Something About Those Floors

I’ve had so many questions about our New Old Wormy Chestnut Floors. So here goes!

By the way. NO, our kitchen is NOT finished. Didn’t we begin the process like a million years ago?! Here’s a photo that pretty much sums it up….

P1160395

Uh-huh, that’s right. We’re chain-sawing part of the cabinets. Brutal. You’ve heard of Murphy’s Law?

BUT. But. But!

Our floors are down and look simply GO-JUS!

Since I am honored to live in a farmhouse that was built in 1892, and

P1160448

Since I am building a new kitchen in that old house (whew! as I previously mentioned), and

Since I am a lover of VINTAGE and PRECIOUS things,

P1160445

I knew I wanted floors that not only LOOKED antique and banged up, but WERE antique and banged up.

I lucked into some very special wood for the floors. Wormy Chestnut.

Here is one of Bill’s barns, stacked full of old wormy chestnut wood.

P1150505

He spent years collecting this precious obsolete wood from torn-down barns, houses and other buildings. He has several barns full of wormy chestnut.

P1150507

Bill and my husband are picking out “good” pieces of wood for the floor. I liked the ones best that had lots of holes and a variety of color. Aged! Marked! Full of character! That’s what I was after.

Now, this is WORMY chestnut wood, created by nature when a blight took down most of the chestnut trees in the East and then bugs invaded them and made wormy marks in the wood. Because this wood was considered inferior way back when, most of it wound up being used for out buildings. Or if used inside a home, the wood was covered up. Who wanted to see a bunch of worm holes?

Bill also had some very beautiful antique chestnut wood, harvested BEFORE the blight and bugs. Not only was that wood WAY out of my budget, but it was not at all what I wanted. It was lovely and pristine. I wanted lovely and NOT pristine.

P1150511

We laid the boards out on the ground outside the barn.

(By the way, the leaves you see to the left is of a chestnut tree that Bill planted beside his barn years ago.)

We loaded the wood into the back of my beautiful Teal truck, The Teal Mobile.

P1150536

I tied it down with ONE rope (was probably pieced-together hay strings; I don’t remember for sure, but that sounds about right!) and headed out to take the wood to be “dressed.”

“Dressed” is the process where the wood is put through a planer and planed. Uneven edges are made even. The outside, weathered exterior of the wood is removed to reveal the beautiful inside. We also wanted the boards to be “tongue and grooved” so we could have a tight floor, with no or little space between the boards when installed.

And so, there I go. I head over and around and up and down the mountains to an area I’ve never been before.

Oh my.

I wound up on a mountain road that is so windy, so twisty, so curvy that it is known as “The Snake.” Unbeknownst to me at the time.  “The Snake” is a crazy road that is so crazy and windy that motorcycle riders come from all over the country to ride “the snake.” Huh! Did I say “unbeknownst to me” yet? Well, there I am. In that BIG LONG Teal truck, hauling wood tied with one hay string doing “The Snake.” Yup.

The truth is that if some certain people, who shall remain forever nameless, were with me that day, I would have needed barf bags in The Teal Mobile.

Well, once I got on that road, my load of wormy chestnut wood repeatedly shifted and moved. I stopped many times right in the middle of the narrow two-lane curvy road to re-position my load. (There were very few places to pull off, so I just had to stop in the road. I’d hurry and wave and smile to anybody who came up behind me and had to wait until I got the wood pushed back up.) Funny thing is that I snapped this photo with my phone before I had any idea whatsoever what I was getting into. After this first curve, I didn’t take my hands off the wheel for any reason whatsoever, much less to snap a photo!

P1150537

If I had known I’d be on “The Snake” I would have tied the wood down better and weighted it with something on top! I would have also asked my husband to come with me too. As it was, it was just me and Blue on “The Snake” with a truckload of shifting wormy chestnut wood. I thought about my Dad and a story he always told about some fellows losing a donated piano off the back of a truck in the town square.

But. An hour and a half later, I finally arrived at the saw-miller’s workshop. Safe and sound.

 

P1150538

(love these doors!)

P1150539

I left the precious wormy chestnut boards there and came back to pick it back up about a week later.

P1150540

This time I DID take my husband and plenty of rope. Luckily, I had talked to my Dad about the situation, and he helped me figure out how to secure the now finished and much slicker wood so I wouldn’t LOSE MY LOAD on “The Snake.” He advised me so well that we didn’t even have to stop to push the wood back in the truck like I did when I took it.P1150544

P1150547

 

And one weekend when I had gone home to Georgia, my husband put the floors down.

