Instructables

Make a Hardwood Floor that looks 3D from your OWN Trees

FeaturedContest Winner
   I have cut a lot of logs over the years and I have always been impressed at how beautiful some of the wood looks inside. I always wondered if there wasn't something I could do with it besides burn it for firewood. But how can you make anything from trees without the large scale professional tools and a mill? I discovered there is a way, but I warn you its not an easy project.

  A perfect project for this idea is to make a hardwood floor with wood from locally grown trees. There are three common hardwood trees in northeast Montana, they are the Ash, the Siberian Elm and the Russian Olive. Russian Olive wood is probably the most distinctive being almost chocolate colored, it is a very beautiful wood. However virtually  no one uses it for anything other than burning. Though it its the softest of the three woods it is still a hardwood so it will work for a floor. Russian Olive trees are usually not very big. They do not produce large straight trunks and they often grow crooked in many directions. This makes it a very poor candidate for milling or for even getting large pieces out of it. The Siberian elm is often thought of as a junk tree,  a nuisance and/or a weed tree. It puts out huge amounts of seeds in the spring which sprout everywhere and the seedlings are tough to remove once they get a foothold. It usually grows in more urban areas. The deer love to eat it so you don't find to many of them in the wooded areas.  There are many types of elms and  elm wood is known to be a beautiful wood, but also a difficult wood to work with. It has the tendency to split, crack and warp so it is not used that often for wood projects. The only tree in the group that has a good reputation is the the Ash. 

Almost all of the wood floors that you will come across are made of long boards. That's nice but it is a near impossibility  to get long lengths from these trees, especially without any kind of mill. So what can you do with short pieces? I finally found an answer to that while looking up yet more information on hardwood floors. There is a tiling method that uses a rhombus (a diamond or squashed square) and it requires small pieces of 3 different types or colors of wood. A perfect fit for what I have. You can see more information on rhombus tiling at this Wikipedia site.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhombille_tiling

Cutting up logs and turning them into 2 inch diamonds, yep a crazy idea. That's what I am going to show you how to do in this instructable.
 
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up
1-40 of 42Next »
KellyCraig7 months ago

Cutting this way, the type of push stick you used is critical to the process. Otherwise, every piece would become a projectile.

To minimize material launches, mount a stop to your fence, or clamp it to the table. The stop should be wide enough to give each cut off a few inches more room between the blade and fence.

The wood would push against the stop, to give you the same cut your fence would have given you (like in your picture). However, because the stop is only wide enough allow you to repeat the cuts, the material would clear the stop before it hits the blade. I'd still use a push shoe like yours, rather than a stick, because it both pushes the wood through the blade and holds it down.

Oh, and good job

KimberWhite8 months ago

Amazingly beautiful work. Very hard, tedious work but the look paid off! Thanks for sharing.

gmtanner1 year ago
I like it. I would be a great method for making a custom cutting board. I don't think I would be ambitious enough to cover an entire floor.
fretted1 year ago
Good gosh how large was the floor 2" pieces 3 at a tim must have taken forever to lay did you glue them down or lay them down with nailers i can imagine nailing all that down if it's a huge floor but man it sure is pretty

Great Job great Ible
hungyhipo 22 years ago
Very cool.
canucksgirl2 years ago
PROJECT OF THE DAY!!! Nice accomplishment for a great Instructable. Congrats. ;-)
dimmaz882 years ago
This is a great instructable. I love seeing wood go from tree to a finished product, it's awesome. You've inspired me to cut my own wood, I've just made my own thickness sander so I just need the chainsaw now :)

Keep up the good 'ibles.

Scott
mr.frob2 years ago
Love it!!
rimar20002 years ago
Master, this is a superb work!
Ninzerbean2 years ago
Hands down one of the best 'ibles ever, thank you for taking the time to share.
iceng2 years ago
Very intricate and good looking, I particularly enjoyed the dissertation on
wood properties hardness and ease of cutting in particular.

Not being near as capable in the arboreal to floor skill set.  

My wife has unearth so to speak a fact that the leafy branches of the
Russian Olive are rather poisonous to horses but not ponies who can
eat it whenever a wind tears a branch down. 
But let me feel that a prize Paint horse would enjoy munching on a
branch that I dragged to his paddock and I rack up life saving Veterinary
bills including a pricy life saving horse transfusion for poison for my 
altruism :-(

A
inaun2 years ago
Wow! That is a lot of work -- and beautiful results. You rock.

Not sure I'm up to that....but I've been eying the Russian Olive in my firewood pile thinking what a shame to burn that. You have inspired me to absolutly find a better use!
Vyger (author)  inaun2 years ago
The Russian Olive wood is an easier wood to work with so that is another plus for you. It is harder than pine and it doesn't have any sap or resin in it but it is softer than Oak or Ash. It very rarely smokes the saw blade or bogs it down. It finishes really nicely and because of the natural color does not need any stain.

Some states have started eradication programs because they consider the tree to be an invasive species. There is a debate still going on about it. What they should really do is just start harvesting the trees for the wood. Once it caught on in popularity lumbar companies would pay for the rights to harvest it.

