School Bus RV Conversion Chapter 7 - Nicholson Flooring
Last year we took a spontaneous vacation to the quaint town of Savannah, GA. While we there, we visited their train museum. While walking through the old round house, Joey noticed the flooring. It looked like brick, but it wasn’t. It was wood. Evidently, using wood vs. stone was common back in the 1800s to increase longevity of roads & it helped reduce dust from horse-drawn carriages. Joey researched the design, invented by a man with the last name Nicholson. He decided immediately we would be incorporating this into some of our furniture pieces. We ended up making a few end tables with this design and absolutely fell in love with them.
A few months later, after several libations, the idea of doing the bus floor in this design came up. ‘This boy is insane’ was my initial thought. How many laborious hours would we have to contribute to this project? But it would be unique….
Okay, fine. I gave in. We ended up using twenty-one, eight-foot long 2” x 4”s. All pieces were cut to approximately 1/2″ thick. Over 3000 cuts later we had enough “bricks” to create our floor. I have never seen so much sawdust in my life! Even with a mask, I felt like I was clearing that from my nasal cavity for weeks.
After the “bricks” were cut, we glued them down to the plywood sub-floor using liquid nails and glued them to each other using standard wood glue.
When the original cuts were made on the saw, the backstop shifted occasionally, creating different sized pieces. Unfortunately, we didn’t notice this until we were mounting the bricks. They were uneven thicknesses, creating a cobblestone effect. Normally this wouldn’t bother us, but seeing as we were creating a floor, we knew it would be uncomfortable for bare feet. The resolution? Sanding, Lots and lots of sanding. Accumulatively, the sanding process took us about 12 hours over 3 nights.
Initially we used a rough abrasive sand paper and then finished off with a fine grit. It was downright beautiful. I was stunned how the end grain popped post sanding.
On night three of sanding, I was anxious to apply the stain so Joey took the air hose and cleaned as much dust off the floor as possible. Once this was complete, I applied the mahogany stain. I didn’t think the floor could get any better, but it did. The pine soaked the stain up like a sponge. I didn’t bother me though, less wiping afterwards.
We let the stain dry for the recommend 24 hours and them was time to add the finishing touches. We chose matte oil-based polyurethane for the top coat. Four coats later, we were happy to call the floor complete! Even Oscar loved it.