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Of all the steps involved in making flooring, endmatching the boards has been the hardest for us to achieve. It requires a very specialized machine and a high degree of precision. While ubiquitous with the big flooring producers, endmatching is not a requirement for narrow flooring under 5” in width. Because of the hurdles involved, I have gotten by without offering an endmatched floor. I stuck to only making narrow flooring, providing a very accurate square end trim, and working with highly-skilled installers who know their way around non-endmatched flooring. As a result, the quality of a Zena Floor was never compromised, but endmatching has been on my to-do list for over a decade. It adds a measure of convenience for the installer, it opens the door to wider flooring, and ensures an added level of stability for the floor.

I should take a moment to explain what endmatching is. Hardwood flooring usually has a tongue and groove running along the sides of the board, called a side-match. An end-match is a tongue and groove profile on the ends of the boards. This helps to hold everything flat and creates a fully interlocking floor. It sounds simple, but my quest to find a way to mill this in a production environment has been a long, arduous and expensive saga.

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After years of looking and learning about end-matching machines, I came to the conclusion that only one company ever built a machine that will fit our application. And… the company went out of business in 2003. This machine also has a computer in it. I like to work on all of the machines here myself, but PLC’s and the like are way over my head. So with no customer support and specialized electronics, I knew I was in for a challenge. Luckily there are a number of these machines on the used market, so in July of 2016, I took the plunge and purchased an Auburn Endmatcher from Minnesota. It was working when I received it, but in the time it took us to rebuild our flooring line in preparation for endmatching, something went haywire with the machine and it refused to cooperate.

Thankfully my friends at Wurdinger Manufacturing came to the rescue. I placed the machine in their capable hands, and slowly and methodically they went through the machine with a fine-tooth comb. After many attempts to resurrect the brains of this machine, we ended up installing a new computer and completely reprogramming the machine from the ground up. Finally, after lots of setup trial and error and an enormous number of hours spent with this machine, I have a working endmatcher.

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When we ran our first batch of flooring through this machine, the guys patiently put up with me as I ran back and forth looking over shoulders and inspecting the machine and flooring ends equipped with a square and caliper. Needless to say I had a smile plastered on my face all day. Our new machine cranked out tight, perfectly flat and square joints all day long.

Posted
AuthorBen Deumling

Or, why we love these wooden vents

For about a year now, we’ve been making wooden heat registers and cold air returns. On the face of it, this may seem an odd fit for a business that primarily makes flooring.

We think it’s a great combination, though. Matching heat registers to the flooring is a subtle way to make a hardwood floor look even better. The registers fade into the broad expanse of the floor, with no metallic grates to catch the eye.

We used to order these vents from Joanne Storch at Storch Woodworking. She has honed this design over the past 30 years. When she retired in 2017, she trained us to make them ourselves. Read more about that story on our register page.

Why we love these wooden vents:

  • Aesthetics: First of all, we just like the way they look. From the natural wood grain to the proportions of the insert to the frame, these vents are beautiful.

  • Generous airflow: There’s a tension between strength of the vent and the air it allows through it. Joanne designed these vents to maximize both.

  • No metal: Each vent is made of wood and glue - nothing else. So, if you need to trim a frame to get it closer to a wall, you won’t catch a staple with your saw. We use tried and true joinery to make sure the vent stays strong.

  • Local species: It can be hard to find wooden vents made with native Oregon hardwoods, like Oregon White Oak, Western Bigleaf Maple and Oregon Ash. Since we already produce this lumber, we can make registers out of these beautiful, local woods.

  • Smooth flooring: There’s nothing to catch your eye - or your toes. Our main product is a flush-mounted vent that sinks into the floor, so that the top of the vent is level with the floor. Look through the gallery to see how this works.

I could go on and on about these registers! But suffice to say that we’re very excited to be carrying on Joanne’s legacy of quality heat registers. If you just have to have some of these vents for your home, send us an email.

Posted
AuthorPaul Boers

We've been part of many impressive builds, but never one like this.

This home is FSC-certified from top to bottom. Usually, a number of key features carry the certification. This is the first time in the US that a single family home has been certified in its entirety.

Of course, a local, FSC-certified home needs local, FSC-certified flooring! That’s where we come in. All the floors and stair parts are FSC Oregon White Oak from Zena Forest Products.

We're thrilled and honored to be part of this significant achievement and to have our hardwood flooring in such a gorgeous space. Huge tip of the hat to our friends at Nathan Good Architects for designing it and JRA Green Building for building it.

Read more here.

Posted
AuthorPaul Boers