How to Install, Sand & Finish Engineered Floors, Part 3

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8 23 16 Inlay Routed Pieces

Back to that custom engineered job we've been discussing (see Part 1 and Part 2)...

After going back and forth with my client and Oshkosh considering different wood species, we finally had a decision made. My client asked to see a few (actually I think it was four or five) different design options before making a decision. I think Jennifer at Oshkosh got a little concerned at some point because I got an email from her explaining to us that the colors in the drawing were not 100 percent realistic and there would be some color variation in reality. I assured her that the medallion was a GO and my client just needed a little extra time to commit. Sure enough, he did, and we placed the order. I order my medallions (when I don’t make them) a 1/16” thinner than the actual floor. That leaves room for the adhesive. In this case, the floor was Owens Plank that was 5/8 inch thick, so I specified the medallion thickness to be 9/16 inch.

8 23 16 Inlay Routed PiecesThe medallion arrived on time, and after letting it acclimate for a few days, I installed it. I always get excited when it is time to bring my Bosch plunge router to the job site. We had installed the floor at the entrance using a center layout so the medallion would be right on a floor seam in the center. (Sure, Avi, I am positive you will not mess up the install…)

Here are the basic steps in medallion installation:

· Mark your medallion location and have your client approve it.

· Mark the medallion orientation (especially on north star compass-style medallions) and have your client approve it.

· Place the template with the right side up. Your template is tapered so if it’s upside down you will end up with a gap.

· Use a powerful plunge router from this decade (Lenny Hall!) and rout away.

· Once done routing, clean up the subfloor.

· Dry-fit your medallion.

But how do I get it out once it’s in? Good question. If you have knockouts in the medallion, attach screws to those areas and use a pry bar to lift the medallion. If you don’t have knockouts, use shrink-wrap strips under the medallion to lift it. Then…

· Apply the correct adhesive and drop the medallion in place.

· Put some weight on the medallion until the adhesive sets.

· Please go to NWFA schools and learn how to do this before you butcher a nice medallion.

· If you can’t handle pressure, stick to no medallion jobs. A simple mistake in this type of work and you’re in for a big fix and a lot of money out of pocket.

· Let the medallion acclimate in place before you sand and finish it.

8 23 16 Inlay Hole CleanedI finished installing the medallion in about an hour. It took so long because I had to clean up the adhesive off the slab and that took some serious elbow grease, even though it was a small area. I should not have been so nice to let my client hang out while I was doing it; somehow I ended up being off center by about 1/8 inch. Nobody cares but me, so I had to text Joe Rocco to vent a little. Joe was nice enough to say he didn’t notice it. Thanks, Joe!

My client now asked for custom-curved diamond shapes in the hallways. I had to make a jig to cut the positive blank and a negative jig (template) to install all the inlays. Oh, and he wanted a wenge stringing around each inlay. Could I do it?

Hell, yes!

Next time I will discuss how to make and remake (that's a long story) an inlay with a template.

Be cool.

8 23 16 Inlay Placed

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