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It Doesn’t Look Like The Wood Floor Sample in the Showroom


Anybody who’s purchased a wooden floor before will have a pretty good idea about what I’m about to bang on about. Now, it’s fair to say that some customers do have unreasonable expectations regarding wooden flooring, some have been badly advised, and some just need a gentle talking to about the good Lords work. I’m talking about trees. Wonderful unpredictable trees. And thank The Lord they are, otherwise we would all be living in a plastic cosmos only fit for accountants lawyers and bankers. Bland. Actually that’s a bit unfair as I know a handful of professionals who spend half their lives performing deep nostril exercises, whilst handcuffing each other to bed posts. 50 shades of Legal’s. They’re in their own little cosmos.

Smoked Oak
Smoked Oak

I don’t know how many wood floor samples we hand finish on a daily basis, but I can tell you that if we stain 3 pieces of oak in exactly the same way, we can get 3 different results. Why? Well, it’s complicated. But I bet if you’d asked Picasso to paint “The Kiss” 3 times you would have gotten 3 different results. In fact, if you went into your local greasy spoon and asked for their finest English brew, it would taste different every day. But it’s even more of a lottery with wood. First of all, once you get into hand finishing a product, you are reliant upon the human touch, which basically means if the finisher was slightly drunk the night before, or his girlfriend refused to have sex with him, well, he’s probably going to be a little ham fisted. But let’s get down to the real problem. It’s all about the wood.

There are hundreds of reasons why your finished floor might not look exactly like the sample, and chances are, you only saw a small sample before you purchased it in the first place. Here are just a couple of reasons you might be in for a surprise. First of all how old was the sample you saw as It may have oxidized and darkened since it was made. Was it stained using the same wood from the same region. American oak for instance will stain differently to a European oak. In fact even oak from the same country can vary on finishing depending on which region it came from. What grade did you see? Rustic will generally stain darker than prime, crown sawn will look different to quarter sawn. How was it finished? What type of oil or lacquer was used? What was the moisture content of the wood when it was stained etc etc. And where did you see the sample. Under which type of light. The list just goes on. Generally there will always be variation, and sometimes it can be quite dramatic, so always ask to see one or two pieces from the batch you are about to buy, rather than a sample that’s been in the showroom since 1980.

Turgon have been fortunate enough to have installed floors in some of the finest homes in the world, including the home of my favorite rock legend off all time. And yes, I confess, that when I saw his sitar just standing there proudly up against the bedroom wall, my immediate reaction was to pick it up, hold it, cry, and then play it. Then I remembered Id never played a sitar before and would probably make a horrible racket. Instead, I just did the air sitar for 5 minutes, and left quietly. We made many samples for the client taking great care to check the finish again when the new stock arrived, just in case we needed to adjust anything. The room was fitted with a beautiful slightly aged continuous Versailles pattern in quarter sawn English Oak.

No Norwegian wood in this fine home. What an honor.