what we should for wood (floors and sills)
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So the wood we're really lusting after is hickory. It looks very neoplastic (and we dig neoplastic):
According to the Lumber Liquidators, those liquidators of lumber, hickory is the hardest North American wood. That sounds like it would be good for floors. Now hickory ain't no Australian Buloke with a janka of 5,060, but it comes in at a respectable 1,820 (white oak comes in at 1,360 calling into question the claim hickory is "North America's hardest wood").
We also need to chose wood for the window sills. The builder says that it's unusual for a modern house to have window sills spec'd for it. Usually windows in modern houses have drywall returns; however, our architects have specified unpainted wood for the sills. The architects originally spec'd ipe, a super dense wood (janka = 3,684) that would be great for sills, especially if some yahoo sets their beer on one. However, ipe is quite dark, and we prefer lighter wood, especially since the installed cypress is lighter in tone. The builder was a little concerned about mixing too many types of wood (we were concerned too), so the architects suggested oak stained such that it evokes the other wood. We're cool with that.
Speaking of window sills, the question came up on how them sills needed to look. There are several options.
The aforementioned drywall return:
The Mies-van-der-Rohe-rolling-in-his-grave sill:
The you-got-a-real-purdy-mouth sill:
The stick-out-a-wee-bit-on-the-sides sill:
And then what we will be doing: The sticking-straight-out-,-dude! sill:
Nice and clean (and neoplastic to boot!). Rietveld approved, we reckon. We likes.
Why fret about the sill? They can be important features for certain occupants...