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.