Thursday, 30 January 2014

DIY - A labour of love

A labour of love

Last summer we sold some parquet to customers who are local to us here on the Lincolnshire Wolds.
Our customers came to visit and spent time choosing the wood types they liked best, and being practical people, planned to do the fitting themselves. We were able to help them with fitting advice which we provide to our customers, and put them in touch with a supplier of all the other things you need to complete the job.

Recently Nikki very kindly sent us a few photos to show the process and best of all, the outcome!

Laying the central section
Work in progress
After the polish
And the final result - room 1
Teak in room 2
Nikki commented as follows: "It's been a labour of love, but the results speak for themselves (My husband says however much your fitters charge, it's worth every penny!). Our pleasure in having a floor that is unique, recycled, handcrafted, with so much character and warmth, is immeasurable. And the wonderful service and practical help we had along the way from Parquet Parquet made us confident to undertake and complete the project, restoring style to our home and value to our house." 

So that is how you do it yourself, with a lot of time and a great deal of passion, but as you can see, the results are worth it!

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Parquet pattern differences for those with a sense of adventure!

There are various parquet patterns that can be achieved in your parquet project. It takes a bit of care and planning for success, but it can be done. You can have the floor fitted in the classic herringbone. But you could for example have the simpler, very modern brick pattern. Or if you want to go retro, try chequerboard. Some of the border work can also be done in a contrasting block, darker or lighter - that can be very effective - you can see examples of this on our website.

We have a few different patterns in the 'favourite' and 'more favourite' photos gallery. However to help you consider the options I have placed the various designs together on this page, courtesy of fitters or customers who have created something beautiful from reclaimed parquet:
Herringbone pattern
Classic herringbone pattern in Coralwood as fitted by Robert Taylor
Brick pattern
Maple Lobby in a brick pattern as fitted by 4D
Chequerboard pattern
Chequerboard pattern in Sapele by Shaun Gordon
And the time consuming but extremely clever basket weave:
Basketweave pattern
Basketweave in oak as fitted by a very skilled customer
Below are a couple of the options for border blocks, either using a thinner piece or a whole block to add your contrast.
Chequerboard pattern with border
Chequerboard with border
Ekki Border block
Ekki Border block
The only pattern that cannot be done with a right-angled cut is a chevron. Chevron is a special cut, much less common in the UK and to be found everywhere in France, which tells you something! The chevron pattern is extremely fashionable at the moment particularly in faded tones of oak, but is not readily available in a reclaimed parquet. The panel below is one we made in our workshop but using beech, as you can see the cut is different!
Beech chevron pattern
Beech chevron
So if you fancy giving a parquet design a try, we carry a good range of reclaimed blocks in stock at all times. The wood types do vary depending on what we have recently reclaimed: Oak, Maple, Pitch Pine, Sapele, African Walnut, Partridge Wood, Beech Panga Panga etc, etc.

Monday, 16 September 2013

How to spot the differences

The differences matter! We have a lot of calls from customers looking to match into an existing floor, most commonly when they have removed a hearth or dividing wall. So not only do we need to find the right sized block (and believe me there are many sizes in the reclaimed parquet world when things were cut in Imperial sizes - unlike the uniform metric world we seem to inhabit today!) but we also need to work out exactly what the wood type is.

Often the block is a pale colour but very grubby, so the original grain is hard to see. However when you look at the side of the block you can sometimes scrape the debris off and see the grain. Or indeed if you can find an area and sand a bit back to view the original surface you are better off. If it is pale it is almost always a European wood, Beech, Pine or Pitch Pine, maple or occasionally oak. So how do we know which is which?

Firstly, for Pitch pine and Columbian Pine - see how noticeable the grain is? Pitch Pine has dark and resinous lines contrasting with the pale honey colour you would expect from pine, and the lines are normally significantly thicker than pine. It is a much harder-wearing block and 'bruises' or dents less easily than pine.

Secondly how hard and heavy is it? Trouble is if you don't know your pines, that is hard to compare. Both pines have 'open' pores however but generally Pitch pine has harder wood between the resinous lines. See the photos below for an illustration.
Pine close-up showing grain
Pitch pine close-up
Sometimes the only way to tell is to look at a larger area to get an overall feel for the amount of dark contrasting lines you can see as every block is different.

The other confusion is maple or beech. The differences between beech and the pines are marked when you start looking, but between beech and maple on initial viewing there are similarities.

The colour of beech is pinkish pale honey and the grain is flecked, even though there are other grain lines to distract you, look for the background flecking. Maple is a pale almost warm ash blonde with a shimmer, and  a more varied grain, but without expertise you can be none the wiser. The good news is that the timber hardness is the giveaway - if you press your fingernail into beech wood you can hardly make a dent, whereas you will easily leave a nail mark in the much softer maple.

See below for grain differences:

Maple close-up show grain differences

Beech close-up

Lastly, oak. You can always tell oak when you look closely and when you handle it - it is a hardwood, it has a lovely smell and the colour is a silvery grey brown which is unmistakeable once you get your eye in. You can also occasionally see the medullary rays across the wood like little silvery streaks, an absolute confirmation that you have oak. You can see that in the panel below:

Oak panel showing grain

So hopefully this will give you a bit of an idea as to how to work out the differences between these European woods when you are trying to match your floor.