Shapely Natural Wood Floors by Bolefloor

A Dutch company, Bolefloor, has developed a new method of producing floors from pieces of wood stock that allow for the natural shape of wood to be used. The company uses wood scanners, computer-aided technology, and optimization algorithms to maximize wood cuts to create a unique floor with curving joints between boards for a floor like none other on the market.

Bolefloors are manufactured by using “wood scanning systems, tailor-made CAD/CAM developments and innovative optimization algorithms for placement software developed by a Finnish engineering automation company and three software companies in cooperation with the Institute of Cybernetics at Tallinn University of Technology.

The company claims more efficient use of wood from this process, but saving a little bit of sawdust isn’t the most interesting part. Wood floors can be made more cheaply by mass producing them, and the sawdust saved is relatively insignificant.  But by using this method, it may be possible to produce useful flooring from smaller pieces of wood, so that the upper trunk and larger limbs can be used, instead of simply being scrapped, as happens all too often.

These floors can be manufactured with any kind of wood, although Bolefloor only offers solid oak at this time. In addition to using the natural pattern and shape of the wood, the software can also be used to cut out imperfections and weaknesses at the edges of the wood, so that the pieces will be less prone to damage and will last longer.

Part of sustainability is having something worth keeping. Having a wood floor that is beautiful and worth preserving will encourage its owners to care for it and make it last, rather than treating it as a commodity to be used and then disposed of. At the same time, since the process is computerized, it should be easy to fabricate a replacement piece if some part of the floor should become damaged.

Photo credits: Bolefloor.com; noticed at BoingBoing.


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  • Justin

    Not only would crooked floors drive me crazy, but you can only imagine how crazy it will drive the floor guy doing the installation. So much for savings….. I also fail to see anything environmentally specific about their crooked lines. Oh well, I guess it’s just a look.

    • http://www.jetsongreen.com Preston

      I guess you could say it’s like using all parts of the buffalo. The process is fascinating …

  • http://treehugger.com Lloyd Alter

    when I wrote about this weeks ago the comments from installers and people who knew wood were scathing, and in fact I think correct.

    …crap, unless your rich enough to afford it and it’s anti green. Why? Cutting the boards straight means ease of packing, shipping and space saving which all means huge economies of scale in savings, man hours and costs…..

    this is absolutely not more efficient. This is another fake eco deal.
    What about transportation? How do you transport (and store) this efficiently? What if the only matching board has a slightly different color? Would you place it anyway?
    I suppose there will be not one board that will match fully (total length) with another board. And a board doesn’t have to match at 1 side, it has to match at 2 sides.
    As Lummox said, this can only be done with CNC, instead of sawing.
    It doesn’t make it more efficient, it only makes it more expensive.

    Custom sawing that has to be absolutely perfect for every cut..Or the whole floor is wrecked. No 1% flub factor. Let alone the added time in installation and training to get it right.
    Yet another anti-green idea on treehuger because it looks cool.

    • http://twitter.com/EcoHomeStore Eco Home Store

      I think I have to agree with Lloyd. This would be a nightmare for packing/shipping. I also wonder if this waviness would make some people nauseous.

    • Bhhcinc

      Lloyd,
      This is not something you let a (wood floor installer) touch if you want it done correctly. Did someone say this was for the home depot crowd….clearly it is not. Each room or space is specific,matched and numbered for each installation. Rooms or homes with usual shapes would benefit from this free form style of floor.

  • m. daby

    still…. in the right application…beautiful.

  • http://profiles.google.com/bagelpower Hannah Whitehouse

    Aside from cost, I think this is lovely. A much more natural, relaxed look. Varying coloring would look fantastic, a huge improvement from the Home Depot junk. Not everyone wants straight lines and their floor to look just like the other 8 homes on the block. And reducing waste and utilizing all the resource is much more efficient. Even if traditional flooring mfg use their waste for pellets or agricultural uses, there you have added shipping for using one tree. This is a great idea.

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