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Paul
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok, been offered a pretty neat job in a potentially very high visibility setting that could lead to more of the same, and provided it goes right, it could be pretty lucrative as well. Couple thousand feet of quarter sawn oak in herringbone/double herringbone with borders and a medallion or three. In a 14th floor oceanside Penthouse condo so it's over cork over slab.

The install part I'm not too concerned with. It will be pretty time consuming but nothing we can't handle. The product is Czar Floors red or white (still being decided) oak. Here's the kicker. We're subbing out the finish portion. It's going to be an ebony stain with a water based finish. Probably Bona of some flavor.

I've finished a handful of floors in my day but by no means would I consider myself a pro in that arena. That's what this job is going to require.

Any info, tips, or light you guys can shed on me will be greatly appreciated. I know ebony stain can be a real *****. Sanding process for herringbone? If I'm not mistaken the medallions are going to be prefinished so I'm concerned about matching. Should I request they be sent raw?

I know we frown upon pricing discussions here, but if you can give me an idea of upcharge percentage I should expect over and above a typical s&f base price that would be very helpful.

S&F work is a very small market here and crews are few and far between so any specific questions or things that I should look for in a finish crew will come in handy as well. Thanks in advance.
 

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I'm not a flooring guy or finishing expert but owned a custom cabinet and furniture shop for 14 years so have had some experience in the area.Have also done my fair share of floors over the years.
I would not get anything prefinished.It will be hard to match and the finish may not be compatible with what your guys use.
If I was going to do ebony I would go with an aniline dye.Ask to see some of their previous work.
 

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the floor should be cut minimal 4 times, starting at finest floor will allow to be sanded properly.

the first cut should be strait through grain pattern.
next 2 opposite 45.
last pick one direction 45

use successive grit each cut..say start 50, go 60, 80 100

final cut should be either disc sanding,OBS or some form multi- disc sander to remove cross hatching from main area and perimeter work

i would get unfinished medallions so they can be sanded in with the floor.
not necessary to water pop unless deeper color desired.

Ebony will not be forgiven if a regimented approach isn't taken in the sanding.. cross hatching will bounce up and hit you right in the kisser

Glitza makes a sable black which is alcohol based and much alike a dye if a deeper black is desired.

once the prep is done well.the rest is just finishing.

I would stay away form Minwax..Use dura -seal.. let dry a couple days before doing any water on top..a universal seal as the first coat is some insurance..only use Zinnser's product for that.
Bona also makes an oil sealer that they warrant under their waterbase.

as for numbers..the right crew is deserving of the right dollar.

is a base rate there was 2.50sf I would expect 40%-50% above that rate for that type of work.
 

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DustContainmentSpecialist
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100 Posts
Ebony isn't that difficult as long as the sanding contractor is proficient. Def get the medallions unfinished, they can sand it all together and then tape off the medallion if necessary for different stain color (or no stain). Bona's wb finished are excellent, but their black stain is more of a blue/black. I would recommend Glitsa Sable Black for the stain, that stuff is very dark and relatively easy to work with. There is nothing else quite like it that I have found. It may not be available in Florida, if not, perhaps try Bona stain with Bona Courtline ebony paint added.. You can add up to 10% with standard overnight dry times. Samples, samples, samples... Some contractors use dyes in combination with stain to achieve ebony, thags ok too.Be sure your finishing contractor understands sanding process followed by water-popping to achieve the true ebony color.
 

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Head Light Bulb Changer
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847 Posts
A couple thoughts - Quarter sawn and Ebony stain? What a waste of good looking wood. Keep in mind that on herringbone, the darker the stain the more the light will reflect different. Not sure how to explain it, but your alternating rows will appear different colors when the sun hits it and you're viewing from front to back. IMO herringbone and dark stains don't mix.

Get the medallions unfinished.

Generally HB is priced double for S&F, if there's other straight work on the same job. If it's all HB, 2 1/2. Since you're in a condo you have the PITA factor. Don't overprice it, but don't lose your ass either. HB can be a ***** to keep flat. The Lagler sanders work well, but not a lot of guys have them.

And one other thing - Don't use Minwax Ebony. That chit takes forever to dry.
 

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Paul
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4,120 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
the floor should be cut minimal 4 times, starting at finest floor will allow to be sanded properly.

the first cut should be strait through grain pattern.
next 2 opposite 45.
last pick one direction 45

use successive grit each cut..say start 50, go 60, 80 100

final cut should be either disc sanding,OBS or some form multi- disc sander to remove cross hatching from main area and perimeter work

i would get unfinished medallions so they can be sanded in with the floor.
not necessary to water pop unless deeper color desired.

Ebony will not be forgiven if a regimented approach isn't taken in the sanding.. cross hatching will bounce up and hit you right in the kisser

Glitza makes a sable black which is alcohol based and much alike a dye if a deeper black is desired.

once the prep is done well.the rest is just finishing.

I would stay away form Minwax..Use dura -seal.. let dry a couple days before doing any water on top..a universal seal as the first coat is some insurance..only use Zinnser's product for that.
Bona also makes an oil sealer that they warrant under their waterbase.

as for numbers..the right crew is deserving of the right dollar.

is a base rate there was 2.50sf I would expect 40%-50% above that rate for that type of work.
Thanks James - you were one of the guys I was hoping to get a response from :thumbsup: Appreciate the other input as well - pretty much backs up what I already had in mind. I had the thought that an orbital sander might be required for the final cut.. How difficult is it to get an acceptable final cut with just a drum sander on herringbone?
 

