Making some flooring(my first post)

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Forum topic by TRON posted 04-18-2014 10:06 AM 1315 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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4 posts in 1465 days

04-18-2014 10:06 AM

Hey guys just joined up, been lurking and reading for a while.

I’m just getting my shop up and running. I’ve been a car guy all my life but recently stared acquiring woodworking tools and this will be my first real project.

whats in my shop:
745 Dewalt table saw(10 inch Diablo 40t blade, Freud SD508, ZC insert)
Craftsman router
Bosch Plunge router
Assorted bits for both routers
9 Inch Ryobi Band saw
14 Inch Delta band saw(currently down for maint)
Circular saw
6×4 Disc/belt sander
Numerous Electric and air powered sanders
Porter Cable 6 inch Joiner
Bosch Sliding compound miter saw.

So my project with the tools I have listed is to take some 4/4 Cedar and make some flooring for our closets. The planks I have are rough sawn and approximately 1 1/8 inch thick and varying widths, the widest being 10 inches, the narrowest 6 inches. The closets I am making flooring for are 68 inches by 25 inches. I have built this plan based on the profile discussed here

I originally was going to make 3/4 inch planks, but the boss said she wants 1/2 now. I think I can do this, here is my plan, open for critique and advice please!

1. Cut all planks to 30” 1/2” long
2. Clean up one side on my joiner
3. Rip these planks into 3” wide strips(putting fresh joiner’d side against the fence)
4. Very minor flattening/clean up on the top on my joiner.
5. Re-saw to 1/2”(.510”) on my table saw(my big band saw is broke) Table saw Blade width is .095. I think this will leave just enough for one pass through my neighbors planer to true it up.
6. Determine which will be top and bottom on the planks and mark as such.

its at this point where I really need some advice on how to proceed.

I want to make .150” t&G, offset .200” from the top surface. I plan to leave .008”(.004” top and bottom) clearance inside the groove, as well as cutting the grove to .180” deep. I also plan to leave to lower joining face under the tongue .030” inset from the top face to ensure the top face is always joined tightly.

Does this seem like reasonable dimensions?

I plan to do this by following the steps below, using the wood from the above steps.


7. Placing the “top” side of my flooring again the fence. Raising the blade to .180” and cutting the top face of the groove .196 from the fence/top of the flooring. I will run all the boards thorough on this cut.
8. Placing the “bottom” side of the flooring against the fence, same blade height, and make this cut .142” from the bottom, this will have a slight over lap with the cut above and will complete the groove. I will run all the boards through on this cut.


9. Install sacrificial fence
10. Install dado at .250” width. And associated Zero clearance insert.
11. Set dado into the fence leaving .150” exposed.
12, Blade height set to .200”
12. Place flooring “top” side down, groove away from the fence. Cut all pieces, creating the top of the tongue.
13. Reset fence exposing .180” of dado
14. Blade height set to .150”
15. “Bottom” side down, run all wood through, completing the bottom edge of the tongue.

I need to devise a plan for the anti cupping grooves in the bottom of the flooring. Open to suggestions! I have thought of just cutting them with the dado blade or just my regular blade, or even making a cove cutting fence and cutting a shallow/wide cove. I would be afraid that the square cut dado would invite splitting in the cedar.

I plan to attach this flooring using 16 gauge finish nails, every 6 inches, nailed at a 45 degree angle in the groove at the top of the tongue and face joint(I could add a small cut here with the router, but I don’t feel it is needed). Plan to pre drill and sink the nails using a nail set. I also plan on leaving a 3/8” inch gap between the flooring and the walls.

Any and all comments welcome!

11 replies so far

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

28919 posts in 2303 days

#1 posted 04-18-2014 10:16 AM

Welcome to Lumberjocks

I have never attempted flooring. This will be very interesting.

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View ChefHDAN's profile


1057 posts in 2814 days

#2 posted 04-18-2014 12:34 PM

Welcome to LJ, every good job for the boss usually requires a new tool, sounds like you should look at one of the pancake compressors and nailer kits, or at least get the BS back on line. As for method, i’d suggest you leave your stock long and cut to length after your milling, snipe is a sneaky bastard at times and it’s nice to just be able to cut it off.

