The hand is mightier than the machine
Some things simply can’t be replicated by machine. An aged oak floor is one of them. Because whilst automated planeing blurs the fibres and muddies the finish, our hand planeing creates a smooth yet undulating surface which elegantly replicates the time-worn character of vintage oak boards. The simple truth is no one hand planes boards like we do. As craftsmen we “read” the grain in every single piece of wood, touching and feeling our way, trusting our instincts and our experience, until the oak reveals it’s fullest natural beauty. It’s an art passed down through five generations and a proud history of cabinet making and furniture restoration.
A skill in itself, the plane iron is precision ground and finely honed on a leather strop until it is sharp enough to remove hairs from the back of the hand. The plane is then finely tuned until it glides over the surface of the board, ejecting a plume of translucent shavings with a satisfying hiss.
The razor sharp smoothing plane in skilled hands is a great revealer. Through it the oak reveals qualities not to be found otherwise. Not to be confused with a so called ‘hand scraped’ finish from abroad. The craftsman needs considerable stamina, and the ability to read the grain of the board. He sees the grain as a map showing him different directions to work the plane. This allows him to slice the fibers of the oak cleanly, revealing the underlying iridescent beauty and avoiding unsightly tearing of the grain.
To help emphasize the superb width of each board the edges are eased with a spoke shave, again by hand, leaving an uneven and slightly broken edge.
Using special tools and techniques handed down by word of mouth through generations of craftsmen, the timber is aged and carefully distressed to simulate years of wear.
The prepared boards then go through a series of stages, our unique blend of earth pigments, oils and waxes are allowed to absorb, then are laboriously rubbed in and buffed to a mellow, welcoming glow. This is the rich, deep, patina that is the inimitable hallmark of all our work.