Seen from the correct angle, this wood floor looks like an ocean on a windy day. It's an optical illusion created by the S-shaped planks Aaron Sheaves of Sheaves Flooring in Staunton, Va., bent in his basement.

It was his first time bending wood flooring (the experiment was installed in his son's bedroom), and he was unsure of the end result when he posted it to social media. But it caused waves online, too.

"People flipped out and shared it…" he says. "People's minds have been blown."

He started with 6-inch-wide maple and walnut boards between 12–16 feet long. He ripped each board into 3/16-inch-thick strips, ran the strips through a benchtop drum sander and glued them together along a snakelike plywood mold until they measured 3¾ inches wide. Then he clamped the form tight.

He made 40 such boards and glued them four or five at a time in the room. Each board stretched from wall to wall, about 11½ feet. Sheaves then sanded the floor, applied a water-based finish and admired his handiwork. It was his first attempt at bending wood, and he knew he had thrown himself into a sink-or-swim situation. Fortunately, in the end his head was above water.

"I realized I could finally do something that not many people can," he says. "And that was the biggest achievement."

Andrew Averill is the former associate editor at Wood Floor Business. A graduate of journalism at the University of Wisconsin, he had internships at newspapers across the country—San Francisco Chronicle, Christian Science Monitor, The Flint Journal—before a bad case of rug burn turned him into an advocate for floors of a harder disposition.