After they have been cut they are graded for their look. The next step is to plane the boards on all four sides to smooth saw marks and level the plank. After they have been planed, a machine cuts the tongue and grooves and fits them tightly together. Tongue and groove construction allows the boards to expand and contract, without creating gaps between planks in the installed floor.
At this stage, the planks may go through a distressing process to give them an older, antique look. This may be accomplished by hand or by machine. And then the final product is either sealed/stained with several coats of protective finish or shipped unfinished to the marketplace.