On Sunday the flooring crew finished installing the new white oak in the storefront and did a sweet job. The joints are tight throughout and I’m happy I spent the extra $900 to install the floor at a 45° slant.
The next stage is sanding and finishing. We’re not staining the floor and are using only an oil-based polyurethane (three coats) on top, which should give us 15 years of hard use.
The details of the floor finish were the most difficult part of the job for me. I’ve worked in shops with smooth wooden floors that made it impossible to do any benchwork because I couldn’t get a firm footing to plane or saw.
The traditional solution to this problem was to sprinkle plaster of Paris on the floor to afford some grip for the workers’ feet. A more modern solution is to sprinkle sand in the finish, either as it is being stirred or right after it is applied.
Neither of those appeals to me. So we are going with the flattest polyurethane available. I asked the flooring guys why flatting paste would improve the traction. They said the transparent silica in the paste is what provided the extra traction.
I’ll let you know if they are correct at the end of the week. By then we’ll be moving tools and benches to the new storefront so I can build the replacement transom windows, new front door and display shelves for the books. That should be a fair test of the transparent silica.
— Christopher Schwarz
P.S. Our March 12 book-release party is completely booked now. If people cancel, I’ll post a note here. Sorry we cannot accommodate more people; we have a maximum occupancy from the fire department.