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Wood Flooring Pro Impresses Customers With Cutting Board Gift

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Travis Fritzel cuts ahead of his local competition in Fort Collins, Colo., by surprising his customers with a cutting board. And not just any cutting board. The boards Fritzel, the 20-year-old owner of Perennial Hardwood, gives to his customers are made using the same species installed in their home, and sometimes even the leftover wood from their job. "It makes them happy they went with us even though we're usually the higher bid," he says. "They won't think, 'I bet I could have gone cheaper and gotten the same look.'" The payoff for Fritzel's reputation is huge, while the cutting boards take just minutes to complete, he says. He starts his cutting boards at the job site after he applies the first coat of finish. He'll take a few scraps, cut off the tongue-and-groove, glue and then clamp the pieces together. Then, after he applies the second coat of finish to the floor and the glue on the cutting board has cured, he'll square the edges and sand every side to 200 grit, including the bottom of the flooring, which he'll sand until the ridges on the hollow-back are less pronounced. He finishes the boards with a food-grade mineral oil. All told, he says the boards probably take him no more than 20 minutes of actual work, and that, especially if it feeds his customers' satisfaction with his work, is no time at all.

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