Mahogany Parquet Floor - with some persistence a beautiful result
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The saga of the 5-finger mosaic floor painstakingly re-installed

Once in a while a conversation in our inbox turns into a complete and wonderful saga. Read on......
(Whole "conversation" published with approval of our client)

Why HardWaxOil?

Question: Why should I use Hard Wax Oil rather than A Good quality Varnish such as Mega, Bono Nova etc on my Parquet Floor which I am currently restoring? This is a 5 finger parquet. I have in the past used the above varnish very successfully on in excess of 5 or six pine and oak floors and wonder why you would choose the HWO finish?

I would also like to buy your Modern Parquet Floor Adhesive to re-install a few loose 'fingers' that have become loose-do you deliver to the Saltdean area of Brighton? Thanks for your help, I enjoyed your web pages.
David H

Hi David
Thank you for your question. You are absolutely free to choose whatever finish you like, if you prefer varnish then who are we to stop you?

We prefer an oil (HardWaxOil for Oak, single oil and wax-polish for tropical species) because in our and many of our clients experiences it is easy to apply, and brings out the character of the wood much better than a varnish. Oil allows the wood to breathe while it is protected against dirt and drips. Also, damages can be repaired locally without having to sand the whole floor to prevent patches where new varnish overlaps old varnish.

What wood-species is your parquet floor?

If you only have a few loose blocks/fingers, grip-fill can be used. No need to purchase a minimum tub of 7.5 F.Ball B91 adhesive.

Hand sanded!

Hello Karin, Thank you very much for your quick and candid and very informative reply - nothing like a direct answer I say. I didn't mean to portray myself as a Smart Alec but re-reading my email I see that I could have been more friendly. I'm sorry for any offence.

I'm actually really interested in HWO - my floor is an oak parquet. So following your reply I might well apply it. I have hand sanded it - yes hand sanded about 1000 sets or blocks. I did the same with my dining room - I don't like sanders -dangerous things.
Each set or bloc contains 5 'fingers'. Each finger is four and a half inches inches long by one inch wide by 3/8 thick. Perhaps between 50 or 60 'fingers' have come away from their blocs so I need a good adhesive to stick them back to their respective block. Do you sell such an adhesive? Also what price is the HWO? My hallway is 12 sq meters.

Finally I have been told that HWO is not very easy to apply. You would appear to think differently - how easy is it really to apply? Look fwd to your reply.

Hi David
Absolutely no offence taken! Wow, hand sanded all of it, that must have taken a time.
What type of underfloor do you have? If it is really single fingers here and there missing from a block of 5 you could either use the below mentioned gripfill, or apply F.Ball B91 or B92 adhesive to the back of the finger with a notched trowel "knife"

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As for the ease of applying HardWaxOil, in our opinion it is more forgiving to small application mistakes than varnish/lacquer. Reading and following the instructions of use will of course make it easier - we will supply you with our own instructions of use, containing more tips than the instructions on any of the brands.

All it needs is a bare sanded, dust and grease free (as dust free as possible, on site you never have the "perfect conditions"), a plastic tray, a polish applicator (or professional HardWaxOil applicator - if you plan to do more floors over time), a non-fluffy cloth (or medium coarse pad if you are using a semi-professional buffing machine) and applying the second coat within 36 - 48 hours.
And not to panic when after the first coat the floor looks a bit patchy - it happens, and normally applying the second coat will sort this patchiness.

Hope this helps

What products?

Hello again Karin, thanks for all the info. I have a concrete floor under the parquet.
When the parquet was put down it was stuck to the concrete floor by bitumen therefore before I can re adhere the blocks and fingers to the concrete floor I will first have to remove the old black bitumen - not an easy job. So to properly complete my task I gather that I will need the following items;

  • Sufficient HWO for say 15 sq/mt
  • A Polish Applicator (has this to be collected from your shop?) 
  • Adhesive to attach the blocks or single fingers to the concrete floor
  • Notched trowel knife
  • Various cloth buffers (I will not be using a commercial or domestic polisher as I don't have one-does this matter very much?
  • A good set of instructions

Anything else? Are you able to supply all or most of these items?

Hi David
You are right to remove as much bitumen as possible, it will effect the bonding time of the adhesive.

The HardWaxOil applicator is the one that I can no longer dispatch by courier because of the changed mechanism of the tool (longer metal bar as gripper for the sponge). You could use what we normally call the (maintenance) polish applicator: a simple t-bar with woolen sleeve. More and more DIY-ers (and even professionals) use this to apply the HardWaxOil on small jobs.

You need either 2 x 1 ltr HardWaxOil natural (1 ltr covers 10 sq m in two coats) or 1 x 1 ltr and 2 x 0.25 ltr.

I'll add some cloths to your order (clean but discarded tea towels from hotels etc - not up to standard for them, extremely useful for us). Instead of using a buffing machine some of our clients have used our 7kg buffing block (cast iron with bristles underneath) where the block is wrapped in a plastic back to keep the bristles clean, then wrapped a cloth around it and used the block to spread out the applied HardWaxOil.

