After working years on an uneven concrete floor, I wanted something better in the new shop space. The existing concrete floor was very uneven, cold and hard on my feet and knees. Having machines wobble is one thing, but building furniture on an uneven floor is a big handicap.
So I opted for pine, I like the looks but it’s also one of the “cheapest” solid wood floors available here, mine was French maritime pine 22mm thick. I needed about 200m2 ( 2150 ft2) for which I paid about €20/m2, which is still a very considerable sum for the total surface (about 4k).
To level out the floor I had to create a structure underneath of 44x44mm beams every 400mm, levelled out with homemade shims, I had about 1200 spots to level out using the laser level and a ruler to measure the height difference for every spot. I first had to find the highest spot and use that as point zero. This was one hell of a task, I nailed the shims on top the beams and then turned over the beams, once you find the right rhythm it goes relatively fast.
I nailed the floor boards to the beams with a brad nailer through the tongue, and since I was alone I had to stamp them together with one foot and then nail them as these boards weren’t always straight. Later I found out you could rent special pneumatic nailers for floor board that you activate by slamming them with a hammer, so it nails while slamming the boards together tightly.
It would have been ideal to add plywood panels under the boards so the the floor cracks less and doesn’t sound as hollow but I just didn’t have the budget for that.
I rented a “woodboy” floor polisher/sander to sand and finish the floor, initially they gave me 80 grit sanding nets but those were too fine for initial sanding and too course for finish sanding. So I went back and got 60 and 100 grits, but to be honest I hardly noticed a difference in finish or effectiveness between grits. It takes practice to master the woodboy, a true rodeo initially but after a while you learn to control it with subtle gestures. They usually come with a sanding weight, but here I had to add a few bags of plaster to weigh it down, otherwise it won’t sand.
I opted for hard wax from Ciranova as a finish, as I used that type for my furniture and I wanted something natural that could easily be maintained without requiring to be completely stripped. It’s done by pouring a little on the floor and then placing the polisher with a white pad on top, and then spreading it out. This goes quite fast, the next day you can sand again with a green pad before the next coat.
I applied two coats (or 3 can’t remember exactly) and after the last coat it’s possible to polish the floor with a wipe which makes it smoother and shine.
Then it was finally possible to bring the machines in their new home, I feared the floor would suffer from the weight of the machines but gladly it can handle them perfectly.
Two years later it was time to apply a new coat of finish, the floor had suffered mostly in the assembly room, doorway and standing positions by each machine. For this I needed to move out as much equipment and stuff as possible. Since the floor under the benches or machines wasn’t worn I could leave those in place. I chose the holidays to do this task as the shop would be unusable for 3 days.
This time I applied 2 coats of hard wax oil from “Blanchon” because the business where I normally get my oil and polisher was closed for the holidays, I sanded with grit 100 and then applied the oil, surprisingly I only needed 1,5 liters in total for the two coats on the entire shop.