3 Aug 2014

The Dinesen arrives!

The day arrived for the Dinesen Douglas delivery from Denmark.  The boards arrived on huge pallets, which would have taken hours to unload by hand.  Ali was quickly sent off to get a tele-lifter to get the crates out of the truck.

We unwrapped them straight off the truck.  So full of character.  Beautiful.

Within an hour and a half of arriving on site the floor was already being laid.  Andrew reported that it was the best floor that he had ever put down.  The planks were perfect and went down very quickly.

We had a four day hiatus before it was sanded in preparation for finishing. 

I had convinced Andrew that he and I would be able to do the finishing ourselves.  He would do the sanding and I would do the applying of products and polishing of the floor.  I had spent hours pouring over the Dinesen post installation booklet and watching the Dinesen videos.  First job was to apply the lye solution.  This lightens the planks and prevents the colour deepening over time.  Using the provided roller, I applied the lye solution and already we were in unknown territory as it didn't behave like in the video.  We were finishing the floor on a hot summer evening, and who knows what difference that made.  The lye was absorbed by the planks very quickly.  I was left wondering whether I should go over it all again...

In the morning we could see that the planks had been lightened by the lye.  The instructions said that we needed to lightly sand the planks before applying the oil.  We were really unsure how much to sand as there was a cloudy white layer on the top of the planks and we could either leave it mostly there or sand a bit more and let the grain come up.  It was our bad luck that the morning we were doing this the Dinesen office was closed for annual holiday (they had been brilliant about talking me through the process the previous week), so we had to just decide for ourselves.  We were applying a white oil next so we were worried that if we left too much pigment on the boards then the floor would be really white and the grain obscured.  

Then came the white oil application, saturating the floor with the oil twice in quick succession and then polishing the excess oil away.

No photos of this part of the job as it was extremely time pressured and busy.  Applying the fluids was simple but we quickly realised that I was not strong enough to operate the floor polishing machine- an enormous brute that had a mind of it's own.  With the oil on the floor it was like a skating rink and even Andrew struggled to control it.  But eventually he wrestled it into submission and I became a builders mate, constantly changing the floor cloths.  If you decide to do a similar thing my tip is buy a LOT of floor cloths.  I bought 50, thinking it would loads more than I would need and I'd be using them for the next 5 years.  I could have got 100. An hour or so later we were admiring the floor.  The grain was now being fully expressed and it was a gorgeously rich colour.  The oil seemed to have dissolved any lye pigment and had brought out the colour of the floor.  In retrospect we wondered whether we should have not sanded as much after the lye coat, but seeing as we have nothing to compare it too we're none the wiser!

After 48 hours we applied the second, single, coat of white oil and that has given the floor a subtly lightened effect.


I love it!  And I loved being involved with finishing it!  It feels like it's ours now and I know it's story.  Things have been incredibly stressful recently (it's money/mortgage related - I haven't been able to write about it as it's been too much like an open wound, there will be a post soon) so this process of getting closer to the final finishes and creating our family home has been so positive and energising.

It really is a beautiful floor!

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