The buffing block is also an ideal, eco-friendly, maintenance tool so if you buy this you will have a maintenance tool at the same time to use for years and years to come.

RAF billets?

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Karin, Sorry I haven't spoken to you yet but I will - I'm busy sanding down my study (4mx3m=12sqm) as I want to purchase enough materials for both jobs. Will you please add that into your cost calculations.

Does the HWO have a long shelf-life? How do you manipulate the polish applicator? Is it simply by pushing like a broom/mop?-much like the old hand buffers we used to have to polish our billets with in the RAF?
Rgs,DH

Sorry in the delay in getting back to you. Best would be then to order 2 x 1 ltr and 4 x 0.25 ltr. Although HardWaxOil has a long shelf life, it can go off once opened.

Whenever an ex-soldier/navy person comes in our showroom and sees our cast iron buffing block (with broom stick attached, have to sell them without due to delivery charges) it does indeed remind them of that honourable task of polishing the billets

So you use the T-bar polish applicator with the woolen sleeve to apply the HardWaxOil to the floor, then with a plastic bag and cloth wrapped around the buffing block spread it out and work it in (gently).

The project gets bigger and bigger!

Hello Again, I've been on my knees for two weeks finishing sanding the hall and just now my studio. In addition I have cleaned, free from Bitumen, 326 fingers, sanded all six sides, cut to shape and size by hand where needed and replaced them in the hallway and filled in all the small cracks and spaces between the squares.

Only now need to sand with 80 Grit and finish with 120 grit (both Hall and Studio-but both already looking great - how some folk can paint on an Oak floor without covering up and how others (plumbers) tear up and replace in places with concrete a parquet floor is a puzzle - but I got it all off or dug up.

The studio is 274 'fingers' short so I'm having them made by a local small (two man) joinery company whom I've had many dealings with in the past-used to work next door to them. I have had to take the skirting off both rooms so I am replacing them with Oak skirting - only problem this comes in 20 MM thickness whilst the old stuff was 15mm. So that means the Archives of the doors have to come off - I had already planned to have new Oak doors fitted - this project is getting bigger but manageable.

So now to the Wax Oil-a question for you. I am loathe to put this on in advance of the skirting in case of builder/joiner damage. Are my fears needless?

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A question on Wax Oil from my wife! Are we liable to be needing Wellington boots to wade through the oil? Visions of the Gulf oil spill comes to mind-does it really soak in leaving a sound dry surface? I am taking a big step into the dark having never used this treatment before and after all my hard work I really need a great finish - no patchiness or wet areas etc - reassurance needed please..!

I think that is you up to date, thanks for your various messages - sorry for tardy response.

Best Wishes & Thanks, David H.

Hi David

Wow, that's what I call feed back and keeping us up to date! Would love to publish this - with your agreement - on our blog about the efforts some of our DIY clients got to to re-instate a valuable original feature in their home.

For the skirtingboards you can "paint" it on afterwards, as long as you have a non-fluffy cloth ready to spread it out better and even kind of buff it in (you can even go over non-treated areas with the cloth).

We know the Gulf oil spill is not something anyone wants, but rest assured, it will not happen on your floor (or you'll have to drop the can of HardWaxOil on it by accident!).

  • Best is to shake/stir the can first and then pore an amount in a plastic (paint) tray.
  • We normally start at the edge of the floor with a sponge or polish applicator dipped in the tray first.
  • Do small areas first, say 30 cm band in front of the wall.
  • Go over the freshly applied HWO with a non-fluffy cloth to spread it out better and to buff it in a bit.

Continue the rest of the room by starting a little bit over the already treated area, so no dark or accentuated edges appear.

I've attached our own instructions of use for HardWaxOil (tells a bit more than you normally find on the tin).

Just take your time, make sure the floor is clean and dry before you start (although some dust etc will never absolutely be band). If possible, after you have applied the HWO to the whole room, go over it with a semi-professional buffing machine using a medium coarse pad.

It does happen sometimes that after the first coat you will see more or less patched of shiny or dull spots. Nothing to worry about, in those areas the wood has absorbed more or less than the surrounding area.

Applying the second coat (within 36 - 48 hours!) will normally take care of this. Even if after the second coat has dried you could see some patchy areas - DO NOT APPLY A THIRD COAT! Leave it for a week or so and when these patches are still noticeable, just apply some liquid wax-polish (maintenance product).

Hope this helps and looking forward to some pictures of the end result.

Thanks for quick response and re-assurance. Yes of course, use any material of mine you might wish to. I have pictures of 'before' and I'll take some of 'after and make sure you get copies.

So we are now eagerly awaiting the "before and "after" pictures, and we're sure you are too! And we're are also sure you are as much in awe of the painstaking preparations David has/is taking to lovely restore his mosaic floor.

Stay tuned for the next chapter in this saga.

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