Recommend table saw for hardwood floor installation

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Thanks for the responses so far. I don't like the look of prefinished flooring (prefer a smooth finish). Took a class in a local hardwood flooring store. Mostly board&chalk type of class with some hands-on with floor nailers etc. The instructor advised using a table saw and a chop saw. I was wondering if I could get by without a chop saw if I don't make angle cuts.
I came out of the class feeling that it is a physically demanding process, but does not require the skill of an experienced woodworker to do an okay job. Currently I plan to do the install myself and the finishing professionally done. This gives me the flexibility to spend a bit more on the flooring. If I get the whole thing done professionally, my choices of flooring will be quite limited (my budget is not as huge as the trade deficit ;-).
I appreciate the advice about starting with a small area. That way I will very soon know whether I am upto it or not.
Back to the tool issue, looks like a miter saw is the way to go. Any specific things that I should look for in such a saw? Thanks again.
- Joydeep -
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Joydeep Buragohain wrote:

As I noted in a recent other response, you can get by w/ a hand miter saw for the end cuts altho it would be slow. I'd go for the chop saw over the table saw as you have to move the whole piece over the blade and that isn't the easiest thing to do and keep a square crosscut.
The only place you'll need a rip will be on the edges (again assuming you're doing strip floring only) and that would be easier w/ a table saw, but the cut edges will be hidden by the baseboard/shoe mould anyway so a perfect edge isn't needed...
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You can use a hand saw, circular saw, or even a cheap $100 miter saw for what you are doing.

Think: knee pads.

Depends on your pocketbook and what you intend to do later. One shot deal? Buy a modest priced saw like a Ryobi. Going to continue in the woodworking hobby? Buy a 12" DeWalt for $300
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On 12 Jan 2005 11:54:33 -0800, Joydeep Buragohain wrote:

Just finished putting down 600 sf of 3/4" prefinished hardwood.
First I would recommend a compound mitre saw. If you're going to buy one this is more versatile for any future jobs you may want to handle.
Second and most important to me is that if you're a novice and are living in a home older than just a few years old you may want to let a professional do it. I did my DR, KIT, Hallway and downstairs bath and had to replace particle board in the hallway and DR. What a pain. what a mess.
Last but not least is what do you mean when you say "prefer a smooth finish"? I put down prefinished rustic maple and it's as smooth as you're gonna get in my humble opinion.
Good luck
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Thanks for your advice. I do'nt like the beveled edges of prefinished strips. Prefer a smooth finish from wall to wall. I do understand that going the prefinished way is lot more economical and less messy than the unfinished way.
I am a novice, but wish to learn some of the home improvement skills along the way. I reasoned that if I do the install work myself, I have the option of getting higher quality flooring material. Thanks again.
- Joydeep -
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I agree, . . . . . .but . . . . . not all pre-finished has a big bevel. Check out a few brands and you may find something that suits you.
OTOH, you can get some very nice wood flooring. You can do a lot with it if you have the patience and skills as you can see here: http://www.velvitoil.com/Floors.htm Dan did the designs and Barbara did the milling and installation. When you see them in person, they are really gorgeous.
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Can't imagine what cut you'd make that would require a compound miter. A simple miter saw ought to do the job quite nicely.

Agreed. Pre-finished hardwood flooring looks very good and is as smooth as anything an installer will produce.
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On 1/12/2005 2:54 PM US(ET), Joydeep Buragohain took fingers to keys, and typed the following:

I suppose that this floor will be installed in a perfectly rectangular room and the boards will fit between opposite walls completely without any edge boards having to be ripped to fit. Also there are no heat pipes coming up through the floor, or having no doorways or closets, or outside corners, where a piece might have to be notched, or any sawing in any direction other than straight across the board. If so, all you need is a mitre saw. If not, you may also need a saber saw and a saw capable of ripping boards. Once you start, you will find that you may need other tools that you may, or may not, have at hand. Drill with hole saw, plane, chisels, etc.

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Better check with the finishers first on prices. My brother finished building his own house 2 years ago. Unfotunately ;-), I live 350 miles away and couldn't help him much. But when he shopped around for a drywall finisher he got quotes like "$3,500 if I hang the drywall, $5,500 if you want to hang the drywall yourself" Many of the guys gave him the same type answer. The pros find it easier and less time consuming to finish a job they did the prep work on. They also might not give you any kind of warranty if you lay it.
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On 12 Jan 2005 11:54:33 -0800, "Joydeep Buragohain"

You can handle this. I helped my friend (a hardwood installer) lay my floor. It's not rocket science. He used a cheap table saw. The only other saw needed was one that cut the botton of the door jambs so the flooring could go underneath.

