What do you think about making your own hardwood flooring ?

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Forum topic by Chapstick posted 03-19-2013 10:29 AM 9760 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Chapstick's profile


1 post in 1924 days

03-19-2013 10:29 AM

Topic tags/keywords: flooring mouldershaper

Hello. This is my first post with you guys and I’m looking forward to being around for a while. I’m closing on a house in a week and a half and it needs a good amount of work. I’m planning on going a little crazy with trim work so i picked up a foley belsaw 910 yesterday. I got it so i can make custom casings, crown, and chair rail.

The wood floors on the second floor are southern yellow pine, and are buckled terribly. I don’t think repair is an option. So I was checking out my new toy today and it popped in my head i could use this thing to crank out some flooring ! It has a 5 hp motor and it is in exceptional condition for its age.

I’m also picking up a cabinet saw next week and I already have a considerable tool stash including another 13 inch planer. I’m figuring i could get rough cut boards, plane them down, straighten out any crooked boards on the table saw, rip them to whatever size i wind up going with, run them through the planer to achieve S4S and finally set up the belsaw with a nice fence system and as many tongue cutters as i can fit and then throw the groove cutters in and finish them up. I could probably run them through 6-8 at a time. I’m finding 4/4 cherry near me for around $5 a board foot. If i buy pre made flooring its going to cost around that much and it won’t be as nice as cherry and im thinking i can get lengths to span entire rooms so there would be no seams. Twisted boards will be an issue so ill try to make sure i don’t wind up with any. I guess moisture content would have to be figured in as well and They will need that back cut done too so ill have to figure something out for that. I’ll stop rambling now but if anybody has any input on any of this i would be grateful. Thanks for reading.

-- You can pick your friends and you can pick your nose but you can't pick your friends' nose.

9 replies so far

View MrRon's profile


4793 posts in 3265 days

#1 posted 03-19-2013 05:36 PM

That’s a big undertaking. The wood you use should sit for many months in a controlled environment and in the house to stablize the wood and moisture content, before you start milling it. After all that work, it’s pretty hard to duplicate the finish of commercial flooring. If you were going for a rustic pine floor look, that would be a different story. Depending on the condition and thickness of the old YP flooring, you might be able to salvage it. It will be full of nails and hard on your planer knives and saw blades.

View Jorge G.'s profile

Jorge G.

1537 posts in 2496 days

#2 posted 03-19-2013 05:57 PM

I have to disagree with MrRon, I have installed hardwood, bamboo and pine floors. You have to cut the wood in strips to the desire length and width, leaving it to acclimate for months is a waste of time as the wood will still move when you cut it. Once cut it is best to leave it for a couple of weeks to acclimate, but not before. Go here to get the tongue and groove bits, these are the ones I use because I tie the floor to concrete, but you may also search the same site for flooring bits with nailing space.

Then go here to get jack to pull the floor together.

You will need a router table with a 1/2” Colette to prepare the floor. It is a lot of hard work, but the results are just as good as any commercial sold flooring.

If you are going to tie your floor to a plywood substrate then getting a flooring nail gun would be an advantage. In any case, it can be done, I do it for customers all the time .

-- To surrender a dream leaves life as it is — and not as it could be.

View EPJartisan's profile


1118 posts in 3147 days

#3 posted 03-19-2013 06:33 PM

If I were you, I would do more research on flooring and tree species. Each wood moves a different rate, and have properties to take into consideration. I only say this because I work a lot in Cherry wood.. it is not easy to get a durable finish on the wood and it must be UV protected or will darken unevenly across the room. I am not saying to not do it or that is it beyond your ability, just more to consider if you ponder different species. For cherry the spacing for movement will be a bit more than Oak.. and far more than for bamboo and Pine. Personally I have never done a floor job, and can’t offer construction advice, but I have witnessed poor jobs and understand wood well enough to say.. caution this is not a novice level project.. he he. good luck.

-- " 'Truth' is like a beautiful flower, unique to each plant and to the season it blossoms ... 'Fact' is the root and leaf, allowing the plant grow and bloom again."

