This is an 18th century floor circa 1760 (we think) located in the main house on the Belmont Estate in North Somerset. As you can see, it had not been treated particularly well. At some point, this awful black hard wax and varnish had been applied to the boards, hiding the timber underneath...
These boards have been stripped by hand to retain the character of the wood, which is beautiful pine. It's painstaking and hard work, but I think the results speak for themselves. In the second picture you can see a small fraction of the horrible sludge I've taken off the boards.
At last! the floor is stripped and ready for stain.
Now it was time to put some life back into the floor. Originally the floor would have been stained with either rusty nails and vinegar (which would have given a grey effect), painted with lead paint, or stained with tobacco and ammonia, giving this kind of colour. Given the estates location (close to Bristol), the clients and myself thought the latter was more appropriate.
In this picture you see new boards, as some of the original had been damaged irreparably. To match these with the old I used a series of tricks to antiquate the boards, including using French polish mixed with various different colours to tie them in with the original Georgian floor boards.
Although from the opposite side, these are the same set of new boards. They have been stained with water stains, and then toned down with spirit colours mixed into the shellac.
AS seen in the picture, I had to do the floor in stages to accommodate the Bechstein grand piano! This is after being stained, new boards matched in and sealed with shellac.
Now applying the finish by hand, wax applied with wire wool and hand buffed with rag.
Close up of the finished floor. Here you can see the beautiful grain and patterns that were retained by hand stripping and not sanding.
Furniture back in, and looking like it should. A beautiful antique, pine, Georgian listed floor. Now, onto the dining room!!