Is wood from hardwood flooring ok to use for other projects?

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Forum topic by exterminate posted 03-14-2013 08:20 PM 19337 views 0 times favorited 22 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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136 posts in 2227 days

03-14-2013 08:20 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question flooring african mahogany floor decor hardwood flooring

Good afternoon jocks,

Can solid wood flooring be used as stock for small projects? Reason I ask is because, as an amatuer woodworker with little extra income, i find it hard to justify $9.50 a bf for african mahogany at the local woodcraft, or ordering in 50bf quantities at my local lumber supplier (whose prices are pretty similar to woodcrafts). But, I saw an add for solid 3/4” x 4.5” african mahogany wood flooring for $3.69 a sqft at my local floor and decor, and can get it by the box (18.91 sq ft), which seems like a pretty solid deal, as long as the 4.5” width fits the project at hand. Isn’t a sq ft basically the same as a board foot when speaking of 4/4 lumber?

Is my thinking solid, or with fault? Is “african mahogany” flooring actually african mahogany, or could it be stained birch?

Let me know what you all think, before I do anything dumb!


-- Albert Einstein - "I'd rather be an optimist and a fool than a pessimist and right."

22 replies so far

View chrisstef's profile


17761 posts in 3205 days

#1 posted 03-14-2013 08:40 PM

The issue with hardwood flooring is the finish that is on it. I think they use an aluminum oxide finish which will really give your tools a good beating. If you can find it unfinished, or you like the finish on it, i dont see why it would be an issue.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 3784 days

#2 posted 03-14-2013 08:45 PM

Off course using reclaimed ready used timber is very common go for it everytime .It is a real money saver plus you get the oportubity to see some old wooden floors in your case become beautiful new objects have fun and god bless my dear lumberjopck friend.LOL just one thing let us see what you do all the way through.Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View treaterryan's profile


109 posts in 2486 days

#3 posted 03-14-2013 08:49 PM

I would not buy it, it says it has a low gloss finish on it.

-- Ryan - Bethel Park, PA

View teejk's profile


1215 posts in 2883 days

#4 posted 03-14-2013 08:50 PM

If it’s sold as african-mahogany, then it is.

I use hardwood flooring all the time. Your math is mostly correct. Board foot of finished lumber will be 3/4 thick by 11 1/2 (or 11 3/4) wide by 12 long. On flooring it will finish to a full 12” instead of 11 1/2 but the difference is in the groove on one edge. Cut that off with the tongue if you have to and you’ll be back to close to the 11 1/2 width. The other thing is that the bottom will usually be grooved on the bottom so if you are looking for flat material you’ll have to remove about 1/4” or so. If prefinished material, don’t even attempt to touch the finished side though. You’ll go broke on sanding/planer knives (it’s pretty tough stuff). So be willing to live with that color on one side.

I like the stuff since generally only the straight stuff makes it to the box. Downside is that you will get random lengths (most likely a lot of short/medium pieces). But for a lot of smaller projects (like boxes) it is perfect and cheap.

View Elizabeth's profile


817 posts in 3342 days

#5 posted 03-14-2013 09:01 PM

Maybe you could resaw the finished layer off?

View teejk's profile


1215 posts in 2883 days

#6 posted 03-14-2013 09:21 PM

Resaw is possible Elizabeth but would need a better techique than I can get with my Delta (I always plan on 1/8” waste at the planer). And then flooring has the bottom grooves. Might end up with 3/8” stock or 1/2 on a good day)???

View kdc68's profile


2691 posts in 2476 days

#7 posted 03-14-2013 09:28 PM

exterminate- I built a wall clock from brazilian cherry hardwood flooring. I aquired some pieces from a commision job I did a few years ago. He installed the flooring himself and I made tresholds for him from the flooring planks. I seen the value of this beautiful wood flooring for my future woodworking projects…he wrote a check as I was loading some of the extra pieces he had into my truck…I got paid twice IMO… Crisstef is absolutely correct. I used old planer blades to remove the finish. teejik is absolutely correct. I had to mill the lumber to 5/8” to remove the grooved backside

-- Measure "at least" twice and cut once

View DIYaholic's profile


19706 posts in 2874 days

#8 posted 03-14-2013 10:10 PM

I use reclaimed flooring for my shop projects. There is no real reason that it would not work for “real” projects. There are a few issues though: (some already mentioned)
1) Pre-finished flooring will kill cutting edges (I resawed off the finish)
2) The tongue & groove must be ripped off, so you loose width (you lose 1/2”-3/4” in width)
3) Grooves on underside must be plained off/smooth (3/4” becomes about 5/8” thick)
4) Errant (& broken) nails can reek havoc on blades (Get & use a metal detector)
5) You must work with smaller dimensions (Blanks must be glued-up)

I used pre-finished flooring, with the finish left inplace, for french cleats:

Some images:
Finish Resawed:

Tongue Ripped Off:

Groove Ripped Off:

I have also used new, “uninstalled”, unfinished flooring.

From this:

To shop fixtures:

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

View kdc68's profile


2691 posts in 2476 days

#9 posted 03-14-2013 10:15 PM

DIYaholic...nice shop fixtures !!

-- Measure "at least" twice and cut once

View Elizabeth's profile


817 posts in 3342 days

#10 posted 03-14-2013 10:22 PM

This thread has convinced me that I need to keep an eye on CL for flooring now, too!

View exelectrician's profile


2328 posts in 2626 days

#11 posted 03-14-2013 10:23 PM

You need to watch for two things – Other than that I love using hard maple flooring.

1. Embedded tiny stones in the finish, they ruin the blades in the planer, personal experience!
2. By the time you get rid of the finish, and the grooves on the other side the board is +/- 0.670” , which is way under 0.75”

-- Love thy neighbour as thyself

View kdc68's profile


2691 posts in 2476 days

#12 posted 03-14-2013 10:27 PM

+1 exelectrian....anybody should use old planer knives…or be prepared to change them afterwards…and when the grooves are removed you have about 5/8” of material to work with…

-- Measure "at least" twice and cut once

View JoeinGa's profile


7739 posts in 2206 days

#13 posted 03-14-2013 10:46 PM

Alsp keep in mind that if what ever you’re gonna make is “One sided” you may not have to take off the grooves on the back. I made several of these “Americana” flag wall hangings using standard 3/4” oak flooring. I glued up enough to get the width I wanted and used my Makita 4X24” belt sander to cut off the poly finish and painted ‘em. They came out great.


-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View Don W's profile

Don W

19007 posts in 2767 days

#14 posted 03-14-2013 10:57 PM

As you see, there are lot of ways to use it. If its free (or cheap) don’t turn if down. I’ve used hardwood flooring scraps for everything from furniture to shop jigs.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View teejk's profile


1215 posts in 2883 days

#15 posted 03-14-2013 11:09 PM

Elizabeth…Lumber Liq works just as well (I bought prefinished oak at 2.79 sq foot to frame out window returns…PITA because I was essentially making boards! but on the plus side they were prefinished with a very hard finish).

Again, the problems are 1) random lengths (some as short as 14” or so) 2) prefinished stuff you better like the color or prepare to remove it without sanding/planing 3) tongue and groove

On the plus side, it is usually very straight stuff (pro flooring guys don’t want to deal with problems in installation or call-backs…to tear out a board that they managed to nail down is not a pleasant task). And it is CHEAP on a relative basis if you don’t mind a little work.

And btw, those little “ribs” on the bottom come off very easy on the planer… I did my mud-room counter tops from leftover material and also use it for shop shelving.

showing 1 through 15 of 22 replies

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