Good move. Go for it.
This gives me the flexibility to spend a bit more on

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"Joydeep Buragohain"

actually, in terms of skills, i would personally lean towards the opinion that finishing is easier than laying - nothing complicated, just mind-numbing, backbreaking labor to sand and exposure to nasty chemicals to finish... but not technically demanding!
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forrest wrote:

No, but there's a real skill/art to getting a good job. One definitely does <NOT> want to start off w/ a power sander on an expensive floor w/o having practiced somewhere not so critical first! :)
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I was going to read everything before responding but that advice is so wrong! A good finish job is the most important part aand can cover up a myriad of other goofs. It is the part that stands out and will be noticed by everybody. Additionally it is a skill that requires sometimes years of training and practice before its really learned. Joe blow homeowner cannot even buy the good finsh. Sanding and finish will cost about $2-3/ft. You will get what you pay for as well.
That said, I have always felt(20 years in hardwood flooring) that if I could have only one saw, it would be a jig saw. it will rip, albeit slowly, it will make rough crosscuts (which is all he will probably need anyway, most if not all cuts will be covered with base), and yes, it will make clean crosscuts and angled cuts with a simple square. Cut around pipes? The jig. Clean up the table saw circular undercut? The jig. No other power saw is as versitile, nor safe. It needs to be a good jig saw tho, I use the Bosch. It will do most everything those other two do, its small and costs about $170. I wouldn't recommend any table saw to a rookie with no training.
If you really must, for speed, buy a cheap Ryobi chop saw at the home Despot. Good enough. It does make your end cuts much faster than the jig saw. Forget the table saw and go for the jig saw.
If somehow you decide you need something more, save it all up for one day and rent it.
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I think you would be well advised to start with something smaller, simpler, and less permanent. Take a basic woodworking class, build a birdhouse and a shelf. That way you will find out if you have, or can develop, the skills you will need, without sinking a ton of money into tools. If you start with a floor, and it doesn't go really well, you are stuck with an eyesore for a long long time.
Also, add up all the costs you will incur for tools you may never use again. They don't just nail floors down; you need specific tools to force the boards into place and hold them while you fasten them. Unless you are really good with a hammer, you will need a nailer to keep from denting your floor. What about the subflooring? You will need the skills and knowledge to evaluate that, and possibly replace at least some of it. What about clearances for doors and moldings? What about evaluating the lumber; not every supplier will give you quality goods.
Not to be hypercritical, but I think you have the skills involved mixed up. It is much harder to install a floor than to finish one, so I would defer this until you have evaluated and honed your skills; if it has to be done right away, I would put your money into a skilled installer, and do the finishing yourself. Even if you screw up the finishing, which is hard to do with the finishes available today, it is a lot easier to sand it off and refinish, than to salvage a poor installation.
Having said that, I hope you end up with a nice floor. I don't think there is anything more attractive in a home than a nice hardwood floor, and I can't understand why the whole country went through an insane fit of putting wall-to-wall carpeting over good floors. If you decide to go ahead, look into getting quarter-sawn lumber; it costs more but the grain pattern is much more attractive.
joydeep snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

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While we're on the hardwood floor topic... I live in a ranch house with a full basement so I have access to the subfloor. You know whats coming, right? I have squeaks everywhere! The subfloor is 6" TG pine and the floor is oak 2" by 3' and 4'. The house is about 50 years old and yes I still ocassionally find remants of a staple from the carpets that were pulled up before we bought. Any remedies for squeaks besides pull & reinstall?
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Yup. A bit painstaking, but from down in the basement try to find the squeaks as someone walks across the floor. A small amount of shimming in the subfloor should quiet everything down.
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I guess I better get a pallet of cedar siding and get started! Thanks, maybe I'll try the hallway first to see how many shims it takes. I have A LOT of squeaks.
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Ray wrote:

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I suspect you'll find it does not take that many. Usually, once you kill one you kill several. Your shims will be quite thin so don't be fooled if it looks like the sub floor is tight. If it squeaks, it's not tight.
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joydeep snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

a table saw. There were no angle cuts only cross cuts at 90 deg. and a couple rip cuts lengthwise where the boards were wider than the space I had left.
Rick
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