FYI - you can get wood color matched 'crayons' at home depot, lowes and most lumber yards/hardware stores. they are also good for topping off finish wood work for the hole left from sinking the nail. one piece of advice: If you are going to stain the wood, do not fill any holes or cracks with wood putty/hole filler until AFTER you finish and rub the stain. even though it states on the can 'MAY BE STAINED', it will never stain the same as wood and you will know it for sure. but fill the holes before you apply a poly, shellac or oil finish.
and if you ever work with oils - esp LINSEED OIL - NEVER-NEVER-NEVER-NEVER-NEVER (GET IT?) LEAVE THE RAGS OR ANYTHING SOAKED WITH THE OIL LAYING AROUND OR INSIDE. And ventilate the area during and after. It would be a shame to finish you floor and while admiring it forget to properly dispose of the rags etc. Then come back the next day - or while you are sleeping - and find your house burning down.
As for parquet floors. The apartments of my wife's sister and mother have old wood parquet style floors as do most all of the apartments built from that era - many years ago - in her home town. Some take care of them and they look great, others, well could use a day of sanding and refinishing to make them look great again. For those of you that have been to Kiev, that apartment building in the same block as O'Brian's across the street has wooden parquet floors in most of the units. Typically I have seen more of a herringbone pattern in the wood rather than a traditional parquet.
oops - I just read danny's post, he already mentions herringbone which proves to me he knows what of he speaks and has surely been there enough to know. Because of the preformed manner of the concrete block style buildings, herringbone makes sense because it is very forgiving and rolls with the imperfections of the surface on which it is laid. So unless you can create a good flat underlayment I would not go with a big parquet. 6x6 maybe but nothing bigger. but we a talking apples and oranges comparing modern american construction with old russian architecture.
Durak is in a different class - the old farmhouse? it will never be true again and will continue to move for decades to comes. A living structure!
I was planning on linoleum (or whatever they call the plastic flooring that comes in rolls), until the contractor removed the old lino, and I saw that the plank floor underneath was in much better condition than I had expected.
At that moment, I was "on the fence" (indecisive) about whether to cover it up again, or refinish it. If I had a strong preference one way or the other, I wouldn't have asked for advice. But I wanted to weigh the pluses and minuses.
If I am lucky enough to find a loving mate someday, I hope the kitchen will please her. Hence the small cultural question... It can be really tricky to change the floor construction once the kitchen is done.
I didn't do the work myself -- I've seen wood floors that were refinished by people who didn't know what they were doing, and they looked awful. I hired a guy who's been doing this for 25 years. Now the floor is complete, I'm glad I got it refinished. It has knots, irregular gaps, stains in a few places, mis-matched planks where a staircase used to be, etc. etc. It shows the history of a house from the era of the US civil war.
PS: "it will never be true again" -- the floor is bowl-shaped, and not even level where it meets the walls.
PPS: About parquet -- I have read about walls being shifted from their foundations by flooded parquet floors. The wet wood will expand in both directions, and (if properly made!) has no gaps to accommodate the expansion. With luck, the parquet will buckle; if it doesn't, look out!
I will never forget how BAD the outside of my Molodan lady's apartment lookled when I first met her in 2004. I mean it lookled like it should be torn down and seemed to be accomplishing the feat slowly and on its own as concrete would periodically fall from somewhere high up.
I commented about that and she seemed embarassed. She told me it was in such bad shape because it was so old compared with other building in the area. I asked when i was built. She said "1984".
So this ancient and building, crumbling around us as we stood there, was all of 20 years old.
A building that age in the US is still often called NEW. (Or maybe thats just from my perspective as I am getting old).