A Museum Floor Unlike Any Other

A very short but information post today.  Often times we have the pleasure to be involved in high profile, unique wood flooring projects.  In the past year, we were fortunate to have been a part of such a project, the Renzo Piano Building Workshop located at the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas.  Hardwood Floor Magazine featured the project in the February/March issue.  We invite you to discover how this “breathing” floor was created.

Read story here Beauty & Brains.

Cheers till next time!

Best Practices for Designing Exotic Wood Flooring

I am a self proclaimed wood nerd and rightfully so.  For many years, I managed a retail woodworking store where I bought and sold some of the most beautiful and rarest woods in the world.  As such, I can truly appreciate wood floors made from these unique species.  However there are advantages and disadvantages to consider when selecting exotic woods for your project.
Advantages of Most Exotic Wood Species:
  1. Hardness:  Exotic wood species, with the exception of Teak, offer the hardest available Janka ratings averaging 2300 psi as opposed to standard White Oak at 1340.  Therefore, exotic wood species are a great choice when concerned about durability.
  2. Unique appearance:  There is no mistaking the exquisite elegance that some exotic species offer to a design. From deep rich Mahogany to the inherent lineal striping of Zebrawood. Exotics offer an allure many find irresistible.
  3. Availability:  Most are available in an engineered wood flooring platform for increased stability. Also available in solid but be mindful (see disadvantages).
  4. Finish:  Can be purchased unfinished for customization by Woodwright Hardwood Floor Company (shop finished) or field finished, typically sanded smooth to show off their beauty.
Disadvantages of Most Exotic Wood Species:
  1. Unstable:  Many exotic wood species are extremely reactive to changes in moisture, demonstrating substantial expansion and contraction. Please be cautious of the environment you are bringing the wood into and plan to maintain a tighter tolerance of temperature and humidity fluctuations than normal, especially with solid wood flooring.
  2. Finish:  The majority of exotic wood flooring available on the internet are factory finished with multiple coats of urethane and a filled grain. This causes the surface to be reflective which tends to create a “fake” wood look throughout the flooring. This process also makes re-coating, the act of abrading the top layer and applying a new top coat, very difficult.
  3. Wear Layer:  A majority of the prefinished exotic wood flooring available is manufactured with a thin wear layer, typically 0.6mm to 2mm.  This limits the number of re-sandings in the future.
  4. Site Finish: Site finishing exotic wood species can be done, but it presents its own set of challenges.  Please read below.
  5. Color Changes:  All wood species change color over time and exposure to UV light.  However, exotic wood species are more prone to color changes.  Please set clients’ tolerance for color changes in advance.
Tips for proper selection of your exotic wood floor:
  1. Buy from a well known source with experience dealing with hard and unstable exotic wood species.
  2. If site finishing your floor it is critical, please use a reputable, knowledgeable wood flooring contractor that is well versed in best finish practices of exotic wood floors.
  3. Job site conditions, especially in residential, can present challenges in the installation and finishing stages of a project. Please extended the wood floor acclimation period to reduce your risk.
  4. Dust management is vital. Many species have toxic dust that can cause health concerns or issues in the home such as staining fabric, etc.
  5. Exotics are often difficult to stain.  The finish product a contractor uses regularly may not be compatible with your exotic wood floor specie.
  6. Manage the clients expectations by addressing the above issues in advance.  Any specie selected can be successful with proper education and expectations.

As you begin exploring your design options with exotic wood flooring species, please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or concerns.  Exotic wood species make beautiful wood floors and can be a success if managed correctly from design to finishing.

 

Award Season

NWFA-Woodwright-Resource-Book

Award season in the entertainment industry has arrived with the recent Grammy, Golden Globe and SAG Awards just to name a few.  Sowhere is the love for the wood flooring industry? No need for panic, the National Hardwood Flooring Association hosts their annual awards in conjunction with their annual expo and conference.  This year the spring event will be held in lovely Nashville, Tennessee. So now you may be asking, where is he going with this?

It is always an honor to be recognized by your peers.  While we will not know if we won an honor this year, we were selected to be on the cover of the Resource Book.  The book is published annually by the National Hardwood Flooring Association.  Thank you for the honor of allowing one of our projects to grace the cover for the next year!

