by Emmi Micallef October 20, 2020
Historic Georgian English Home + Olde Oak Collection in Color Way: Dorset
The Olde Oak Series from our Kings of France 18th Century French Oak Flooring Collection are for those who cherish rustic elegance, superb wood craftsmanship and incredible authenticity. Our latest French oak wood flooring collection at Historic Decorative Materials not only resembles, but perhaps surpasses reclaimed French oak floors.
People often believe they want an authentic reclaimed French oak floor. These wood floors hold the power of stories from those who have lived and walked upon them, as well as having developed their prized surface patina. This patina is relished for textures that are satiny smooth, a translucency to appreciate the French oak noble grain, and colors that are warm neutrals in oak and brown tones. There is also a dream vision of these reclaimed French oak floors, salvaged from a dilapidated but once charming farmhouse in Provence, to have a grandeur of only wide plank widths. The perfect French reclaimed wood floor.
The reality is that if one were to receive this reclaimed French oak floor - consider themselves lucky. Reclaimed French oak floors, as glorious as they sound, are far from this perfect vison and come with several headaches and bumps in the road. First, finding that one salvaged lot of a specific square footage in all wide plank is rare and difficult. French reclaimed oak floors usually have to be sourced from a multitude of structures. Sourcing from these various outbuildings, farmhouses and mas would mean piecing together different widths and lengths of planks and then re-milling them for a solid installation.
Second, working through the lots would mean encountering each plank with a variety of conditions. There could be paint left on some surfaces (at times even lead paint), rot on others and cutting out bad portions of planks would leave aesthetically shorter planks. Furthermore, the planks would need to be cleaned, and nails protruding from their surface, would need to be removed. When salvaging a reclaimed French oak floor, the tongue and groove edges usually are destroyed and thus will have to be remilled and realigned. This means aesthetically more inconsistent and narrow plank widths. A qualified installer will be needed to for this type of installation and many times there will be lippage - when one plank will ultimately be higher than another. This can cause a floor to be difficult to clean, maintain and walk on.
Historic Georgian English Home + Olde Oak Collection in Color Way: Derbyshire
There are many who simply don't want to be involved working with reclaimed wood flooring for all these reasons. Therefore, many wood flooring manufacturers choose to use newly milled French oak or other varieties of hardwood and try and recreate a French reclaimed oak floor. Hence, the majority of pre-finished wood flooring on the market today comprises of manufacturing wood floors using either colored oils or reactive stains. The results are mediocre at best, but it's a quick solution to feed the hungry masses who want those "French reclaimed looking" wood floors. The problem is that the tannin in the oak planks vary from tree to tree and may react badly with these products. The results are wood floors that appear false with undertones of blue, green and green yellow to purple and pink. These colors also sit on top of the wood's surface instead of penetrating deeply within the grain. Many times, these applications over enhance the oak grain and the planks will have a striated appearance. There can also be a hazy opaque look to the floors, almost like a laminate film on their surface.
Thankfully, The Olde Oak Collection is the other option, and by far the best one, for those who are wanting a reclaimed looking French oak floor. With incredible color choices, widths that can be procured up to 12" wide and 118" long and a matte satin patina proudly revealing noble French oak grains and knots - The Olde Oak Collection is spectacular.
Historic Georgian English Home + Olde Oak Collection in Color Way: Nottinghamshire
There are two reasons as to why this particular French oak wood floor achieves an appearance of a reclaimed French oak wood floor - incredibly surpassing the competition. The first is that the planks used for these wood floors are not reclaimed, but are still incredibly old. Within managed French and European forests, fallen oak trees are collected along the forest floor. These felled trees, around 150-200 years old, had continued to age through time, weather, insects and forest life. The beautiful oak trunks are then milled and planed, revealing incredible knots, veining and worm holes. This is the canvas upon which the process begins to create the Kings of France Olde Oak Collection.
The second reason - as equal as importance to the first - is the aging technique of these old growth French oak planks. This aging technique has nothing to do with reactive stains or colored oils. It's a combination of highly skilled workmanship and science called the oxidation method. A 7-10 step technical process with drying times in-between, this work ages the oak from the inside out. The oxidation method works deeply within the tannin of the oak planks and actually changes the composition of the wood. Each plank is then hand-finished with breathtaking results.
Each plank is finished by hand. Because the color is achieved through the oxidation process working with the natural tannin of the oak, each floor will be unique with it's own identity and authentic character.
Historic English Country Home + Olde Oak Collection in Color Way: Cornwall
Comparing an authentic French reclaimed oak floor to the Olde Oak series - one sees their similarities. Both being old wood, they share textures of knots, color variations, veining, surface cracks and worm holes. Their colors are matte and clear - their grains are not too pronounced, but not covered up either with an opaque film.
There is no doubt that these wood floors are for those who appreciate old wood. If one chooses this collection, there are two distinct benefits than going with reclaimed French oak floors. First, one can be assured of a specific quantity, consistent in size, thickness and width. As well, a pre-finished wood floor means that an old world aesthetic is seen as soon as the planks are installed.
Historic English Country Home + Olde Oak Collection in Color Way: Sussex
The beauty of old English manors and cottages radiate with these wood floors. However, there are so many interior design styles that would accept these type of wood floors. The Shaker style interiors - one of superb craftsmanship and utility would be a perfect fit for the Olde Oak Collection. Another aesthetic would be a farmhouse interior - whether that be a Belgian style farmhouse or classic Americana - this reclaimed look-a-like French oak floor would be outstanding. Of course, it goes without saying - the Olde Oak Collection would greatly enhance the Post and Beam and Ranch interior and finally, I want to add Minimalism. The Minimalist interior values reclaimed materials that are not perfect in texture or color - taking from the Japanese Wabi Sabi aesthetic that imperfection is perfection.
Classic Wabi Sabi - The Olde Oak Collection has a weathered and distressed surface, rounded edges, saw marks, open cracks and knots unfilled. Due to old oak growth, expect a weathered and distressed surface texture with open cracks. Some of the open cracks can be covered with hand-forged iron plates.
Thank you for your time,Emmi Micallef, Co-Founder
Historic Decorative Materials, a Division of Pavé Tile, Wood & Stone, Inc.
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