For those of you who have followed the build from the beginning, you'll know about our trek to buy & deliver the oak flooring to the house. All the floors except the entrance hall and kitchen will have this covering, although we're still deciding if the two lounges will have the same "Golden Oak" stain, or a darker shade. I prefer the master bedroom's finish, but my wife's vision is of a darker colour for the rooms where we'll have guests and hold events... She's the boss there!
This was my first time laying flooring, so after some guidance and advice on how to complete the job from Arnie, I got on with the job. This was from the end of July, so there was lots of humidity & heat. We figured the wood had expanded as much as it was likely to, but I still used thin plastic spacers to ensure there was space for movement if needed. I learnt how to use a chop saw fairly accurately and to apply glue to secure the flooring to the plywood, secured with the use of a nail gun as I went along. The glue's stronger than the wood and in doing this, the floors will be squeak free, but the downside is, it's now so permanent I'd have to rip out the plywood and flooring together if we ever decided to change. Fortunately we're happy with the results. Just as well...
Typical of Arnie's attention to detail, once the flooring had been fitted it was flush with the edges of door channels, etc - something he engineered using shims under the flooring frame beneath the (splined) plywood. He had advised me to measure distances from the wall I would be building towards as I progressed and space the oak accordingly with an extra spacer here and there, so the last board would fit easily and not look skew. It was a relief to find I'd succeeded as I came to the last board.
With Arnie's experience & advice in hand I first used an electrical sander with 180 grit paper to remove any imperfections, then vacuumed well using a Dyson cleaner (As new condition - bought from Yahoo! auctions for 15,000 Yen. Perfect for heavy duty house cleaning & for use in future on cars!).
I then applied boiled oil so the "Golden Oak" stain wouldn't blotch, but be more consistent.
Next I applied a 50/50 coating of Golden Oak stain & thinner, so it would soak well into the wood. Took about a week to lose it's tackiness as the oil can still dry even when the varnish has hardened.
I could tell it was dry when the smell of varnish was pretty much gone.
Yesterday morning just before I left to return to Shizuoka for the weekend, I used the electric sander to go over the varnish again, vacuumed and finished by wiping the surface clean with a damp microfibre cloth. I then made a 25% thinner / 75% varnish solution and applied with a synthetic fibre-mat brush, packed up and left it to dry for the weekend.
Headed home via Akihabara to buy some replacement light bulb holders (Japanese size) to adapt the beautiful pendant light my wife had brought back from Turkey during her trip there in 2006. Way back then we'd begun to dream about creating our own home.
Piece by piece it's taking shape at last.