Varnishing the floor

Chris applied three coats of Railroad Varnish from Liberty Paint Corp in Hudson, NY. Susan looked up the CAS numbers listed on the label, not entirely trusting the “environmentally friendly” and “VOC compliant” claims. The top five ingredients are the same as Waterlox — solvents, Tung Oil, gum and resin. Tung Oil is considered a green finish and a favorite of environmentalists, websites say. And, yes, the VOC level is within New York State limits.

After leaving the windows open during the coldest week of winter, Chris decided to crank up the HRV for some serious ventilation. The fumes have dissipated and the children are testing how fast they can slide across the floor in their socks.

Wormy maple flooring

Dynamic lines in this maple are thanks to the Ambrosia Beetle, which bores tiny tunnels that cause grey streaks. Overall, the colors will deepen when we apply tung oil. Credit for introducing us to this gorgeous flooring goes to Mark Reamer, craftsman extraordinaire. Pictured above is his brother, Dale, who contributed tremendously to the success of the installation. The wood was harvested within 50 miles of our house and purchased from Ghent Wood Products. Hauling the heavy load home proved too much for Chris’s trailer, which ended up being repaired at Columbia Tractor.

Climbing the new stairs

If felt great to see Nicholas run up and down these stairs. We are one step — or 15 steps — closer to home. Nick did the math and installed the stringers and Chris pounded on the temporary treads. We’ll probably paint this staircase, which goes down to the lower level. It is long because the ‘basement’ ceiling is more than 9 feet high.