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Best way to finish end grain birch

Posted by downtowner (My Page) on
Sat, Mar 15, 08 at 12:14

My end grain birch floor has just been installed in my sunny, south-facing study.

We want to finish it more or less naturally. However, the way it looks now is too bland. We want to bring out the natural grain of the wood by increasing contrast. We would not mind warming it a little bit.

What is the very best way to finish it to bring out, maybe enhance, the natural grain and color of the wood?

Not surprisingly, the processing the camera does automatically makes the pictures seem closer to the look we want than the floor itself is in its current unfinished state.

Thanks in advance for your help.


ps. I originally posted this in the flooring forum, but got no response.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Best way to finish end grain birch

Does it get drum-sanded?
Seems like you need a solution to the joints, like some kind of wood grout.
On the very first This Old House series in 1978, the put an end-grain wood floor in the project's kitchen. The installer "grouted" it with a mixture of sawdust and sanding sealer worked in with a float or squeegee. Then they took off the excess with burlap.
I can't recall what they did next; I would let the sealer dry, then screen the floor and apply an oil polyurethane. The finish would need to be compatible with the sealer/grout. If you could use a water base sealer, that would keep the floor as light as possible; an oil sealer will let it go more amber.
If you don't mind the joints as they are, and you want it warm-hued, I'd recommend Waterlox finish.

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