For Matthew Garcia of Craftsman Hardwood Flooring in San Angelo, Texas, when it came time to design a floor for his new showroom, his goal was to demonstrate what was possible with hardwood flooring, as well use the process as a learning experience.
“I racked my brain for different patterns to do. I wanted something elegant, yet simplistic,” says Garcia. “My brother showed me a picture of a similar pattern using only oak, and I had the idea that it would look nice with walnut. I thought having it weaved with walnut and white oak would be an amazing contrast.”
In addition to stunning visuals, Garcia was adamant his creation would feature techniques that he had not attempted before. He felt it was essential to improve his skills when NWFA hands-on education classes were unavailable due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I wanted to continue learning. I had done borders before, but never anything extravagant. For this floor, I wanted to push the limits of what I was capable of, including wood bending,” explains Garcia. “Completing the borders ended up being very difficult, and there was a lot of math involved, as well as a lot of trial and error, especially making sure each corner was identical.”
The floor’s hexagon pattern and double helix border were hand-cut with custom templates and jigs. Lenny Hall of Endurance Floor in Davie, Florida, provided Garcia assistance and talked him through some of the challenges he had, including making jigs and how to adapt them to the design he was trying to accomplish.
“A big challenge with the floor was learning how very slight errors in your angles could lead to big problems once the floor was installed,” says Garcia. “This floor taught me a lot of lessons about the importance of ensuring my cuts were precise. I used a table saw sled, and an important lesson I learned was making sure that there is no play in that sled.”
With the pieces completed, Garcia began gluing them down over concrete, using a urethane moisture control adhesive. Finally, Garcia applied Bona Craft Oil 2K Air to the white oak to stain the floor.
To get a pop from the transition from white oak to walnut, he carefully taped off all the white oak and stained only the walnut portions of the floor with Bona Craft Oil Charcoal. The taping process alone took more than 14 hours to complete.
“The floor was a great learning experience and an excellent way for me to highlight just what a custom hardwood floor could be. It took a lot of work and tested my patience and my skill. I had a lot of stress trying to complete it, but in the end, the result was worth it.”