How to Use a Bamboo Threshold

June 14, 2011 in Bamboo Flooring Trim and Accessories Tutorial, Uncategorized

So you have finished installing your floor in multiple rooms and now you are looking at the transition between doorways. Not all doorway passages need or require a trim treatment, but when they do you are looking for a threshold molding. These come in two types: a standard threshold and an overlap threshold.

An attractive shot of a standard threshold in Amber Flat Grain

The standard threshold molding is flat on top and tapers on both sides down to the level of your floor. This is designed to fill the gap between the bottom of your door and the surface of the floor.

Palm Standard Threshold

Other advantages of the threshold are to keep the drafty air from coming in under your door, provide a little debris protection from the other side and if installed with caulking underneath the molding, can provide a bit of flood control, say from a bathroom or kitchen area.

An overlap threshold though sharing a name is really a very different type of molding from the traditional standard threshold molding. This product is designed to butt cleanly to a sliding glass door track that can then also receive a caulking treatment to avoid both moisture and debris from collecting between the aluminum track and the installed flooring.

Overlap Threshold, Amber Edge Grain

The overlap threshold also allows for the concealment of the expansion gap that is required around the perimeter of every room.

This is how it works. The overlap threshold at the square nose end is slightly taller than the flooring itself. It is then cut back on the other side to allow the flooring to slide underneath it with the “overlap” coming over and on top of the flooring.

How is it installed? The overlap threshold nose end is squared off to butt to the aluminum framing of the sliding glass door. The flooring is installed to leave both a space for the overlap threshold to drop into as well as leaving room for the required expansion gap between the flooring and the wall. The overlap then coming up over and on top of the flooring, the gap is concealed and the finish is complete.

Smith & Fong Co. offers both types of thresholds, the standard threshold and the overlap threshold.

Why Install a Bamboo Baseboard

May 31, 2011 in Bamboo Flooring Trim and Accessories Tutorial, Uncategorized

You’ve done heaps of research on the merits of bamboo floors, and now it’s time to install. Of course, there are always things that haven’t been accounted for… things like flooring accessories, or simply, trim.

Why do you need trim?
Trim can be used to give a decorative element, protect the walls, cover the expansion gap between the floor and the wall, or to add a finishing touch to your intended flooring look. Some types of Trim offered at Smith&Fong Co. include: stair nosing, reducers, t-molding, baseboards, base shoes, thresholds, and stair steps.

This post is focused on the baseboard.  Baseboards are an easy way to add an expressive touch to any room in addition to its utilitarian uses.  Baseboards are know by several names such as, skirting boards, skirting, mopboards, floor moulding, or base moulding.  It’s generally used to cover the perimeter between the floor and the wall.  However, it also protects the wall from kicks, damage from furniture, and abrasion.

Pictured above: Plyboo’s Edge Grain Baseboard

As previously mentioned, using a baseboard covers the expansion gap between the floor and the wall.  If you’re installing the floor yourself, be mindful not to install the floor directly against the wall.  You’ll need an expansion gap for the floor to expand or your flooring may suffer “buckling,” when the planks lift upwards from the floor because there is no room to expand.  Buckling will be addressed later in our Maintenance Series.

Illustration of a baseboard covering the expansion gap.

Smith&Fong Co. offers baseboards for its Plyboo and Durapalm products.  To learn more, visit PlybooDirect.

Plyboo in the Big Easy: 2011 AIA

May 18, 2011 in Uncategorized

Angus Stocks of Smith&Fong Co. was the envy of the office last week as he spent his days in steamy New Orleans for the American Institute of Architects (AIA) 2011 Convention.  Plyboo had a booth at the highly anticipated show in collaboration with our Southern affiliates.  It was a high energy event and one to remember. (All photos by: Sergei Hasegawa)

Smith&Fong Co. Booth at the AIA show after setup.

This close-up shot really details the Deco Palm Flooring.  The cabinetry in the shot is made with our Durapalm product.

