While Tom and the guys have been very busy working on the kitchen these last couple of weeks, we didn’t have a whole lot of visible progress. The floor for the kitchen part of the building is of smooth concrete, but Tom wants the dining room part to be a little fancier. Adix, the mother of Hugo, the Guatemalan driver/guide we use for Tikal trips, has a restaurant in Guatemala with a floor that Tom really likes – log cuts laid into the concrete. Tom talked to Hugo about how they did it, and talked to some of the guys around here who have worked with concrete, and came up with a plan to get the floor he wants.
First, he went to Linda Vista lumberyard and ordered slabs cut from a hardwood tree. After lots of calculations on the part of the lumberyard manager, Tom, and a sample floor laid out near the mill by Hector, the man running the chainsaw, Tom ended up with 134 slabs.
Then the tedious task of sanding and linseed oiling each slab started, which is what has taken most of the past week and a half – and it would have taken even longer without some help from Julio and Ian over the weekend.
Finally, just yesterday, the work started on the floor. Tom said it’s a lot like tiling with slate, which he did in our house in New York. They put down a thin layer of concrete, then lay each cut into the concrete, and work on getting it completely level with the floor and the other cuts around it. Fortunately Tom has more patience than most people, and after a few very slow and frustrating cuts were level, he said it got a little easier.
They finished a little over half the floor yesterday, and had most of the other half done before lunch today, but discovered that a few more cuts needed to be sanded and oiled. The total number used on the floor will be 126, so Tom, Scott, and Hector were very close in their original calculations. Tom is planning to make some rustic night stands with the leftovers.
While Tom was sanding the remaining cuts, Julio started filling in the concrete between the cuts to make the level floor. He said it’s not as difficult as it would seem, mostly because he’s able to stand on cuts that are already in hardened concrete, so he can work from a comfortable position. With any luck, we’ll have the floor finished before the weekend!