Friday, July 29, 2005

Well, It’s In

I got the last of the boards laid today. It is very frustrating. Seventy-five percent of the floor looks really good, and then the last 25% has gaps where there are transitions between boards. The waste is appalling. If the idiots at the mill would have just paid a little more attention to detail this floor would have been installed and finished weeks ago. And it would have looked great.

Yesterday’s post was a bit of levity about the situation, but to be honest the whole thing really pisses me off. I’m not sure what makes me madder, the way the floor turned out or the crappy workmanship and the waste of good wood. I remember writing once about having to be patient when dealing with “craftsman”. While that is still true, this guy is no craftsman, he’s a hack. I could have done a better job. When I went to Placerville to pick up the second batch of wood, he mentioned how it was selling well at first but now sales have pretty much dried up. Gee, I wonder why? Could it be that you do really crappy work?

I ran so low on decent wood to use that I wasn’t able to do anything too creative with the alcove. I was afraid to trim too much thinking I might run out. I pretty much just had to lay in a bunch of shorter boards. It looks ok, I guess. It should be all full-length boards in there one after the other. Grrrr!

I’ve crafted a letter to the mill owner stating that I want a partial refund. The way I see it he delivered an inferior product, I gave him an opportunity to correct it, and he screwed up again. I was forced to use the inferior product because of his mistakes and time constraints, and therefore I deserve a refund even though I installed the product. I’ve taken pictures of the problem areas and will send them along with the letter. I’m asking for 25% back. It was brutal not to resort to profanity and insults in the letter. I made sure he knew I was pissed, but at the same time I stated my case in more business like manner.

The only good that has come out of this is I am really, really good at blind-nailing now. Blind-nailing is what you do on tongue & groove wood work like floors & bead board. You drive the nail through the tongue and when the next piece is installed the groove covers the tongue and the nail and you no longer see the nail head. They make a special tool you can rent for this, but I did this one by hand. Mainly I did it manually because I knew it would take a while I and didn’t want the rental fees. At first I had to hammer the nail in about 90% of the way and then finish it with a nail-set so I don’t dent the wood with the hammer. By the time I got half way across the room I could bang them in all the way with out dinging the wood. So, I guess that’s something.

I won’t be able to sand tomorrow as planed. I was forced to use wood that had some nail holes in it so I have to deal with that. I also want to fill the gaps. For the nail holes I will use a plug cutter and a Forstner bit to bore out the hole and then insert a plug. If I use similar wood grain and match the direction it should be invisible. For the gaps I’m going to use a epoxy wood filler. It dries to a gray color but I’m going to play around with tinting it a little to try and match the wood better. If all goes will, and it probably won’t, I may start sanding tomorrow. Wish me luck!


Gary said...

For the larger gaps in my floors I mixed the fine sawdust from sanding with some linseed oil to make a paste and put it in with a putty knife. It will color darker than the wood but looks fine and is somewhat flexible when it comes to expansion and contraction. You can also mix sawdust with polyurethane and get the same kind of effect. For the thinner gaps I did nothing. Someone told me once that you will never be satisfied with what you use to fill the gaps so don't bother filling them. I have always followed that advice. My 1909 book suggests a mixture of boiled newspaper, alum and pastry four to make a putty. Let me know if you want to be authentic and I'll send it to you!

Greg said...


Thanks. If this was an antique, historically accurate floor of the house I would be all over that sort of thing. This is a brand new floor with gaps in only the last 25% of the floor. They are all on one side of the room (the more I think about the madder I get). My plan is to hide them as much as possible. I’ve had good luck with these epoxy wood fillers. Very strong and durable. I want something that is not noticeable and will last.

StuccoHouse said...

When I ended up replacing sections of my floor (for exasperating reasons not too unlike your story) we ended up having to also use more "shorties" than I ever wanted to use. For a month or so after the install, it irritated (pissed, rally) me every time I looked at those sections of the floor. Now when I look at it (after two years of calming down) and I really, really don't even notice it.

Hopefully, once your irritation at that guy's non-attention to detail settles a will really be able to enjoy your new floor :-)

Jocelyn said...

I hope he does give you something- it really is the fair thing to do and you were very nice about the whole thing I think.

We used wood putty to fill some smallish gaps- mostly in the pantry. I understand that they make special mixes for different types of floors too. Our gaps are barely noticeable. I look forward to seeing the floor. Gary's linseed oil & sawdust mix sounds good. We use shellac & sawdust for filling holes and cracks in wood moulding- wonder if that would be ok on a floor...

I disagree about not filling the gaps. If you don't fill them, they will become a dirt trap.

Kristin said...

Arrrrrgggh. Good for you asking for the partial refund. I hope you get it.

Beth said...

Good luck on the partial refund. I'm a big fan of the BBB in cases like this. It tends to fire people up.