Tuesday, 25 February 2014


We purchased the floorboards for the first story:

We have been thinking about the upper storeys' flooring for a long time, and finally decided to place massive oak planks over the current conifer floorboards. We bought the boards with no finishing on them. It seems all that is fashionable at the moment is sterile whites and greys, and that will not do.

These floorboards are gorgeous and great value. I love working with wood, and have a lot of fun even though the job of finishing is a little monotonous.

A light sanding is sufficient.
Tinting the oak.

I use a very wide brush which works nicely.
I am using walnut husk dye crystals ("nogalina" in Spanish and "beits walnoot" in Dutch) from which I make my own dye, mixing it with water (I am using distilled water to avoid surprises, unlikely, but who knows), until I get the intensity I want. 

I don't remember where I first learned of this, at art school perhaps. It is an ancient product that has been used to tint wood and make ink for centuries, if not millenia, so I find it a bit strange that I do not find a lot of information about it in English on the net. The crystals, which are very cheap, don't seem to be readily available, or else I do not find the right terms. This is the Spanish wikipedia, which doesn't have any links to other languages. 

I am very glad I could find this in the local drugstore here in Belgium as easily as in Spain. I am pretty sure it was used to colour all of the antique oak furniture I have to a slightly darker and warmer tone. It also goes nicely with our windows. In my opinion it produces the most gorgeous shades.

A batch of tinted floorboards.

Comparing the original and the dyed boards.

A little bit of water shows the colour closer to what the finish will be.
After tinting the switch covers, beech wood, which takes dye badly, it is such a pleasure to work with oak.
Beech is always difficult, but I wonder if I should have given up on propietary dyes and tints and give a go to this natural walnut dye. I know I still had difficulty with it when I dyed my beech workshop desk, though, so perhaps not...

I intensely dislike polyurethane varnishes, so I am testing a waterproof oil finishing treatment. We will place floorboards in the bathroom as well, so I hope it works nicely.

I think the wood is perhaps still too porous after the dye, so I will perhaps seal it a little with shellac. I have to think about it.