The two videos included on this page are a result of several personal tours where Uptown Floors hardwoods are made. Manufacturers differ on some procedures, particularly with grading of their own proprietary products much like ours.
Transcript - Video #1
Part I Log Mill
Our floors start from raw logs forested from western Pennsylvania and Ohio. On this day hickory was the hardwood of choice. These mills have always fascinated me with the power at which the logs are cut so easily.
After the logs are lined up for rip sawing, the next step is rip cutting into a manageable square shape then it travels down the line for finer tuning and turned into an inch and a quarter thickness
Here the logs are fed into a band sawing station that creates the one and a quarter inch coming out the other side. This process is continued until all logs are completely cut, and then runs through a rough planer where the one and a quarter inch stock is also rip sawn cut to approximate size widths.
Finally at the end of the line this hickory is sorted according to appearance and length. It’s also the very first grading step among several more once it’s air and kiln dried. Here about 5,000 square feet of assorted widths and lengths are ready for pickup and transported to the flooring mill
Part II Air & Kiln Drying
Delivery takes place of the same hickory cut from logs at the sawmill. After receiving it then goes through an open air drying process where thin multiple strips of hardwood are placed in between all planks which allows for air passage so the hardwood is dried consistently.
Open air drying is one of several important steps for any quality hardwood floor and can take anywhere from six months to a year before it’s ready to enter the drying kilns. The kiln is the final step in proper drying and can take three to four weeks depending on the hardwood species.
Even though our two short segments shows the hardwood is no longer living, it still needs slow and proper drying periods. Rushing into production and skipping these steps is not something you’ll find in a quality hardwood floor.
Part III Sizing & Grading
Once proper drying periods have taken place your hardwood gets a shave where it’s milled to 7/8 inch thickness. In this segment maple is being milled. This also allows another step in grading seen with what we call a line walker. His duties are to grade and inventory what’s being passed through the planer.
Down the line is the sizing station where each board is analyzed for what is called proper yield. Here you can see the operator finding the best ways to rip each board that passes. In this sequence a 3 ¼ and 4 ¼” board is cut from one wider plank and then comes out the other side of the rip sawing station.
Next all hardwood goes through a procedure that identifies excessive knots and other major blemishes that will not find it’s way into final production. Finally at the end of the line, all Maple is sorted according to grade and width and ready for the actual tongue and groove milling process.
Actually we’re not ready for that yet. At this point all hardwoods becomes a blank or what you see behind me. It’s not milled into tongue and groove yet. But, goes into the inventory of what’s available to mill.
Part IV Quality Milling
I’ve been to a lot of hardwood mills and what stands out to differentiate quality is the slower speed in which your flooring goes through the molding machines.
The first step in the molding involves creating a side tongue and groove at the same time. This also brings the thickness down to almost ¾ of an inch before a final sanding step. It’s then followed up with milling the end joint sides or what the industry calls side matching.
Part V The Finish Line
I’m not able to show much of the finishing process because it is proprietary. But it is the part I like the best. Just seeing what the finished product looks like after being, well, just a log a few days ago. It’s quite amazing.
The finish coats on your floor are a very durable solid UV ceramic green product seen coming through the last UV curing station in the final stages of a seven step process.
Packaging wise all of our boxes are 99 inches in length as some boards can exceed eight feet in length by an inch or two. Paper is placed in between finished layers to protect during transport.
This box is done, ready for strapping and headed to another Uptown Floors customer.
Packaging wise all of our boxes are 99 inches in length as some boards can exceed eight feet in length by an inch or two. paper is placed in between finished layers to protect from rubbing during transport.
Hey thanks for spending the time to watch how Uptown Floors are made. If there’s one thing to remember from the videos, website or me, trust your own instincts and choose what you feel most comfortable with.
For myself, it’s not about selling hardwood floors, but knowing I may have helped you sort through the noise when it comes to buying hardwood flooring,
Transcript - Video #2 Engineered
Before I get into the actual manufacturing seen behind me some are probably asking ….”why engineered floors?”
Think about stability. This process has been used for years in fine cabinetry and some furniture components. The benefits are a product that is not prone to the effects of adverse moisture changes.
There are a number of pages on the site that deal with moisture issues, but essentially engineered floors are far less prone to these examples.
Okay maybe you knew that already but some of us are newbies. Seriously though when considering any hardwood I urge you to check out the page link below.
Okay, on to how our engineered floors are made. One of the first steps is creating relief cuts on the back of the plywood core being used. The reason is to create some flexibility in the finished product. This is more important when doing direct glued downs to concrete and not so much with fastening to plywood sub floors. At this station it’s also cut lengthwise for a 6 ¼ wide product.
The plywood core has also been sanded on top and bottom to maintain proper stability and measures at about 9/16 of an inch thick. Next up, how the veneers are cut.
Veneers are cut with what’s called a frame saw, similar to that of a band saw but does a far better job. Here we use blanks mentioned in the full length how your floors are made video. It’s basically 7/8 thickness cut into three slices.
The actual milling into tongue and groove follows what you saw in the longer manufacturing video. That you can see with the link below.
Let’s talk about stability again. Shown is a comparison of our engineered and solid hardwood. Upon closer inspection the solid has less stability because it has more pores where moisture enters. This happens with higher humidity levels. Pores fill with moisture and have only one way to expand. Horizontally, resulting in cupped and or buckled floors.
The engineered has a cross layered plywood core providing tremendous strength to resist horizontal movement. It also has far fewer pores than the solid hardwood, resulting in a product that performs exceptionally well, especially with wider planks.
I hope you learned something about engineered floors. Today it’s longer one of those “well it’s not a real hardwood floor.” I felt the same way with some of the originals years ago, but after seeing failure after failure with solid hardwoods…it’s become a no-brainer especially with the attractiveness of thick veneer hardwoods.