P1150565

With a couple of coats of poly:

P1150578

The character, the charm, the quaintness.

Oh, I just LOVE this wood.

P1150566

Until next time, Friends, savor the flavor of life~!

Lots of love, The City Farmgirl (moved to the country and fell in love with old floors), Rebekah

Leave a comment 18 Comments

  1. Rebekah, I think I am absolutely GREEN with envy on those floors. OH. MY. WORD. Honestly, I can’t think of anything more beautiful. And that picture of your amazing old farmhouse is just incredible. I think I’m ready to come visit now! :-) – Dori, the Ranch Farmgirl –

  2. paula sullivan says:

    I love your old wormy floors! What a neat idea. Your home is coming right along.

  3. Elaine C says:

    The floors are beautiful! I love wormy chestnut as well, and have a handful-made bowl from it. Cooler weather in N GA the past couple of days. A great improvement over the hot weather all summer. Can’t wait to see the completed kitchen!

  4. deb says:

    Fantastic!

  5. Joan says:

    X – QUE – SET!!!!! and if it looking greener west of you – that happens to be me!!!
    Thanks for sharing.

  6. Pam DeMarrais says:

    Rebekah, the floor is gorgeous! (Or like you said.) You will always have a great story to share with folks who come to see your new kitchen! Sounds like we may hear a sequel with your cabinet installation. Hope that it goes smoothly!
    As always, I smile and chuckle when I read your post.

  7. Denise says:

    Love your floors. I love all the character that comes with old and vintage things, and the stories that go with them. Loved your post :/)

  8. Melanie Hornbuckle says:

    I am extremely jealous. They are beautiful. I am living my small farm dream life through all of you. I am too old and my husband is too “citified” so, you go, girl and I will so enjoy the beauty of your hard work.

  9. BEEOOOTIFUL! Love those floors, and what a way to give life back to that wormy chestnut tree.

  10. Robin says:

    Not one to use gushy words, but, OMG! I am sawoooooning over those pics of your new wormy chestnut floors….*sigh*……ENJOY!

  11. RhondaLane says:

    The flooring is AWESOME!!!! If I had the resources that you have there, I would have done the exact same thing. I like things that are NOT like everyone elses!

  12. Deb says:

    Oh, I am even more ” green ” with envy than Dori! Love the story, the up-cycling and the beauty of your new floors will shine through for years to come as you make new family memories in your old/new farm kitchen! Now, truth be told, I cannot be tooooo envious… We are on the tail end of installing our new bamboo flooring in our modern farmhouse kitchen! I’m loving them too! but oh, yours are sooooooooooo dreamy! Lucky you! Wormy Chestnut …. sigh….

  13. Carol in NC says:

    Let’s just say I’m really late catching up on my blog reading. But, the wood is gorgeous! When my parents built a house in the late 70s they used “blue cottonwood” planks from the Mississippi river for paneling in the den and for cabinetry in the kitchen. Huge cottonwood trees would fall into the river and stay submerged for as long as 100 years, eventually floating to the surface, then retrieved to be sawn into lumber. The color wasn’t so much blue, but a warm grey. Well, kind of bluish I guess. I remember the old sawmill man, probably haven’t thought about him since the 70s! I remember him bragging to my dad that he only picked out the best wood from his ‘special, largest, bluest tree’, lol.

  14. Becka says:

    Ok, just check to your blog after reading the article in here’s the thing in the magazine. But what you don’t give is the cornbread recipe! Is that available? Thanks, Becka

  15. Cindy says:

    Hi Rebekah! I’m getting caught up on your blog and I just read this about the floors. I have to tell you we have a woods that is full of ash trees. And those ash trees are being destroyed by the emerald ash borer. I talked to a local lumber company and in the spring we’re going to take those ash trees, cut them down, and take them to this lumber company to be planed for wooden floors for our house!I think it is going to be beautiful!
    I love your kitchen floor! And yes I can believe the kitchen isn’t finished yet. I am going on my third winter in one room in the basement. One snow away from going cray-cray!

    Cindy Bee

  16. susana says:

    Love wooden floors, but when you live do close water, the dampness kills it. Your all the time changing it because it gets warped and buckles. But I love wood especially pine , walnut and cherry wood..,grateful flooring….never thought wormy word be good for anything except barns. You did a great job!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>