Notes from the workday. #8: Hickory travertine entryway

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Blog entry by vicrider posted 12-11-2010 09:48 PM 5240 reads 1 time favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 7: July 23rd, 2nd half, Desk Assembly Part 8 of Notes from the workday. series Part 9: Refrigerator space Rolling Pantry »


I’ve been absent from LJ’s for quite a while helping friends and relative’s around the state do remodel work on their homes. I thought I would share a couple things we worked on.

First up is an entryway of 1X4 hickory flooring inlaid with 18” travertine tile. The space is 6’x10’ and the Mrs. wanted the pattern to be set on the bias. Neither my pal Ken nor I had ever done a mixed media floor like this so it took us nearly a day to just plan how we were going to fit 4” x 3/4” hickory with 1/2” thick travertine. Travertine tile is very brittle and needs to be very well supported by the thinset mortar. Then we planned the layout against the front wall, an existing angled threshold to a cherry floor in the front room, a bi-fold coat closet and the new flooring in the hallway, family room, dining room. Here are a couple pics. Each piece of hickory is tongue and groove jointed on sides and ends.

We went with 1/16” grout lines so everything was a very tight fit. This design element turned out great but added lots of labor in fitting and laying each tile.
We also laid a 30” hickory floor around the family and dining room and down the hallway.

Then travertine inside that…. about 250 square feet….the Mrs. sorted and hand selected each tile for color and pattern.

Needless to say, the old guys spent way too many hours on hands and knees. The entire flooring project took two us weeks, but this was a beautiful upgrade from linoleum and carpet.

Next blog will be on the Pantry cabinet built into the space left when the refrigerator was moved across the kitchen.

-- vicrider

7 comments so far

View poppatom's profile


116 posts in 4390 days

#1 posted 12-12-2010 01:39 PM

Excellent Vicrider!! The workmanship from your coffee tables has spilled onto the floor! I stand in aw of your craftsmanship! Thanks for sharing.

-- Tom L. Williams ~ The difference between a man and a boy is the price of his toys.

View vicrider's profile


191 posts in 4360 days

#2 posted 12-15-2010 09:01 PM

Thanks, Poppatom!!

I always appreciate your appreciation ;-) !!!

-- vicrider

View superstretch's profile


1532 posts in 4155 days

#3 posted 01-11-2011 05:05 PM

Been watching from the sidelines for over a month until new registrations opened and I bookmarked this just so I can say how awesome this is. I have this gross, white tile through the main hallway in my house, front-to-back, and seeing how well you brought this tile and the wood together made my jaw drop and my wife jealous. Great job!

-- Dan, Rochester, NY

View vicrider's profile


191 posts in 4360 days

#4 posted 01-13-2011 06:00 AM

Thanks Dan,

This was a fun but laborious project.

We used several plywood templates to ensure the tile areas between the hickory 1×4’s were exactly the right size. Lots of extra work but the end result is remarkable. I’m not patting myself on the back too much ‘cause the idea was from my friend’s wife. We just worked out the details of installation.

There was also lots of painstaking work due to matching 11 (yeah, eleven!) thresholds; some with carpet, some tile, and some hardwood, none of which were the exact same height.

If you decide to do something like this I would be happy to share more details with you.

-- vicrider

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4275 posts in 4626 days

#5 posted 06-03-2011 01:55 AM

I like this, and so would my wife, Sherie.

Thanks for stopping by on my profound pencil review…......(-:

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View travertine's profile


1 post in 3724 days

#6 posted 03-16-2012 05:41 PM

wow, very nice and creative, are you willing to do this for people in your area?

I’m planning to get some travertine tile at Stone-Mart, but where did you get the wood flooring at?

View vicrider's profile


191 posts in 4360 days

#7 posted 03-16-2012 07:43 PM

Hi Travertine,

I am sorry but I am now too heavily employed (and old) to do another job like this. I did this (gratis) for a friend over a two week vacation. He had traded for 3 pallets of the travertine and had purchased the hickory flooring from a flooring store. The materials had been sitting in his garage for two years. He and his wife have been my personal friends for over 40 years, and she called in some large favors to get this done. This was a tremendous amount of work for two old guys (lots and lots of hands and knees work). Plan on working out a lot of layout details before you start. We ended up with 1 6 foot and 1 4 foot piece of hickory flooring left over (and no where to buy more that matched); that’s cutting it a little too close. No waste more than a foot long.

We did have two table saws set up to do the tongue and groove ends, another saw set up to do the ripping, a chop saw for cutting to length, and a tile saw to cut the travertine. We had mortar mixers, lots of shims, a flooring nailer, air compressor, floor scrapers, trowels, rubber mallets, tile spacers (1/16”), and lots of other tools. We were VERY proud of the detail and fit on the entryway, at the thresholds, around the heat vents, in the dining room and in the kitchen. On my next vacation we did the roll out cabinets that you can see on another of my blog entries. My pal Ken is the old guy doing all the sanding.

I haven’t been on the LJ’s site lately since I have been concentrating on working my day job (10 to 12 hours/day) to pay off debt and get ready for retirement. Should be ready in about 18 months. Maybe then I can get back to my true love, crafting in wood. Unfortunately, I was never able to make a very good living at the artistry and craftsmanship in wood that I feel is so much more rewarding than what I do for an adequate income. We have 5 children, now all grown up, who all had the nasty habits of wanting to eat and wear clothes.

I am fortunate in that I have been able to gather a complete set of high quality woodworking tools (hand and power) over the years and my plan is to touch them everyday after I retire. I have also been honing more of my hand tool skills so that the electric bill will stay within reach. I still have many projects in my head that are waiting for me to have enough time to create them.

If you decide to tackle a project of this size, take your time, plan thoroughly, and don’t get discouraged. It also helps if you can tolerate lots of take-out food while the kitchen is disrupted.

The best part is that anyone who enters the house for the first time remarks positively on the entryway and flooring. We haven’t seen an installation like it before or since. It’s a great feeling of accomplishment.

sorry to be so long winded but this is my first day off for a while and I am having fun revisiting the site and looking at all the great projects that continue to be shared here. I am envious of all the skill and talent displayed on these pages, and grateful for everyone’s participation.

Have a great and productive day.


-- vicrider

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