A Beautiful Floor from Wood Scraps
Achieving the intricate geometry of a parquet floor doesn't require much more than a tablesaw, kraft paper, and wallpaper paste.
Synopsis: Parquet tiles create some of the most beautiful wood floors in the world. Wood-flooring expert Charles Peterson outlines his technique for building parquet-flooring tiles and then putting them in place.
You could say I have a passion for parquet floors. They are one of my specialties as a wood-flooring contractor, and I also teach courses in parquet floor installation. As president of the International Parquetry Historical Society (www.parquetry.org), I’ve been able to walk on some of the most elaborate parquet floors in the world.
Parquet flooring is a mosaic of wood pieces usually arranged in repeating squares. The geometric variations within this square or rectangular format are just about limitless. Although you can purchase manufactured parquet squares, almost any parquet-floor pattern can be made from small pieces of scrap wood that otherwise might be thrown away. Because I am a flooring contractor, I have a readily available supply of flooring scraps, but any clear, kiln-dried lumber can be resawn to create an outstanding parquet pattern.
Resaw the lumber, and make a template
When you see the finished appearance of a parquet floor that has been cut, assembled, and installed one piece at a time, it’s hard to believe how basic and efficient the process can be. But it is. Using a ripping blade on a tablesaw, I resaw scrap pieces of ¾-in.-thick strip flooring (walnut here) to create 5⁄16-in.-thick parquet stock. This material then can be ripped to finished width. At this point, I cull any pieces with knots, splits, or other imperfections. To make precise square or miter cuts in the parquet pieces, I use a crosscut sled on a tablesaw.
Any parquet-flooring project starts with the pattern. Once I’ve decided on a design and made a full-scale drawing, I cut all…