Hand Scraped Hickory
Often selected for its attractive appearance of tan to reddish heartwood and white or cream-colored sapwood, hickory is a dense hardwood that poses a handful of difficulties in installation. With a Janka scale rating of 1820, hickory is one of the more durable domestic hardwood species and is characterized by closed, somewhat-defined grain. Both of these features make hickory difficult to sand, machine, and stain.
If you decide to choose unfinished hickory flooring for your home, the surface of the hardwood will need to be smoothed out with a belt sander. To stain it, however, the hardwood's grain can either be sealed off with wood conditioner or be opened through water popping. Both methods prevent blotching when a stain is added.
A third option for adding hickory is opting for hand-scraped flooring. Characterized by a distressed appearance, hand-scraped hickory gives a space a rustic and aged character and, in terms of finishing, hides blotches and other imperfections better. At the same time, for both unfinished and prefinished hand-scraped hickory flooring, several methods of distressing the hardwood are used. If you are considering this option for adding hickory to your home, the wood is distressed through one of the following approaches.
Time Worn Aged or Antique is used to give hand-scraped hickory an older, aged appearance. While the wood is aged, its appearance is further accented through darker staining, highlighting the grain, or contouring. Antique hand-scraped hickory has a similar appearance – only a lower grade of hardwood is used.
Hickory may be altered physically to have a hand-scraped appearance. The wood may be Wire Brushed, which accents the grain and removes the sapwood; Hand Sculpted, which creates a smoother distressed look; or Hand Hewn and Rough Sawn, the roughest hand-scraped surface, complete with even saw marks.
Hand-scraped hickory flooring may also be French Bleed or Pegged. For the former, the hardwood has deeper beveled edges, and the joints are emphasized with darker stained. Pegged hand-scraped hickory, on the other hand, is purely decorative and, unlike the other types, should not be installed onto a subfloor.
Although hand-scraped hickory flooring can be purchased unfinished or prefinished from several manufacturers, the hardwood can also be custom distressed. While, in general, hand-scraped hickory is physically altered so that no two boards are similar, Custom Unfinished breaks up any possible repetitiveness or uniformity on the floor. To do this, standard unfinished hickory flooring must be installed first, and then a professional comes in and distresses it through beating with chains, pickeling, bleaching, or fastening with antique nails. After all custom distressing is complete, a finish is applied.
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