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  • How Hardwood Flooring is Made

    Posted on January 29, 2013 by Jennifer

    It all starts with a tree. Whether it’s a towering Douglas fir or a massive white oak, every piece of hardwood flooring once started out as part of a living, breathing forest.

    But how do you get from giant, bark-covered tree to smooth, beautiful floorboard?

    It’s an interesting process. Altrufir shows you how it works:

    1. Trees are cut into logs. Whether those are sustainably harvested using modern forestry practices, or salvaged from dead standing timber, foresters fell the trees and transport the resulting logs to a mill.
    2. At the mill, logs are de-barked and sawn into planks. Even at this early stage, there is some variation in the manufacturing process. The simplest way of sawing a board is flat-sawn, also sometimes called plain-sawn; the logs are simply run through the saw and cut into flat planks. Quarter-sawing is a bit more work. The log is first cut into four quarters, and then each quarter is sawn at a right-angle to the tree’s annual growth rings. This reveals what’s known as vertical grain. You’ll see long, vertical lines running up and down the face of each board.
    3. We at Altrufir tend to favor clear vertical grain flooring; not only is it attractive, it also produces a more stable final product. When the flooring expands and contracts in response to temperature and humidity in the environment, as all wood naturally does, vertical-grain flooring expands and contracts evenly all along the length of the board. It’s much less prone to buckling and warping than other varieties.
    4. After sawing, expert graders examine the boards, looking for the number of knots, streaks, or other variations in the wood. Boards are sorted into a number of different grades based on their quality.
    5. Once the logs have been transformed into boards and graded, the surface of the board can be treated in a variety of ways. Sometimes, they’re left rough-sawn; that means that the texture from the saw blades will still be visible on the surface of the boards. More often, they’re “surfaced,” which means they’re run through a machine called a planer that gives them a smooth surface.
    6. Next, profile options are added. The profile of a board is what you see when you look at it sideways. Are the edges perfectly square, or does it have a slight diagonal cut from the corners? That’s a beveled profile. Do the sides have tongue-and-groove options cut into them to allow for a snug fit during installation? Back relief is a common feature of hardwood flooring—that’s when small grooves are cut in the back side of the board, making the flooring more flexible, less prone to warping, and easier to install. Altrufir sells flooring in several types of standard profiles, and also allows customers to specify custom profile options.
    7. You might think that flooring would be all done once it’s been cut to the right size and shape. Altrufir’s flooring goes through a final process of kiln-drying, in which the wood is heated to decrease its moisture content. That’s important, because wood that’s not pre-dried could warp or buckle as it dries out after installation.

    In the end, you’re left with a smooth, beautiful, durable product. It’s the result of many hours of labor from foresters, truck-drivers, sawyers and lumber graders. And it’s all ready to install in your home–your own personal, daily reminder of the transformation from forest to floorboard.



    This post was posted in Douglas Fir Flooring, History and Interest and was tagged with wood flooring, hardwood flooring, hardwood floors, wood floors, how hardwood floors are made, creation of hardwood flooring, creation of wood flooring, creation of wood floors, creation of floors

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