field. Everything you do, you do with precision and dedication to scale, inspired by your own personal creativity, and an impeccable eye ... and to top it off you are kind enough to share how it's done with those of us not quite so talented, but oh so willing to learn. Your floor is beyond beautiful!

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  33. Annie, the wood from blinds often has a nice grain, fine enough for miniature work. And you can get loads of it at a bargain price!

    Norma, yes I would not mind those floor polishers coming to work in my full size house either ;)
    I have the same problem you have with my readers list. In my case they are often Rosanna's and Sans (and a few others as well) blogs of which I don't get an update. As there are so many blogs and so little time to read them, I regularly miss several posts before getting to those blogs again.
    Of course I immediately recognized the items on your blog header! I have your gift laid out on and in front of the bed in my dolls house!

    Hanna, Yipppppppyyyyy! thank you sooo much!

    Monica, what a lovely comment, thank you! I love the internet just as much, I love how it gives us all access to art everywhere you are. Major pieces as well as the small creative endeavors we all share with the world.

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  34. tks, great idea!!! I love it!

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  35. This is so realistic, so beautiful! You did a fantastic job!
    Somehow, making the parquetry is my favourite part :)))

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  36. This is really wonderful. Love the nail holes and the finish -- just the right glow and stain.

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  37. Absolutely gorgeous! I can't get over how beautiful this floor is! I've been reading thru your blog. You are so very talented. How did you get the old look to each individual board? Just rake scratches down each one? It's so natural looking. Thank you! Carolyn

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  38. Hi Carolyn, Thanks for the compliment! The scratches in the floor boards are just the natural grain of the wood. So the look of the floor depends on the type of wood you choose for it. I'm not sure what the kind of wood I used is, as I just used the slats of old window blinds I had laying around.

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