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Question:

I am a woodworker who has the desire and I believe ability to make my own wood floor. I also have several nice trees )oak, maple and Hickory that will come down on my land. I would like to turn these into wood flooring. The problem is I know little about the production of flooring. When I look at commercial flooring it looks very engineered. Maybe more then I could do in my shop. Do you know of any books or articles on production of flooring. Finding books on self installation and or care isn't a problem. Finding information on making a wood flooring is.

Thanks in advance.

Andy

Answer:



Dear Andy

With a little skill and some fancy wood working machinery, I'm sure you'd be able to mill your own T&G flooring out of your favorite trees.

The very best book I have yet to read on the first part of this task (cutting and drying the wood) is told in detail by the various article collected by the Fine Woodworking Magazine folks at Taunton Press. The book is call "Fine Woodworking on Wood and How to Dry It". 1986 by Taunton Press ISBN 0-918804-54-X. It had it last printing in 1998 so even though you may not find it new, the used book stores (on line possibly) may have it. You can also talk to the fine folks at Taunton Press at http://www.taunton.com.

I just went through Taunton's archives and couldn't find anything published before 1988. And as you can see the book only contains article printed on or before 1986. This particular collection of articles contains all in the info on cutting the wood into planks on a chin saw milling machine, on up to more sophisticated band sawing. It talks about wood identification, problem wood, and finally a big section (12 articles) on how to dry wood properly. It's well worth the trouble looking for this book. Sorry, but I cannot photo copy any of the pages for you. I could only synopsize the articles.

Now once you have your wood cut and dried and thickness planed, I want to refer you to the simple method of T&G ing the wood by using a router table, and the router bits sold by Lee Valley Tools. This link will bring you to their 4 in one router bit that will do a primitive but effective T&G configuration on your lovely wood strips. http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.asp?SID=&ccurrency=1&page=30222&category=1,46168,46176

But to tell you the truth real wood flooring is milled to tolerances of about 5/1000 's of and inch. So now I will end you a JPG file of how the pros mill the wood. This cutter configuration was only one of 3-4 choices and you can see that the tolerances have to be tight in some cases, and very loose in others. I'm just about to see some quarter sawn white oak custom milled for a client of mine. I get some input in the cutter design on this job, but will be meeting the timber miller from PA and the drying and sorting importer this month. They will decide who in the Toronto area to do the final floor milling of this gorgeous wood. So I should be able to see just how it's done sometime this summer. This will be part of a photo essay, and article that will be complete sometime this late fall or winter. But I will keep you posted as far a any little snippets of info I get that will help you out.

In the mean time here is the JPG of the T&G configuration

You may also find these articles helpful:

1. Plank Floor: What Special Considerations This Type Of Floor Raises

2. Avoiding Squeaks And Pops When Nailing Down A New Strip Floor

3. Plank And Strip Flooring

4. Parquet Flooring

5. How To Take Care Of Your Health And Safety when Installing, Finishing, Repairing or Cleaning your wood floors