The Basement #2: Hardwood Flooring..........Cheap.

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Blog entry by JL7 posted 10-18-2010 06:25 AM 7377 reads 1 time favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Intro Part 2 of The Basement series Part 3: Flip Down Clamp Rack... »

I am a big Craigslist fan, always scanning the materials sections for deals, and those short lots of hardwood flooring come up alot. Those folks with 50 sf of leftover floor that want 1/2 price are quite common. The realiity is not to many people are looking for 50 sf of floor, so more often than not, they accept offers much less than 1/2 price, and often it is downright CHEAP!

So this thread is devoted to my cheapness and the use of cool hardwood in pratical applications in the shop and in a few projects:

#1 – French Cleats – I have French Cleats on 3 walls of my shop, all in hard Maple 2-1/2” flooring, cost me $25.00 in material:

#2 – Shop Cart – Except the drawer section, all is made from flooring, doweled joints, Maple and Jatoba materials (btw, the drawer unit is made out of bamboo plywood, another cheap CL find):

#3 – Plane Boxes – Not very fancy, but got some 5” handscraped brazialian Angelim flooring with black finish on it – rather than plane the finish off, I used it as is and made a pair of boxes, both slightly different:

#4 – Bench Shelf – Rustic Maple:

#5 – Cross cut sled fence – soon to be done….......:

#6 – Cutting Boards – Note the Yellowheart shown is the exception – I added that – all else is leftover flooring – mostly exotic:

#7 – Boxes – Several of these boxes from last Christmas were made from flooring – certainly, not all of them but I made a series of 13 unique boxes and the flooring came in handy….........

I should note, as some of you know, prefinished hardwood flooring can be REALLY hard on your equipment. For example, Bellawood flooring with it’s 25 year warranty will be very bad for your planer knifes. I have settled on resawing the finish off the prefinised floor so and you may yield a 1/2” board using this technique if you plane the grooves off the bottom.

I have alot of unfinished flooring as well, and in many cases, you use the full 3/4” thickness if the project allows. For me, it’s a good way to get nice hardwood cheap.

Appreciate your comments…..............

-- Jeff .... Minnesota, USA

6 comments so far

View lanwater's profile


3111 posts in 2931 days

#1 posted 10-18-2010 06:49 AM

Excellent use of flooring and great projects.

My friend gave me some left over 2” oak unfinished flooring. I just ripped some of it for bent lamination.
I also used some of it for a vanity legs. I still have 3 bundles left.

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

View rance's profile


4258 posts in 3157 days

#2 posted 10-18-2010 01:51 PM

I too have a fair amount of mixed flooring that I got free, and still get from time to time. I recently got some in Bubinga. Thanks for the inspiration for projects to use it on. I’ve been sorta stumped on what to use it for.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View Robb's profile


660 posts in 3930 days

#3 posted 10-18-2010 04:46 PM

Great projects from recycled material. Long live craigslist! I shop it all the time too, and have had some similar experiences.

-- Robb

View WoodArtbyJR's profile


428 posts in 2961 days

#4 posted 10-19-2010 03:55 AM

I also use harwood flooring for my crafts. I found a local hardwood flooring importer and get their crates and use it for my cutting boards. I’m not so sure about the finish being the killer on your planer blades or is it just the South American hardwoods. The South American hardwoods are REAL hard and will dull a set of knives very quickly. My saw sharpening guy loves me but showed me a way to extend the life of my blades. I can tell by the sound of the planer when they are getting dull (it gets louder). I take a wet stone to the knife edge (while still installed in the planer), clean up the edge and take the residue off the edge. I can do this several times and extend the life by 3 or 4 times. When I buy a replacement set if knives I buy a very high grade of metal and I can really tell the difference (actually stays sharper longer). Your idea of resawing the bottom off is one I might try. I recently purchased a drum sander and this has helpered to improve the quality of my boards. Especially with the removal of rip out and snip from planer use. You’ve got some very beautiful boards above. Some lay-out combos I might try.

-- Jim Roberts, Port Orchard Washington

View JL7's profile


8661 posts in 2962 days

#5 posted 10-19-2010 04:19 AM

Thanks for all the nice comments, I appreciate it…..Good tips on the planer blades Jim. You are definately correct on the South American hardwoods, they will eat up blades, some of the woods in the boards above are Brazilian Walnut (not sure what it is, but it is HARD) and 2 types of Rosewood (or at least thats what it’s marketed as) and they are very hard as well. Tearout is a problem!

The finish used on these boards varies by manufacturer and some (I mentioned Bellawood) will definately tear up your knives quickly – I believe they use an aluminum oxide finish and it is really tough.

Here are a couple other flooring projects:

The Tigerwood top and base of the box:

Small box with Brazilian Chestnut:

Little sliding box:

And finally, a little six pack holder for a work buddy who makes the homebrew – This is Jatoba and Angelim:

I’d love to see pics of your flooring projects if you have them!


-- Jeff .... Minnesota, USA

View WoodArtbyJR's profile


428 posts in 2961 days

#6 posted 10-19-2010 05:02 AM

Jeff – go to my home page and look at my projects. The cutting boards are there. The wine caddy is tigerwood and the bistro set is all crate wood. As you can see, some of the cutting boards sport spalted jatoba (Brazilian Cherry). Brazilian Walnut is also known as ipe, VERY HARD (aka iron wood). You will get more tear out as the knives get duller. Ipe and tigerwood is also sold as decking and you can get cut offs from those projects as well.

-- Jim Roberts, Port Orchard Washington

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