finishing a new doug fir floor--need recommendations! - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 4 Old 09-18-2012, 02:46 PM Thread Starter
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Question finishing a new doug fir floor--need recommendations!

Hello to the Forum,
This is my first post. I'm a writer buiding a small studio in my back yard and am almost finished!! But, I'm held up trying to figure out how to finish the floor in the 120 square foot space. I've searched this site without finding the answers to my questions.

The building is timber frame and I'm leaving all the pine tongue-and-groove paneling and the rough-sawn fir timbers unfinished. I've painted the door and the window trim (pine) a soft green, like a seafoam color. I'm also putting in marbled-seafoam colored ceramic tile in the entrance to the cabin. The look is pretty rustic.

I've installed 6" wide Doug fir solid wood plank t&g floors--brand new wood, but this is "cabin grade" (cheap)--lots of knots and imperfections, but that is okay, I'm going for a barn or cabin look.

I want to stain the floor a green that works well with the tile and the woodwork. I thought I was all set with a tung oil stain custom mixed for me by the local sherwin williams, but unfortunately it is too transparent and the red of the doug fir shows through, and it clashes horribly with the green. (it is the right color--the manager mixed the pigment to account for the color of the wood.)

I'm told you can't make a tung oil stain more opaque, and so I'm left wondering how to get the effect and the finish I want and am starting over with my research. I'm not getting very far except to learn that Doug fir is notoriously difficult to stain.

Here's what I'm trying to achieve--a green-colored stain that hides the color of the wood itself, but shows the grain. I'd prefer to just do this in one step, but I'd be willing to put a finish on in one step.

I don't want to use a polyurethane finish. It's too "pristine" looking. I want something more worn, matte, and hand-rubbed looking, but that isn't a lot of work. I need low maintenance.

Would using a water-based aniline custom mixed dye for a stain work with a clear tung oil finish?

Another idea--would using a custom-mixed floor paint and rubbing it on and off as if it were stain work? What application method would be most successful? And then what kind of finish could I use with this?

I do not want to have to make multiple applications or renew the finish every year. This is a place to get my work done, and once I get the floor in, I have a deadline to meet and don't want to be fussing with the building any more.

Worst case scenario, I would simply paint the floor, but that requires a primer and two coats. Still hoping I can do this in one coat or less that will be ready for furniture in 48 hours or less.

Any ideas for me?

Oh, and I've thought about just keeping the plain Doug fir and oiling it without any stain, but there is already so much wood on the walls and ceiling, if I don't put color on the floor I'll feel like I'm inside a packing crate. Plus the darker green makes the room look bigger (it's 8' x 16').

Thanks for any suggestions you may have!!

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post #2 of 4 Old 09-18-2012, 04:11 PM
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Hi Alice,
I think the aniline dye would be a good way to go. I have used it before in a situation like yours. It soaks into the wood, colors it nice, while still showing the grain. It's easy to apply, just wear rubber gloves. It will take a week to wear off your fingers. You can put on more than one coat if you want to darken the color. It also goes on pretty evenly. As far as a finish, I tried tongue oil at first, it didn't hold up well at all. The customer had a dog whose nails scuffed the floor and besides that, it held the dirt more and was hard to clean. I gave it time to make sure it was really dry and used a water based polyurethane finish made for floors. You can get different sheens, I chose satin. It came out nice, not much shinyness. I have been back to the house several years after and the finish is holding up well. It was a minwax product and I applied it with a lambs wool applicater. Scuffed it between coats with a white scotchbrite pad. I think I put on 4 or 5 coats. It dries very quickly and was easy to do. For the aniline dye, I used transtint brand.
Mike Hawkins
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post #3 of 4 Old 09-18-2012, 05:16 PM Thread Starter
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thanks for your recommendations, mike. do you think a green aniline dye will hide the red of the doug fir? or will it just turn to mud color? (since green and red are complementary colors)

i'm also looking at milk paint, which you can put tung oil over.

i'm not willing to do 4 or 5 coats of anything. and i just don't like the look of poly, even when it's satin finish. are there any other options for me?

anyone else have a better experience with tung oil on floors?
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post #4 of 4 Old 09-18-2012, 08:12 PM
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in my opinion the only quick 1 day method is to sponge on some green floor enamel thats thinned down to give more of a transparent look, it will dry in 1 day and will look worn and scuffed in no time giving you the cabin rustic look you want. Anything else will take time. If it's too transparent give another coat once dry = 2 days total
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colored floor, doug fir, finishing problem, stain

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