Antique Oak Flooring, Then and Now
It’s been popular since the late 19th century, when Oak was abundant and large logs were available.
It’s grain was beautiful and its character was stable.
This was a time when wood floors had no finish on them and soap and water were the only wood care available. Repeated washing eventually separated the beauty from the beastly of other woods – and Oak’s reputation was established.
After the Civil War the way wood floors were maintained changed when orange shellac became the first floor finish. Before that, antique oak floors were polished with sand to create a burnished effect that today we would call a natural patina.
Antique Oak Flooring Styles
Modern floor preferences have been influenced by the way floors were created in the past.
Rough-sawn planks were originally created with two men working in a pit, pushing and pulling at opposite ends of a long-bladed saw. Widths were more random, and surfaces required “hand-scraping” to provide a smoother but somewhat irregular surface, which developed that natural patina.
Carolina Character floors are Whole Log Lumber’s response to that earliest of styles. Somewhat rustic, perhaps a bit distressed, but a delicate mix of natural patina surfaces, with just enough skip planing to bring out and highlight the signature grain in the oak.
In time, the circular saw was invented and dimensional boards were more easily created than it had been with two men on a long-bladed saw. Floor surface marks took on more of a circular pattern then rather than linear, and that effect is echoed today in the Whole Log Lumber Carolina Craftsman Style.
Before modern woodworking equipment and power sanders allowed for smooth surfaced flooring, those heavy coats of shellac were applied to provide a smooth surface effect. Antique oak flooring in Whole Log Lumber’s Carolina Classic Style is the contemporary version of a smooth surfaced floor, and uncover the grains in the wood like a window into it’s soul.
For Best Advice about Antique Oak Flooring
Whether remodeling your vintage heirloom or building from the ground up, benefiting from the experience and reliability of wood experts can be as important as wood quality selection and species.
If you are matching quarter-sawn white oak, you certainly want to be certain you’re not offered flat-cut red-oak or have it confused with the look-alike chestnut.
Recognizing saw cuts and being familiar with species variations may be more important when renovating antique oak flooring, perhaps more than any other antique wood.
Got Questions about antique oak flooring or reclaimed wood products and Styles ? We’ve got answers!