help with right tool

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Forum topic by salgal posted 05-11-2010 06:14 PM 1322 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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12 posts in 3150 days

05-11-2010 06:14 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

This is not so much woodworking question as carpentry, but I am going to replace a soft, rotted floor in a camper. The sub floor was layed before the walls were put up. What is the best cut-off saw I can use to cut out the floor?

This camper is only used as a hunting camp, so it doesn’t have to be really pretty…and it 4 hours away so I want the right tool and parts when I get there…not have to run to the hardware store 30 minutes away…

thanks for any help or advice.

11 replies so far

View Michael Murphy's profile

Michael Murphy

453 posts in 3211 days

#1 posted 05-11-2010 06:24 PM

Is the floor soft all the way out to the walls or just in the center. I would think you would need to leave the original floor under the existing walls. You would probably also need something to support the edge of the new piece of plywood.

A Skilsaw or a router set at the right depth following the wall as a guide would leave a few inches of a lip away from the wall. You could screw a cleat on the bottom of the lip by countersinking holes from the top side to give the new piece something to sit on, or rout a rabbet in the old floor and a matching one, upside down on the new piece to support the edges. Glue and screw the new piece in.

-- Michael Murphy, Woodland, CA.

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3280 days

#2 posted 05-11-2010 06:45 PM

It’s hard to advise you without better understanding the situation. However, in general, when I have to tear something out I reach for my reciprocating saw.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View salgal's profile


12 posts in 3150 days

#3 posted 05-11-2010 06:53 PM

Thanks Michael. I am planning to leave the floor under the wall, but replace the rest and put some solid re-enforcement under the door threshholds. It is soft all over, but mostly near the doors. But if I am going to that much work, I’m replacing it all.

A skill saw would work, but I was hoping to get a little closer to the wall. Isn’t there a type of saw you hold
horizontal and the circular blade plunges into the floor? I think the blade would only be about 2” diameter. It would cut within 1/2” or so of the wall, I think. (i could be imagining this…)

The tricky part is I need to haul all my tools and makeshift bench up there and work off a generator. I have never done any builder type site work, so I am worried I won’t think of something.

I’m not scared to try though…hey, it’s just a 20 year old camper for a couple of hunters!

View uffitze's profile


199 posts in 3160 days

#4 posted 05-11-2010 06:58 PM

If I had them, I’d bring both the circular saw and a sawzall (recip. saw). The circ saw will go much faster than the recip saw, but won’t be able to get all the way to the edge of the floor.

Of course, bring a hammer and pry bar too, and you might need a screw gun.

And, pray that you don’t have any rotted joists.

View miles125's profile


2180 posts in 4211 days

#5 posted 05-11-2010 06:58 PM

I agree with reciprocating saw. Plus every other tool in your arsenal. Because whichever tool you leave behind is the one you’ll desperately need :)

-- "The way to make a small fortune in woodworking- start with a large one"

View flyfisherbob2000's profile


81 posts in 3193 days

#6 posted 05-11-2010 07:31 PM

Try one of these…. I purchased one about a year ago, and have wondered why I didnt do so much sooner.

View Michael Murphy's profile

Michael Murphy

453 posts in 3211 days

#7 posted 05-11-2010 07:41 PM

Harbor Freight also has a “Toe Kick Saw” that looks like it is made to saw out flooring flush to the face of a toe kick. If you are into buying something new, it might be the thing.

-- Michael Murphy, Woodland, CA.

View a1Jim's profile


117342 posts in 3783 days

#8 posted 05-11-2010 07:43 PM

I agree with any of the options mentioned already. They all have operations there good at the circular saw is quick and you can cover large areas, The reciprocating saw can get in tight areas but if your not careful with it’s use the blade can cut wires,brake lines etc. The multi tool can get in very tight areas but cuts much slower than the others and you have better control of the depth you cut. I have a fein model and it works great the Harbor Freight model is far less money but I’m not sure how well it will hold up to continued use.
As a twenty plus year contractor I always have to evaluate what saw will do the best job.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View TJK's profile


14 posts in 3224 days

#9 posted 05-11-2010 08:32 PM

A toe kick saw would work well but is kind of a single use tool that you would find little use for otherwise. You will still need a reciprocating saw or something to get to the inside corners You may be able to rent a toe kick saw from a rental shop or a hardwood flooring store, or if your anywhere near western Wisconsin, you could borrow one of mine. Good luck

-- Tim - He who knows best knows how little he knows.

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3280 days

#10 posted 05-11-2010 09:04 PM

Regarding the reciprocating saw – - I have a cordless 18 volt Dewalt reciprocating saw that I am very happy with. It’s slower than a corded one, but it gets the job done and I don’t need a 110 volt power source. In addition to carpentry work, I use it to trim trees that are no where near a power source.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View SnowyRiver's profile


51457 posts in 3686 days

#11 posted 05-11-2010 09:10 PM

I agree with Michael, a toe kick saw works great for following along the wall. You can often rent these at a tool rental store if you dont want to buy one.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

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