WFB went through its archives and realized some of the amazing craftsmanship of past Floor of the Year winners belonged on the internet, and WFB Throwback was born. The following article originally appeared in the August/September 1993 issue of WFB (then called Hardwood Floors):
Honor Award, Residential Category: Kelowna's Hardwood Floor Master
Actually, Kelowna’s Hardwood Floor Master isn’t Kelowna’s anymore. Steve Chapman has sold the company and moved back to his hometown of Squamish, B.C., about an hour’s drive north of Vancouver. He’ll be doing business there under his own name.
“I got sick and tired of the hustle and bustle of the city,” Chapman says of Kelowna, population 100,000. “I’m practically going backwards in some people’s eyes. We started in Surrey, a suburb of Vancouver, moved from there to Kelowna and now to Squamish, which has about 12,000 people. But it’s virgin territory [the town has no hardwood flooring professionals], and besides Vancouver there are plenty of surrounding towns that I can get to.”
Chapman’s winning floor is an 8-foot-diameter medallion in a field of red oak. The inner portion of the medallion is a three-dimensional design made of Brazilian cherry, ash and red oak. Surrounding this are rings of 1⁄4-inch-wide brass, 1 1⁄4-inch-wide red oak and 3⁄4-inch-wide purpleheart — within which sit a triangle pattern of American cherry and red oak bordered by ash cross-pieces, split by a 1⁄2-inch-wide brass circle.
The rest of the 16-by-24-foot living room carries only one other design accent, a two-line purpleheart border with corner blocks.
Chapman says that in his six years in business, this is the most elaborate floor he’s ever done.
“I had done a fancy diamond-shaped inlay for one of my relatives, so I took the customers over there to show them the type of work I do,” Chapman says. “They fell in love with it and asked me what I thought about putting that same diamond in their home. I told them I didn’t think it would look good, but I asked whether they’d give me the liberty of drawing something up. They said sure, and I could tell that money wasn’t the object here — they just wanted something nice.”
The floor’s most difficult and challenging aspect was the circular work, particularly the triangles, which are all slightly curved to form the circle. His inclusion of the ash cross-pieces made his calculations even more complicated. Plus, the various laminated curved pieces required that he work on the floor in stages, fitting one curved section and then coming back the following day to move on around the 25-foot circumference of the medallion.
“That was a lot of work,” he says. “Actually, it was one of those jobs that I was able to work on in stages over eight or nine weeks, because the couple was always away. So even though it was the most difficult job I’ve ever done, I was able to just take my time until I was satisfied with it.”
Suppliers: Adhesive: Titebond | Abrasives: Norton Abrasives | Buffer: American Sanders | Nailer: Bostitch | Finish: DuraSeal | Sander: Lägler