Oshkosh Designs, a custom manufacturer based in Winneconne, Wisconsin, recently was approached by a distributor and flooring company to handcraft a parquet tile design to be installed in a private residence in Miami, Florida.
“They contacted us with drawings a designer and an architect had collaborated on. They wanted to know if what they designed was something we could create and turn into an actual parquet tile,” says Tom Skoglind, COO of Oshkosh Designs. “At the time, we did not know what type of structure it was going in, and we focused on the pattern and the product itself.”
According to Skoglind, Oshkosh Designs’ ability to develop customized solutions for historic floor restorations is one of the things that sets them apart.
“Our trademark is our ability to offer customized solutions. As word has gotten out about what we do over the years, we’ve also done a lot of new construction and requests for new custom floors, be that a border, parquet, or medallion,” says Skoglind.
“When we get a request, the first thing we do is investigate if we can create a repeatable pattern in a tile format. Some will see a picture on Pinterest and want to know if we can create it. Most of the time, the answer is ‘yes, we can do it.’ It just becomes a matter of figuring out how.” – Tom Skoglind, Oshkosh Designs
The process of creating the custom parquet tile began with investigating if a repeatable pattern could be created. A collaboration between Oshkosh Designs’ customer service, CAD design, and production teams was required to approach the project from every angle and determine if the design could be transformed into a stable, high-quality product.
“When we get a request, the first thing we do is investigate if we can create a repeatable pattern in a tile format. Often, we’ll just get a photo of a large field and there is no discernable pattern. Some will see a picture on Pinterest and want to know if we can create it,” explains Skoglind. “Most of the time, the answer is ‘yes, we can do it.’ It just becomes a matter of figuring out how.”
As beautiful as the pattern was that was sent to Skoglind and his team, it turned out to be a relatively straightforward project because there was a discernible grid. The end result was all solid rift only white oak that did not require mounting. This material choice did present a challenge due to rift white oak being difficult to source, especially in the timeline they were given.
“It’s difficult to describe the pattern, other than to say it’s some sort of interlocking radial pattern. Each piece of the grid is comprised of 24 pie-shaped pieces that start from the outside and then shrink down to the center and make a point,” says Skoglind. “Each of those separate pieces is unique, as it is not a perfect shape on the outside. Each of those unique shapes is fit together into a grid, which then needs to be able to interlock with other grids perfectly and seamlessly.”
Starting with raw lumber, every single piece was laser cut, and then molded to the thickness that was needed. Oshkosh Designs then created an assembly jig so that they could take those 24 pieces and lay them out so they would create a single grid that would be taped together and then sent to the installers by the pallet.
“The installers, Cal & Son Carpet & Wood Floors in Miami, took the 240 square feet of material, installed it in a glue-down application, then removed the tape, and did a finish sanding,” states Skoglind. “Their challenge on the install was to make sure the rounded corners adhered properly so there were no raised lips where the grids met. It was a time-consuming job that took care and effort, and they did a fantastic job.”
According to Skoglind, Oshkosh Designs is here to help installers with their projects, even if they appear daunting or complex.
“We can do a lot of that work here and make the process fairly simple. A lot of installers are not aware of what our capabilities truly are. We can do incredible customization, make it easy to work with, and provide something special for their customers, and it’s not much more expensive than a stock product,” says Skoglind.