The floor must have been defective, he told me. I cheerfully sanded down the floor and refinished the kitchen for free - about one days work with the travel time. Then, the couple admitted that they thought it was really their fault and were kind of embarrassed. I said, no problem and no charge. This couple has since gotten me two more good flooring jobs and happily tells their friends about our flooring. Making sure my customers are happy encourages them to keep referring me new jobs! Every floor I install becomes another showroom and the homeowners join my volunteer sales staff.
Owner's Manual for Wood Flooring
When selling direct to homeowners, the more you teach them about wood flooring, the less problems you will face. Wood floors are alive - they breathe, move, and talk to me throughout the seasons. I'm working on an Owner's Manual for our wood floors - and each homeowner adds another page or two to the book.
Fiber vs Furniture - Each individual log can be made into a wide variety of products. In Wisconsin, about half of all timber harvested goes to the paper mills. Of the other half that goes to the sawmills, about half of the lumber goes into pallet pieces and railroad ties. These products are all at the very bottom of the value use ladder. As a forest owner, No Way am I going to sell wood for its lowest value use!!
I'm always amazed when I look over the logs in the log yards of a big mill.
While is may be inconvenient for a timber company to sort small amounts of high value logs when selling truck load amounts, a forest owner or small business owner wonders at the waste of the timber industry. Seeing large sawlogs being ground for pulpwood at the paper mill or split for fuel wood at the firewood processor seems crazy.
Choices for your business - what do you produce?
Green wood or kiln dry lumber
Rough sawn or manufactured
Wholesale or retail
Volume or value
Quantity or quality
Traditional or custom made
Fiber or furniture
Traditional Flooring - Boring Flooring
As I have been working my way into the flooring business over the last decade, a bunch of old "traditions" keep appearing. Traditional hardwood flooring is usually clear and color sorted red oak or hard maple. The boards are 2 ¼ inches wide - tongue and grooved and end matched with 'stress relief' cuts on the bottom side. I call this style Boring Flooring. When I ask manufacturers questions about traditional strip flooring, the answers are always - "We have always done it that way…. Everyone does it that way…"
My understanding is that these traditions go back a century to when the industry was still clear-cutting the old growth timber. Good wood was plentiful and cheap - so lots of waste was not an issue, and effective dry kilns were not readily available. Clear, narrow, end matched flooring was needed to keep the flooring together when it dried in the house in winter. Well folks, things have changed! Next