Bona at 100

In 1919, Bona was founded in Sweden by Wilhelm Edner. One hundred years later, the family-owned business continues to operate and thrive under the same values. To help celebrate this monumental anniversary, two panels were created for display at the 2019 Bona Certified Craftsmen Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Photo courtesy of Lenny Hall.


The first panel was created at the National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri, during the Bona-sponsored Expert School in the fall of 2018. The Expert School was led by NWFA regional instructors Lenny Hall and Michael Dittmer, with special assistance from Dee Lenston, Bona Professional Sales Training Manager. The school allowed students to gain valuable knowledge and experience the various specialty skill sets involved in wood flooring.

The students at the school included Roy Aull Jr., Jeff Kersbergen, David Merrill, James Toal, Andrew Wilkinson, Matthew Young, and Stephen Young.

The floor, which was engineered to be deconstructed and transported to Charlotte, contains five unique sections of wood flooring and required more than 1,100 hours of labor.

The center section of the floor was built using five different species of wood, multiple colorants, brass inlays, and two intricate jigs for scrollwork. “The center-most point on the floor displays a rare 1919 Swedish coin, obtained by Michael Dittmer,” shares Hall. “While we were working on the floor, Michael came up with the idea to display the coin to commemorate the anniversary of Bona. He also ordered two other coins that would later be used in the 10×10 block pattern on the left and right of the center section.”

The “100 Year” logo is displayed in angled American cherry and ash, stained with Bona CourtLines paints, reduced, and blended as a fade using faux painting techniques. Four walnut cornices contain Shaper Origin router scrollwork in maple that is a decorative interpretation of the number “100.” Also in the cornice is the Swedish three-crown shield in purpleheart and maple, handmade using a scrollsaw. The center section is framed in walnut and an arched inlay done on a router jig and bent wood.

Bona NordicSeal was used on the center parts of the floor, and Bona DriFast Sealer was used on the natural wood parts. The whole center section was finished with Bona Naturale.

The hexagonal patterned section below the center section was constructed using white oak, maple, and Brazilian cherry. The Bona Certified Craftsman logo was also cut using the Shaper Origin. “The letters for the logo were cut along with the grain of the wood so that the direction of the grain carries through regardless of the bend of the letters,” says Hall. This section was finished with two coats of Bona IntenseSeal and one coat of Bona Semi-Gloss.

Above the center section is a chevron pattern installed using antique pine. “The pine material was too wide, so the students had to cut it up and make it more narrow,” adds Hall. The border for this panel was made using oak timber. This section was finished with Bona Craft Oil.

The identical panels on the left and right of the center section were made using 10×10 parquet blocks of Honduran mahogany and Brazilian ebony. “The sanding of these two species posed a bit of a challenge because of their difference in hardness,” shares Hall. “The mahogany is super soft, and the ebony is super hard.”

Riftsawn white oak was used in between the 10×10 blocks. The border of these sections required special expertise. “In talking with the students about what we should do on the border, we came up with the idea to include the Bona ‘100 Year’ tagline ‘Bringing out the beauty in floors since 1919’ in Morse code,” says Hall. “The ebony became the dots and dashes, the mahogany became dot-dash separators, and a third species, merbau, became letter- and word-separators. To mark the start of the tagline, we used two coins.” These sections were coated with Bona DriFast Sealer and finished with Bona Traffic Satin.

Lastly, the four identical corner panels are a combination of 5” American cherry and 3” Brazilian cherry. “To create a 3D effect, the American cherry was run on a diagonal, and the Brazilian cherry was cut on a 45-degree angle repeatedly to change the orientation of the Brazilian cherry relative to the American cherry,” adds Hall. The perimeter of the corners was made using walnut and maple. The corners were finished with one coat of Bona IntenseSeal and one coat of Bona Semi-Gloss.

“It was amazing to see this floor come together,” shares Hall. “From St. Louis to my shop in Florida, and then to Charlotte, many hands and minds played a part in creating this masterpiece.”

Photo courtesy of Wayne Highlander.


The second panel was created by Wayne Highlander, Bona Adhesives National Sales Manager, and Jeremiah Strong, Bona Territory Manager for Tennessee, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama.

“I was originally going to teach this at the Bona Expert School that happens every two years at Bona headquarters,” shares Highlander. “When I thought about the Bona Convention coming up, I thought this could be a cool place to present it.”

With two scroll saws and only weekend hours, Highlander and Strong brought this beauty to life, cutting countless leaves, fish, a raccoon, and a bald eagle.

“There are about 15 species of wood in the inlay,” says Highlander. Among these 15 species are two live edge planks, complete with a snake inlaid ¼” into the panel.

With epoxy becoming increasingly popular with hardwood, Highlander and Strong decided to put it to the test and see what they could accomplish.

“We used EcoPoxy on the blue side and Turtle Feathers on the black side,” adds Highlander. “They’re both a stable product – I did a floor five years ago, and it has stayed in place since then.

“Living in Tennessee, I’m an avid fisherman and lover of the fall colors,” says Highlander. “Those things are what inspired this floor.”

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