Here’s a clearer view of what guest saw at the show when walking by.  You can see that the venue was massive!  Of course, this picture was taken before the madness began… the calm before the awesome.

Here’s a close up of a cabinet made with Plyboo’s edge grain bamboo plywood and next to it, you can see large samples of the product, including the Deco Palm plywood.  Notice the feeling of depth it gives.

Plyboo Bamboo and Schmitt Designs

May 9, 2011 in Uncategorized

It’s been an exciting week for Plyboo as we’ve had the honor to see some very familiar material on Design Milk. Brian Schmitt of Schmitt Design had his wall clocks and mobiles featured on the wildly popular design blog recently.  If you didn’t catch the beautiful work there or on our Facebook page, here it is again.


Would you like to learn more about Brian’s wall clocks, mobiles, and lighting?  Here’s a video Brian made a couple of years ago highlighting his design process.

behind the scenes with Brian Schmitt from Brian Schmitt on Vimeo.

Thanks, Brian!


Spring in the Bamboo Forest

April 26, 2011 in Uncategorized

There’s such magic at this time of year that cannot be ignored. The days grow longer, life springs up all around us at lightning speed, and undeniably, we feel more connected to each other and everything around us. Very recently, Dan Smith, of Smith&Fong, spent a few weeks enjoying the awe-inspiring splendor of the bamboo forrest. The following account is from Dan’s experience of the sights and sounds in China:

Spring is a very special time all over the world and no less so then in a timber bamboo forest in China. Spring expresses itself most profoundly with the shooting of the bamboo in late March. Shooting is one of the most miraculous aspects of a bamboo forest. This is the period when bamboo does its most rapid growing. A shoot can come out of the grown at 6” to 7” in diameter and reach full height in 50 to 60 days. At top speed, bamboo has been clocked at an inch an hour over a 24 hour period. This is also a time when bamboo culm harvesting is limited as well as entry into the forest itself creating a temporary shortage in supply. To get through this period manufacturer’s typically stock up before the Chinese new year and this allows them to keep production flowing through this time of shortage. Here are a few shots from my recent trip to the forest.

Maozhu (moso bamboo) shooting in spring.

Bamboo forest in spring. The yellow bamboo is the new growth that shoots in the spring from late march to late June.

Freshly cut crown section remains from culm harvest. A culm can be taken down with as few as 3 to five swings of a bamboo forester’s machete. Typically the diaphragm, the inner seal of the bamboo culm is tapped with the machete or bamboo knife to create a puncture that allows the decomposition process to progress more rapidly, nourishing the bamboo rhizome system to support next years’ growth.

A year old crown section working its way to full decomposition in the bamboo forest.

A shoot just breaking the surface. This one was later harvested for our lunch. Shoot harvesting is pretty much over by mid-March and so this lunch shoot, constituted a late harvest. A week later there would be no further harvesting of shoots until the fall season.

Maozhu, or moso bamboo forest in spring. Bamboo forests in Hunan, Fujian, Jiangxi, Zhejiang and Anhui provinces take up vast areas of mountainous lands providing both a food source as well as a raw material source to fuel many different bamboo industries including our own, bamboo plywood and flooring.

Wear marks in the stone pathway from many years of dragging Maozhu culms down the mountain to the weigh station for sale.

Mountain path in bamboo forest in spring

Bamboo forest in spring.

Weather shelter for bamboo foresters during both monsoon summer months and cold winter days when temps can drop into the 20s (Fahrenheit).

Lao Tu, is an old friend whom I have know for more than an 15 years. He is a retired bamboo weigh man for this forest. Everyone here knows him, as he has been a fixture for more than 60 years. We have climbed these mountains, cut culms, hunting for shoots together and in previous years have done some famous drinking of the locally distilled baijiu or Chinese vodka.

There are many facets and subtleties of the bamboo forest. The seasons, harvesting techniques, working a living from the land, even the people of these mountains have their secrets shared only over time, plied with much good local food, spirit and friendship.