Saturday, October 24, 2015

Snoqualmie Depot floors

Douglas fir.  Almost every stick of wood that was used to build the Snoqualmie Depot (the shingles are red cedar) was cut from Douglas fir, a species of softwood native to the Northwest, and vital to the forest industry.  And the Depot's contractor didn't have far to search far because in 1890 tall stands of Douglas fir adjoined the mainline of the Seattle, Lake Shore and Eastern Railway almost all the way to the foot of Western Avenue in downtown Seattle.  So clear Douglas fir lines the walls, ceilings and floors of the Snoqualmie Depot and is an important part of its character.

Fast forward to the 21st Century and continuing efforts to preserve the Snoqualmie Depot, the most iconic structure in historic downtown Snoqualmie.  The interior flooring was last refinished in the early 1990s.  Despite a very hard finish, some of the surface was beginning to wear through to bare wood.  So Hardwood Specialties was hired to sand, repair, and refinish the waiting rooms floors.

Refinishing the floors in what is now better known as the Depot Bookstore required moving the retail operation out of the room it has occupied since 1982.  The Depot Bookstore was moved in its entirety to the women's waiting room, right next door to the Gentlemen's waiting room it has occupied for the past 33 years.  Then, in late September and early October 2015, the floors were sanded, filled, resanded, sealed, and coated.

There are a variety of floor finishing systems to choose from, but many are ill-suited to a floor that sees almost 134,000 visitors per year. The "Swedish Finish" system was selected, which is a modern, long-lasting finish.  Three coats - two sealer coats and one top coat - were applied and allowed to cure.  The sealer coats are a type of epoxy similar to what is used in the railroad car preservation work.  For the finish system, a full cure takes approximately three weeks.  Now the Snoqualmie Depot waiting room floors are ready for another 25 years of service!

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