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Thanks James - you were one of the guys I was hoping to get a response from :thumbsup: Appreciate the other input as well - pretty much backs up what I already had in mind. I had the thought that an orbital sander might be required for the final cut.. How difficult is it to get an acceptable final cut with just a drum sander on herringbone?
you confidence is appreciated man..

but you will never do it with drum machine alone..



if you get the last cut fine enough and to 1 direction.. hand sanders can handle it due you only need to address the opposite course.

but on 2000 sf a bigger machine is necessary.

here's the thing..you already have opposite 45 on each course in grain pattern after install...sanding strait through on the first cut simulates cutting on a a 30 for your first cut on a strait floor..

this cuts the floor down evenly.

you then cut opposite 45s..this will remove initial cut cross hatching in each direction of the natural angle of a HB pattern..remember each cut changes to the finer grit. your floor is now flat with no dish out.

the last final cut removes all the hatching except for the opposite grained course..

this makes it easier for an OBS, multi disc or regular buffer disc sanding to remove the markings...this take time..

you can drop a grit down to do this..last machine cut 100..go 80 or even 60 on the OBS..

some handwork,,touch up will be needed..then go ahead as planned.

Minwax is unpredictable now due all these VOC changes they did..no one knows what they get anymore.

Dura Seal ( now a Minwax company) will dry guaranteed..but give it 2 days after application before applying waterbase.
the next day will be good with a Universal or oil sealer form Bona..if Bona is selected..use their products except their Ebony.

you have now been idiot proofed...
one cut can be removed depeingi upon skill set and grit starting sequence..remember the harder you work prior, the easier it gets later in the job..
 

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Paul
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4,120 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thank you sir - excellent info! I personally think an ebony stain in this application is retarded but people want what they want (or as in this case the designer told them what they want..)
 

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Particulate Filter
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4,430 Posts
If youre subbing out the sand and finish I would require last cut be done with the lagler trio. If they dont have that machine they are probably not doing high end with any regularity.

Require that you inspect before stain and reinspect before first coat poly. Check it with a 1000 watt work light. If you tell the crew before they start they will work to the standards you set. They may protest but its better than starting over.
 

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Paul
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4,120 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
If youre subbing out the sand and finish I would require last cut be done with the lagler trio. If they dont have that machine they are probably not doing high end with any regularity.

Require that you inspect before stain and reinspect before first coat poly. Check it with a 1000 watt work light. If you tell the crew before they start they will work to the standards you set. They may protest but its better than starting over.
Funny you mention that. We talked to a crew yesterday that couldn't help mentioning the trio as their final cut machine at least three times lol. I think everyone is on the same page.

Honestly what I'm considering doing is passing the S&F crew on directly to the GC and not even being involved with that part of the job financially. I know we could make a couple dollars but the risk and responsibility wouldn't be worth it in my mind. Then again - if they f it up the GC is going to be pissed at us regardless so I feel obligated to manage them anyway.
 

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Particulate Filter
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Funny you mention that. We talked to a crew yesterday that couldn't help mentioning the trio as their final cut machine at least three times lol. I think everyone is on the same page.

Honestly what I'm considering doing is passing the S&F crew on directly to the GC and not even being involved with that part of the job financially. I know we could make a couple dollars but the risk and responsibility wouldn't be worth it in my mind. Then again - if they f it up the GC is going to be pissed at us regardless so I feel obligated to manage them anyway.
I think that is very very wise.
 

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Head Light Bulb Changer
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847 Posts
the risk and responsibility wouldn't be worth it in my mind
I wouldn't pass off the finish work to the GC. Any little F-up on your part will have the finishers whining about it to the GC. If you sub it, just be there to supervise and fix any 'problems' with the install. Finishers can be a fickle bunch and they'll already be pissed because their brother/cousin/step-uncle didn't get the install :laughing: It sounds like the potential payoff is huge, if the end product is outstanding and word gets around that there's a local company that can do that kind of quality work from start to finish.
 

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I'd be a little cautious about thinking the ebony stain is going to be easy. If the designer wants to get a color match to actual ebony wood (solid black), that's pretty tough. Red and white oak stain enough differently that I'd try the two samples and stain them both to get a designer choice. If part of the process is going to be fuming it to start with, you may want white oak.

I always thought getting a color match to ebony was a PITA. I use multiple coats of aniline dye in alcohol, and when that doesn't get me much more, I switch to oil stains.

If there is an easy secret to it, I don't know it.
 

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Particulate Filter
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I'd be a little cautious about thinking the ebony stain is going to be easy. If the designer wants to get a color match to actual ebony wood (solid black), that's pretty tough. Red and white oak stain enough differently that I'd try the two samples and stain them both to get a designer choice. If part of the process is going to be fuming it to start with, you may want white oak.

I always thought getting a color match to ebony was a PITA. I use multiple coats of aniline dye in alcohol, and when that doesn't get me much more, I switch to oil stains.

If there is an easy secret to it, I don't know it.
Pop it.
 

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Focusing on solutions.
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Wayer poping the floor for stain penetration always helps.
I'm sure a man who's been in the wood finishing game as long as hdavis has, has used water to raise the grain. He just didn't understand that pop it meant using water to open the pores of the wood.

I only heard the term water pop a few years ago, but I've been using water to open the grain since I was in high school.
 

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Head Light Bulb Changer
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Around here, it's called 'Tacking'. Same thing, different term.

As in 'Tack, double stain Ebony' will get you a DARK floor. UGH! Just put down cab grade plywood and paint it black :laughing:
 
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