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

View bigblockyeti's profile


5092 posts in 1685 days

#3 posted 04-18-2014 01:46 PM

Sounds like you’ve got your plan laid out pretty well. I would caution that any kind of soft wood for flooring won’t handle abuse well. That said, in a closet it’s bound to see little foot traffic. You dimensions for the T&G seem good, though I doubt that kind of precision is needed for flooring, if you can hold those tolerances more power to you! I doubt you’ll see a lot of cupping if the planks are only ~3” wide, though a single dado run down the middle of the back certainly wouldn’t hurt. I make mine 1/2” wide and about 1/4” deep. I’m planning on lining my closet walls with some cedar I harvested a while ago, to make things easier on myself I’m only making the boards half height and adding almost like a chair rail in the middle to cover the seam.

View TRON's profile


4 posts in 1465 days

#4 posted 04-18-2014 02:02 PM

Thanks for the responses!

Dan, I have been thinking the same as far as the bandsaw, it would make the resaw much less wasteful and give me a little more material on the finished project. I do have a compressor and Nail guns(nothing fancy, Blue hawk 4 gun set) But I was concerned that they would split the flooring.

Yeti, I do think I have perhaps over though this! But I want to have a plan. As the closets are not walk in, I wonder if a 1/4 groove right down the center would suffice. They are not getting sealed, and rarely walked on, so the typical refinishing wouldn’t apply. I’m typically working with steel and engines, so this fractions thing hurts my brain, I have digital calipers and dial indicators and none of them read fraction haha.

Even though I don’t have the highend of tools, I did buy decent stuff(not much from HF) and I spend the money on good blades. I’ve been able to cut within about .003-.005 of my desired dimensions and I’m sure the error is the operator not the machine.

View bigblockyeti's profile


5092 posts in 1685 days

#5 posted 04-18-2014 02:49 PM

I know how you feel about a plan, every time I dive head first into a project without a plan, it never turns out as nice (or easy) as when I do have a well thought out plan. It also usually ends up costing more as well.

View Hammerthumb's profile


2836 posts in 1940 days

#6 posted 04-18-2014 02:57 PM

Tron – a couple of points:

Your plan for the slight difference for the top and bottom of the tongue is resonable and is used by manufacturers in the industry. One thing I will recommend though, is that the T&G at those close tolerances will be hard to put together due to the square edges of the tongue. Rounding the edges of the tongue will help them engage easier. Hardwood flooring suppliers make T&G bits for router tables that work very well for what you are doing. They make them in differents sizes for different thicknesses of wood.

I highly recommend that you use feather boards for horizontal and vertical pressure, whether you use a table saw, or router. This will insure accuracy for the T&G and will minimize what is known as overwood, or lippage. If you are planning to sand the floor after install, this requirement will be less stringent.

There is another option. You can groove both sides of the board and use a “slip tongue”. Flooring suppliers will sell this as well as the router bits.

End matching of planks is not absolutley necessary, as long as the planks are not too wide. 3 inches is about as wide as I would attempt without an end match, and is more common with 2-1/4”. After making some pieces and dry laying a few runs, you could determine if this is necessary.

If you make your boards 3” wide, dont forget that the milling of the tongue will reduce the size of the board. This will not matter, as long as all boards are the same size. The width tolerance of the boards is critical and can cause problems upon install. Butting together boards with a .010” difference in width in the same run will leave a .010” gap when you intall the next run, so be careful with width consistency.

A wives tale about the grooves on the bottom of the board in manufacturing. The grooves will reduce the tension in the board and make it easier for the fasteners to force the plank to conform to the substrate, But the main 2 reasons that they groove the boards is that most mills are run on the energy of the wood waste byproducts. They use this in steam furnaces that are used for lumber kilns, and electrical generation. The other reason they cut grooves is for weight reduction to reduce freight costs. This is really not necessary for the small quantity you are talking about as long as the the material is reasonably flat to start with.

Hope this helps.