There are all kinds of things you can do with smaller pieces. One of my early projects was a business card holder. I should also mention that it holds glue really well. Some woods don't stick together that well but olive bonds to the point that the glue bond is stronger than the wood itself.
Aaamazzara2 years ago
amazing job on this project
jcpn562 years ago
I believe the pattern your using is called rhombille tiling or something. In the end, very nice floor, have plans on making some nice tables with this design.
awesome instuctable. i took the same idea you had but instead of making a floor with it, I'm using three species of wood veneer that I'm hand cutting to make a piece to hang on the wall, thanks for the idea!
Hats off to you my friend. This is both amazing work and very well detailed, thank you for sharing.
hammer98763 years ago
Beautiful work! Thanks for the great photos. Having done this in another medium
http://www.instructables.com/id/Study-in-Baby-Blocks-Quilt/
I would emphasize that the closer you are to a perfect diamond shape in the beginning, the easier it goes together in the end. Strive for perfection first, or you will be sanding later. A lot. :-)

So where IS "Rhombus part 2"?
jacob2die43 years ago
I have been looking at this INS a lot of times now, i absolutely love the looks of it but there is one thing that keeps popping up in my mind.. the moistness of the wood the floor would bend n break if it isn't completely dry, i work as a cabinetmaker (ppmoebler.dk) and the wood we use dries for several years before we use it, and when its ready for use we put it in a "dry-room" for about 2-3 weeks so the moist will come down to aprox 3%.

what did u do to dry the wood?
again i love the looks n the idea

jacob
Vyger (author)  jacob2die43 years ago
First I would like to say that I looked at your web site and your company does really beautiful work. Interestingly, my brother in law is from Denmark. Small world sometimes.

Some of the wood I used is already very dry. This is a semi arid climate (although after the last few years we are beginning to wonder) and during our hot dry summers wood dries out very fast. The Russian olive wood I am using has been cut for several years and it is dry and stable.
Most of the elm wood is also dry, the trees died in a fire about 4 years ago. They do have more moisture than the olive because they were left standing and so dried out much slower. Letting it air dry has been working good for it so far.
The ash, and its a different variety than you have, I believe its green ash, has been a bit of a problem. I did rush it in order to get the instructable done by the deadline. It should have had more time to dry.
Since I have been using small pieces, warping is not as big a problem as shrinkage. One good thing is that because of using smaller pieces it dries out faster.
I have run into a number of interesting problems as I have been working on this and am planning on making an update instructable or a "next step". I have also been experimenting with some other woods, one in particular is crabapple. Its actually a very beautiful wood.
Right now my next batch of rough cut wood is stacked up in an unused bedroom drying out. I make a stack with the pieces about an inch apart first going one way then put another layer going the other way. This way it has a lot of airflow going through it. The moisture level in the house is about 10 to 15 percent so its drying out pretty good.
From the research I did on hardwood floors before I started this project I found that the moisture levels in floors is usually higher than the 3% that you work with. One big reason is the expansion that happens when the wood absorbs moisture. If you use wood that's to dry and tight fit it there is a good chance that it will expand and buckle especially if the floor surface is large. So it does need to be dry, but not too dry.
hi again

oh yeah, small world( were only 5.5 million here )

ahh, well i actually dont know much about hardwood floors, bet u know much more :)

i will follow u on here n see how it goes with a "next step" inst. and other ideas u might come up with :) thanks again.. Jacob
roumy3 years ago
nice work , love to try walk on it.
Brilliant, thanks for this.
I am going to give it a try.
Well if it cut as the blade came up wouldnt it just throw sawdust everywhere.
That rocks! He said he will do it if I buy him a band saw :)
jdtwelve123 years ago
Nice work; great Instructable and the photos speak for themselves.

All you need now is a few well-placed Qbert decals. :)
i would feel very weird if I were walking on a floor that looks like a bunch of square steps O.o I think thats just me though...or is it?
You are a true master of your craft, outstanding work, mate! I've never done something like this, but seeing your work makes me want to try! I'm at a loss for words. Beautiful!
vincent75203 years ago
OMG

would never be able to do such a sophisticated layout …
You've got all my admiration
FN643 years ago
Now that's one nice looking layout. I'm sure this would be possible with larger diamonds for a big room. I like good wood working and this is one of the better ones I've seen. Excellent instructions, great explanations for the steps involved.
You got my vote on this one Vyger..
FN
aeray3 years ago
Excellent. I'm a big fan of oddball lumber (I recently built a staircase with about 27 species, including things like crabapple, locust, and tree-of-paradise) I've only ever used Russian olive for pegs though.

How are you planning on attaching them? Trowel-on adhesive?
Very nice! Looks like a lot of work, but what a great looking result. Can't wait to see the finished floor.
rimar20003 years ago
VOTED!

Very insteresting.
glenm3 years ago
real life Q-bert, right on!

but seriously, amazing job!
yokozuna3 years ago
Five stars, and voted. Best new Ible I've seen in a long time.
woa....that floor is way trippy. good job!
TSC3 years ago
I am so confused
maruawe3 years ago
Very nice I love wood floors A few years ago a friend of mine did pretty much the same thing but he did an Eagle in his den floor that appeared to be flying when entering the den. It is beautiful in full color just by using different woods....
congratulations on your floor
paganwonder3 years ago
Absolutely beautiful Art from scrounged material!! This project epitomizes what Instructables is all about. A tip of the holiday cup to you!
srhadaham3 years ago
looks great.
Is it at all disorienting to look down as you walk on this pattern?
1-40 of 42Next »