Sunday, December 28, 2008

Trompe L'Oeil for a Wood Floor

Or "What To Do 'Til The Carpenter Arrives?"

Well, here goes. We have been remodeling our house - some contract but mostly DIY and elbow grease. I love old houses. Every board you remove opens the way to have to remove and replace at least four more.

In our living room we removed 2 doors and widened them and built arches (which I love). One doorway was an easy fix because we laid tile in the kitchen. But, the one leading into the hall had a 2 X 4 in the floor with a 1 inch gap all the way around.

What to do? Tear up about three foot of floor and splice in new? (Professional and $$$) Install a raised threshold to cover the gaps? Easy fix!!! The carpenter was suposed to have been have before Christmas. He didn't show. So, I did what I knew to do!


If you are interested, here are the steps.

1. I used Rock Hard Water Putty to fill the gaps. Let it dry. I waited overnight. Sanded it smooth and cleaned up the excess dust and residue.

2. The paint is acrylic that comes in the little squeeze bottles. I selected 3 colors that I could see in the actual wood grain (raw seinna, burnt umber, and antique gold). The clear stuff is a little bit of Floating Medium. This retards the drying time and gave me just a little more time to move your paint around.

3. Using a 1" brush, I worked each board one at a time. I base coated each board in the color that was the closest match to the undertone of the wood. Sometime I had to blend the colors just a bit to get a good match. The base color varied from board to board. (More old house charm!)

4. I used a liner and a small round rough bristle brush to create the details of the oak grain. I watched the grain line coming into the repaired area and matched the flow of the grain.

5. I replicated water spots, knots holes, and distressed edges to match the other boards in the existing floor. I took advanatge of the occasional rough spot in the putty. That was a good place for a knothole.

6. I stood up often to see how it looked from all angles. Also, to stretch my legs and relax my shoulders. You might be wondering about the coffee cup - that's not part of the technique unless you count coffee break as part of the process.

It's beginning to look a little like a wood floor with no gaps. A couple of coats of polyurethane (the same kind that is on the rest of the floor) and I may not need that carpenter after all.

I may not need the carpenter from Texas but I will always need and enjoy the company of The Carpenter from Nazareth. I thought about Him alot as I was kneeling on the floor, paint brush in hand and a song in my heart.
Hope you can use this bit of information.
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