-- Paul, Las Vegas

View Shawn Masterson's profile

Shawn Masterson

1325 posts in 1913 days

#7 posted 04-18-2014 03:07 PM

Im guessing you have carpet in the rooms that enter the closet. Industry standard is 3/4” because that is the average thickness of carpet and pad. With you using cadar @ a 1/2” the T&G is very likely to split off before you ever get it installed. Any flooring installer will tell you it is fastened through the tongue in the same fashion you mentioned. I would advise against making it 1/2”. I know the engineered, and some of the bamboo floors are thinner, but they usually require padding. Also the bamboo flooring is like a compressed grass, and very hard, strong.

View Hammerthumb's profile


2836 posts in 1940 days

#8 posted 04-18-2014 03:27 PM

I partially agree with Shawn as far as carpet height. 1/2” is a little lower than most carpet & pad, but “end caps” or “carpet reducers” are normally used for this transition point. Also agree with Shawn about the density and durability of the tongue using cedar. You might want to glue the floor and use pin nails through the tongue if you are planning to mill at 1/2” thick.

-- Paul, Las Vegas

View TRON's profile


4 posts in 1465 days

#9 posted 04-18-2014 06:47 PM

Thanks Guys. You confirmed what I was concerned about. I convinced her after measuring some carpet around the house. I’m going to stick with the 3/4, offset the groove 1/16 lower than center. I might try my slot cutter for making it as well.

Where I bought the wood they had a flooring cutter bit, but it was just a simple T&G no nail groove, no offset cut for the bottom, and it was 70 bucks. I’m trying to do this with tools I already have, so we will see. If I had to make enough for the entire house ordering a bit would be worth while, but for just a few closets I think I’ll try this method.

View TRON's profile


4 posts in 1465 days

#10 posted 04-24-2014 05:16 PM

Don’t you hate it when there is no report back? Me too, so here goes! The pictures are large and cut off on this page, click on them for the full version.

I experimented with a couple different methods and finally decided this was a price chance to get the Bosch router table I have been drooling over, and man do I love it. I couldn’t get the consistency or repeatability I wanted out of my Dado/table saw combo. After a few minutes with a cheap HF slot cutter set in the router table, I had a really nice profile. That looks like this

 photo 20140424_113527.jpg

Now when I go to do this again I am going to cut a slightly different profile, or if I end up making enough for a room I will buy one of the bits designed for this. Although my profile gave acceptable results, the chamfer I put on the bottom of the groove wasn’t the ideal solution, I fell it weakened that edge too much. A better idea would have been to simply cut the face below the tongue back 1/32. This could be done on the router table very easily with a dado bit.

I think I also should have let the wood sit in the closet where it was going for a few days after rough sizing and prior to final sizing and profiling. I rough sized all the wood to 13/16”x 30”-48”, then ripped down to 4” and cut the profile. After that I let it sit in the closet over night, then finished sized down to just over 3/4”. I then dry fit all the pieces and allowed them to rest for 24 hours in this condition in the closet. I then rolled out the 15lb felt and installed. It seems this last 24 hours there was a lot of change and I really had a tough time installing it in places. It was during this process where a rounded nose tongue vs. a square nose, and the fragility of my chamfered lower face became apparent. I did get it all installed, but it wasn’t easy and the results were not exactly what I was after, I’d give it a B+ as far as finished product. I did not end match, and I think for a closet it was fine, for a room I would certainly have end matched all cuts. I had one “poor” end joint, but it will have a closet organizer sitting right on top of it, and I know what went wrong to preclude from a repeat performance,

 photo 20140424_113515.jpg

I was also able to make the trim for the closet out of my off cuts. I will install this after I make and install the closet organizer my wife wants.

 photo 20140424_113605.jpg

All told I am pleased with how it turned out. Seeing how my wood working tools two weeks ago consisted of a claw hammer and jig saw, and I now have a pretty decent little collection of tools to make other things.

Thanks for all the advice and guidance!

View Hammerthumb's profile


2836 posts in 1940 days

#11 posted 04-24-2014 05:32 PM

Glad you got it finished. Thanks for the report back.

-- Paul, Las Vegas

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