Messages Archive

Re: KD Beech for Flooring?

Barry Irby
I live near Colonial Williamsburg and have been there many times and learned a few things. In many of the houses the flooring is wide planks. (We tend to think wide flooring is classy.) Some of it shrank so badly they installed strips about two inches wide between them to fill the gaps. In the Governors Palace there is flooring (Holly I believe) and the T&G strips are about 1 1/4" wide. In those days they thought narrow strips were classy, they were difficult to make, about the same trouble as the wide planks each, but making a floor that had very tiny cracks because the shrinkage was divided down so many times.

This is part of the reason modern flooring tends to be narrow. Across the room the total shrinkage is about the same, but with narrow boards the cracks tend to be more numerous but narrower and less objectionable.

The message is to make your floor boards narrow and dry them thoroughly.

As an aside, the only thing aside from planes I know of regularly made of beach was bentwood rockers. Apparently, if you rive the strips and steam them, you can bend then into fanciful shapes.

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