Creating Woodworks floors with our master developer, David Cross

Creating Woodworks floors is a real labour of love.

It takes hundreds of hours to get the finer details just right, using traditional techniques on each board in order to create a floor that we feel truly personifies the values of Woodworks by Ted Todd.

The person behind this process is David Cross, and here is some insight into how he continues to create timeless, beautiful floors.

What inspires you to create new Woodworks floors?

“Wood is natural, and although the species have similarities, every piece also holds its own unique quality. I still look at the floors and cladding in my own home which have been there for years and see grain patterns, knots and features that I’ve never previously recognised,” said David.

“I find that it’s honest and there’s something wonderful about responsibly using a natural resource and bringing it to the inside of a property. The Japanese call it shinrin-yoku which is a eastern modality and literally means ‘forest bathing’ – surely bringing this element of nature from the outside to the inside can only be good thing.”     

Why is developing new Woodworks floors your favourite part of the job? 

I’m quite a creative person with a strong level of curiosity, in conjunction with this I also have a belief that for anything to evolve that it must be consistently raising its standards. 

“WW operates in a design led industry and consistently developing floors and cladding plays a key role in helping our customers, architects and designers stay ahead in their industry too. It’s about being of value and giving our customers great tools to work with.”

What is your favourite Woodworks floor you have developed?

“Galion. Galion is the epitome of a traditional English wood floor. I love the fact that its quarter sawn with its remarkable medullary rays, it also has this wonderful undulating texture which to the touch drifts in and out along the length of each board. For many years we have honed our skills around the sanding and polishing of our antique floors and its a great privilege to use these skills and bring them to new wood with greatest of results.”

“Galion is like the holy grail of wood floors, for years it appears everyone in the industry has been trying to make new wood floors look like antique and Galion achieves this in the most elegant of ways.”  

Galion Cottage Roomshot
Galion – English Oak

What are the biggest challenges you face when creating a Woodworks floor? 

“Trying to meet the whole functional criteria – developing floors is becoming more demanding because the industry is generally flooded with value engineered materials which can lead to the lowest cost provider, but that isn’t what Woodworks is about, it’s about creating the best wood floors in the world and adding value to people’s lives, it’s about being authentic and sharing solutions which last for decades.

“Development used to be fairly simple and in previous years’ innovation was generally driven by tone on oak planks. Nowadays it’s about minor variations and details in species, grade, format, texture, tone, sheen levels, slip and fire resistance and the management of onsite VOC’s. In conjunction with this it must work with our factory’s setup and skill sets. So when we are developing, if it doesn’t tick all the boxes, it doesn’t go. A lot of work, care and attention goes into creating a Woodworks floor.”

How did you start creating woodworks floors and how long have you been doing it for? 

“I’ll answer the question backwards, it began 25 years ago when I had my own business installing floors and recognised that competitiveness for my own business didn’t come from reducing prices but from adding value. I saw adding value as a key attribute to developing a great business for myself and would always strive to make the next project better than the previous one. 

“Over a period of 15 years or so I acquired a few skills and eventually it led cutting, making, fitting, sanding & finishing on site with simple tones. I’d been doing this for some time when I was asked to come and ‘help out’ in the small factory at Ted Todd (I’d been a customer for quite some time and knew all the staff).  I saw it as a great platform to get better and bring some people along that journey to, the great thing about Ted Todd is that it shared some of my own values. That was 11 years ago and I’m still here.”    

Do you have a favourite wood to work with?  

“Definitely European Oak, it’s timeless and has been used for millennia. I admire its versatility, its grain patterns, tones, workability. It’s a great timber.”

Cressida European Oak
Cressida – European Oak

Tell us something that the audience might find surprising about working with/developing wood floors? 

“Most wood floors in the market are mass produced in factories which use UV lamps to cure the finishes, unfortunately these UV cured floors cannot be recoated because no long term protection adheres to the surface and subsequently they require sanding back to bare wood where the tone, texture and bevel are removed. 

“All Woodworks floors are developed with recoating in mind, they are air dried which enables them to be re-coated without having to sand away all of the value which has been added and paid for.”

Outside of work, what are your passions? 

“To be honest I’m a bit of a tree hugger. Nature is my passion, it’s a great teacher, and it’s authentic – it shares and provides in abundance – nothing in nature lives for itself and when you really look, you find its connected to everything else.”