View Hammerthumb's profile


2853 posts in 1996 days

#4 posted 03-19-2013 07:15 PM

I agree with EP. This would not be an easy undertaking. I have about 20yrs experience in wood flooring and would like to add that the cost of materials as compared to unfinished wood flooring from a reputable manufacture would also be prohibitive, not to mention your time and energy to mill. Remember that you will also have to install, sand, and finish. And then do the trim work. Makes me tired just thinking about it. Check out prices of unfinished flooring from local dealers or the internet before you make your decision. Also, long length flooring can be obtained upon request if that is your desire. Make sure you specify this when pricing.

-- Paul, Las Vegas

View Don W's profile

Don W

18754 posts in 2589 days

#5 posted 03-19-2013 07:23 PM

I’ve done it before and have a pile of lumber destine for my kitchen,dining room and living room. I agree with doing some research. And don’t be afraid to test different configurations. Mine will be wide plank, probably ship lapped, installed with cut nails.

And yes the pile is covered now, will be milled this spring (I hope), prefinished except for last coat, and installed late fall early winter.

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

View pintodeluxe's profile


5701 posts in 2835 days

#6 posted 03-19-2013 09:07 PM

The American Woodshop did a show on this topic. It looked like a royal pain.
I am a DIYer to the core – built my own front door, installed my stair railing, and built most of the furniture in my home – and I would not tackle it.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View runswithscissors's profile


2762 posts in 2046 days

#7 posted 03-19-2013 09:22 PM

I understand all the cautions, but I think Chapstick wants to put that new molding machine (I know it’s a planer too) to work, and justify his acquisition. He knows it will take time and work, but he wants to use his time and labor that way.

When were planning our kitchen remodel, I wanted to use soapstone for the counter tops, partly because I could do the cutting, routing, and sanding myself. So I started assembling tools to do that, including a portable (hand held) PC oscillating spindle sander for smoothing the sink cutouts. But SWMBO thought the soapstone was too dark, and wanted granite instead. So I never got to put my new spindle sander (Ebay acquisition) to work, and have felt sorry for myself ever since.

Sometimes you simply want to do it yourself, and have to fend off those who would discourage you.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View cabmaker's profile


1735 posts in 2830 days

#8 posted 03-20-2013 12:48 AM

Fairly easy task with the right equip. That belsaw is a nice machine but I don’t see how your going to run tongue and groove profiles on the 910 model.. Expect a good workout on your equip. If your planning to run it with a router. Enjoy! JB

View derosa's profile


1577 posts in 2857 days

#9 posted 03-20-2013 05:07 AM

Sounds fine to me, just take the time to really weight the cost/time ratio; I’m hoping to need to do the same thing this fall/winter. In my case it will be a matter of having the time to spend vs. having money to spend and wanting a flooring that isn’t usually available. I want mine made from locust which is cheap to buy in rough form, very stable when dry and extremely durable. I find it pretty to look at and around me it runs for about 1.00bf since its traditional use around here is for fence posts and rails unless chopped up for firewood.

In your case you may find at 5.00bf that prefinished cherry is cheaper. There can be a lot of waste in the production, you can reduce waste by allowing for 3-4 different widths of floor board. I plan on widths of 2.25, 2.75, 3.5 and 4” so that it may be possible to get multiple pieces from a 6” board rather then tossing a piece 2.5” wide because I want all my floor boards to be 3.5” wide. Honestly I suspect there is something close to a 25-30% waste on such a project if not more since the first thing you will do with 4/4 lumber will be to slim it down to 3/4 inch. With that kind of waste you could be paying about 7.00 a square foot plus all your time, labor, sandpaper and finish while cherry flooring sells for a little less then that prefinished around me.
Now if you can find a retired woodworker who is selling off a couple thousand bf of cherry for 2.00-2.50bf you might have a going venture that will save some decent money. Being in central Jersey check out the craigslist listings in nearby PA, that’s where some of the best cherry comes from and saw mills can give a real fair price.

-- --Rev. Russ in NY-- A posse ad esse

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