Cheers till next time!

Wood Flooring on the Walls and Ceilings

A popular trend that we do not foresee going away anytime soon is the use of wood flooring being applied on vertical surfaces.  Yes, you can install tongue and groove wood flooring on the wall.  So why not consider utilizing wood planks on a vertical surface rather than plywood veneers.  It can really tie your wood flooring project together and create a true, masterful focal point on your project.

Applying wood flooring on a wall doesn’t just have to be limited to standard plank on a wall.  You can create patterns such as herringbone, use reclaimed materials or even create dimensional wall applications using long planks.

Woodwright-Wall-CollageWe have also gone as far as to create 3 dimensional wall applications using end grain flooring.  As you can see from the images below, we created stunning wood feature walls by our use of different thicknesses of end grain mesquite blocks.

3D Woodwright WallsInterested to learn more about what we can create together?  We have several uniquely smart wood wall samples that we have created to get your creative minds turning.  Feel free to contact us to see what we can create together.

Cheers till next time!

 

 

What makes European Oak so desirable?

This is the first installment of a new series of articles we will be sharing in regards to common, and even not so common, wood species utilized in wood flooring projects.  Our A+D Consultant in Dallas, Rick Farrell, will be sharing his wood knowledge with our readers.  Through Rick’s experience in lumber sales then eventually wood flooring, he has become a leading authority on wood flooring specie.  As a self-proclaimed “wood nerd”, Rick has become an invaluable educator to the Architect and Design communities specifically regarding wood flooring specie selection and design.  In his series, he will share his knowledge with you.  We hope you get as much benefit from it as his clients do.


The allure and interest surrounding true European Oak, most of which comes from France or Germany, has an interesting explanation. People are intrigued with its uniqueness because it is unlike product that most Americans associate with Oak. In fact, Oak is the staple of the lumber industry, by far the most popular specie and most widely utilized in our culture. Its presence in our daily lives goes unnoticed to most, yet it is everywhere. Designers and Architects who specify wood flooring, veneers, cabinetry or millwork on projects are intimately familiar with Oak. Yet, they are not always familiar with the significant differences that make European Oak such a rich product in design and functionality.

First we examine standard American White Oak.  It has 3 traditional cuts. The most common is Plain Sawn, also referred to as Flat Cut, which showcases a traditional Cathedral grain pattern. Next is Quarter Sawn which identifiable by the “flake” appearance in the grain.  Finally, we have Rift Cut which illustrates a very straight grain pattern.  The industry standard of mixing Rift Cut and Quartered Cut Oak that has been used for centuries. Specifically regarding Rift cut, Woodwright has been sourcing “Rift Only” White Oak for years because our clientele love and request it often. It is more scarce than ever, but with careful planning can be used to create a stunning aesthetic.

White Oak CutsNow that we have briefly examined traditional American White Oak, let’s take a look at true European Oak.  So what really makes European Oak so unique? It’s all in the way it is cut from the log.

The Europeans have a technique that involves taking a “square” from the center of a log, called a cant, and slicing it straight through. It also has a slower growing cycle, which produces a tighter grain. The result is a wider plank, typically 7-10″, with a gorgeous plain sawn look near the center, flanked by a unique rift & quartered grain pattern, all in the same piece of wood. Yes, you read that correctly, all three cuts in one plank!

Woodwright-European Oak

Some American mills have recognized the popularity of the European Oak and are now supplying us with lumber and flooring that they cut in the same manner as the European method. It is referred to as Eurocut, Center Cut, Live Sawn or even French Cut Oak, and it offers tremendous opportunities for our A&D clients to specify something out of the norm, yet often stay within budget. Woodwright’s newly expanded manufacturing facility at 425 Regal Row in Dallas is engineering “Eurocut” on a regular basis. If you or your client prefers the true beauty of European Oak, we can accommodate those needs as well.

Our A+D Consultants are happy to collaborate with you to create a visually stunning and unique project. We have a full-time sample department that can fulfill requests with a reasonable production time. Please feel free to contact your A+D consultant to begin working with our award-winning, turnkey solution.

Sincerely, Rick Farrell