Need advice on making flooring

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I have some ~1" hard maple that has been stacked in my shop for 8 or more years. I need to use it. I was thinking of converting it into flooring for my rather small home.
I'm thinking straight planks would not be a good idea so tounge and groove would be the way to go. Am I thinking right?
The next question is how wide to make each board? Is there an upper limit other than eliminating waste?
The last question is after planing, do I use a router table or a table saw and dado for grooves?
I welcome advice,
Wes -- "Additionally as a security officer, I carry a gun to protect government officials but my life isn't worth protecting at home in their eyes." Dick Anthony Heller
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You could vary the width as long as it is consistent within each row of flooring. For example, typical oak strip flooring is made from lower grades of wood where wane, splits, knots and other items would make it difficult to efficiently yield wide clear boards--thus the relatively narrow and short pieces. If your wood is generally wider and clearer than "factory" there is no reason you couldn't go wider within the limitations of how stable the wood is. If it's quarter sawn you could go wider than flat sawn.
Regarding milling the tongue and groove, a shaper with a matched set of knives and a power feed would be the quickest and safest way to go. I'd venture that making flooring with a marginally powerful router and feeding by hand would get old real fast!
I cannot access the www at the moment to check, but looking at a number of catalogs I didn't find a matched set of flooring bits for a router. Not saying no one offers them, just that I didn't see any listed. Why this type of bit rather than standard tongue and groove? For flooring the tongue is off set towards the bottom so that multiple refinishing can be done before reaching the tongue/nails during sanding. It might be possible to find a set of tongue and groove cutters that could be adjusted to do this but for most the tongue is going to be too thick. Then again, speaking as some of my older associates do, if you're getting old and don't figure on refinishing in your life time it might not be worth the effort, use what you've got. ;~)
Note too that solid wood flooring is typically "backed out" which could be done with a vertical bit/cutter.
I'm sure other opinions will come in... it is just flooring ya know. ;~)
John
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Wes-
Checkout commercially available maple flooring. Widths are in the 3 to 10" range.
http://www.amanatool.com/bits-fv/55400.html
A table saw would be a little tricky..... better way......a shaper or router table (but your router better be a beast)
cheers Bob
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wrote:

Personally, I'd go anywhere form 3-6 inch width (plus tongue)... or variable (maintaining the same width in a given course) to best use the stock available. Just about anybody (even Sears) has 1/2" shank T&G sets. I agree, the router better be up to the task. Depending on the size of the floor, it's going to get a workout. Also, I wouldn't get too whipped up over the planing. I'd get it pretty smooth but I'd tweak that by sanding after installation.
Ed
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The router I'd use is an Hitachi HV12, I think it is fairly stout. Good point on sanding after installation. I've run a drum sander a few times.
So I guess I need to finish the router table come spring. First things first.
Thanks,
Wes
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Wes wrote:

My advise would be to sell the lumber and use the money you get to buy the flooring.
--
Jack Novak
Buffalo, NY - USA
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I thought this was a woodworking group. :-)
--

-MIKE-

"Playing is not something I do at night, it's my function in life"
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-MIKE- wrote:

It is but it's usually (okay sometimes) a practical woodworking group. ;-)
Locally 4/4 hard maple is selling for $4.80/bd ft. Lumber Liquidator lists their 3/4" unfinished maple flooring for $0.89 (utility grade) to $3.69 (select).
http://www.lumberliquidators.com/catalog/thumbnail.jsp?categoryId=7&sectionId=1&subCategoryIdv&sort=TA&ref=By%20Category ;274500003,By%20SubCategory;274600049
--
Jack Novak
Buffalo, NY - USA
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Yeah but;
a) it's not likely he could get anywhere near that
and
b) practical schmactical, a lot of woodworking has absolutely *nothing* to do with practical
Sometimes the project is the message.... (to paraphrase McLuhan.)
Ed
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Nova wrote:

http://www.lumberliquidators.com/catalog/thumbnail.jsp?categoryId=7&sectionId=1&subCategoryIdv&sort=TA&ref=By%20Category ;274500003,By%20SubCategory;274600049

I'm being lazy. Are you saying he'll get more for selling it and buying ready made?
--

-MIKE-

"Playing is not something I do at night, it's my function in life"
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-MIKE- wrote:

Probable not, but when you consider the difference between what he can sell the lumber for verses the cost of the flooring, the time to mill the lumber, the probable loss due to warpage/twisting and lumber defects I don't think milling the lumber to flooring would be worthwhile.
--
Jack Novak
Buffalo, NY - USA
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That's kind of why I jokingly asked if this group was called, "woodworking."
Depends on what worthwhile means to each of us. None of us would do any woodworking for ourselves if the only measurement was financial, measuring our time against what else we could be doing with that time to make money.
Most of us like the, "hey, I did that!" factor of woodworking. Which leads me to a tangent for which I should probably start another subject line....
At the woodworking show, I saw this computerized carving machine (also at woodcraft). You put a design or scan a picture into the computer and the machine carves it into a piece of wood. I had two immediate thought about the results it produced. 1. It looked like crap. B. How can anyone say "I did that?"
--

-MIKE-

"Playing is not something I do at night, it's my function in life"
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-MIKE- wrote:

<snip>
I like the "hey, I did that!" factor only when the results look good.
When flooring is milled first the major defects are removed from the stock. The lumber is them milled into various lengths. Once milled it is then sorted into categories depending on the quality of each piece with "select" being the best and "utility" being the worse. Once sorted pieces of similar quality and characteristics are bundled together and sold priced accordingly by grade. Unless one has a huge amount of stock to work with, when you mill your own flooring you get whatever the lumber you have on hand yields. It won't be all "select".
--
Jack Novak
Buffalo, NY - USA
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Yes, I see what you're saying. It all depends on what you're going for. I've seen some gorgeous floors made from old, recycled barn board that was all knotting and full of worm holes and beat up to Hades.
--

-MIKE-

"Playing is not something I do at night, it's my function in life"
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At the end of the day you can purchase flooring a good bit cheaper than attempting to make any real quantity on your own.
It might appear to be easy but hand feeding alone will be a real shop stopper on producing decent flooring.
When you start talking about several hundred feet of flooring, router bits are not up to the task nor are basic routers.
You didn't mention the amount of flooring you plan on making.
Wes wrote:

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You've got a point there. Hell, with a reasonably small room, say 10'x10' and using 3" wide wood for example on the floor, you'd be routing somewhere in the neighbourhood of 400' feet of wood. That's a whole lot of effort and time even before the wood is laid.
Of course, there would be a considerable amount of pride involved with undertaking such an effort, that is *if* it turned out to be a half decent job.
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I don't think 400' would do it cause you got to do "both" sides of the board.
3" X 40 boards = 120"
Sooooo 800 linear feet running through a router by hand would not be a great deal of satisfaction.
I would throw my pride out the window and go buy some flooring.
Upscale wrote:

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You're right. Obviously, I've never made floor boards. :)
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But one person's task is another's recreation.
Ed
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Only until you have to have the bits replaced or if they are good ones, resharpened.
IIRC, Pat Warner said (excuse me if I get this wrong!) that the average router bit will go about 250' before sharpening.
Now... think about 1" thick HARD maple that has been drying for 8 years. Think how hard that stuff must be. And at one inch thick, I'll bet you don't get far without a resharpening.
The of course, since you are going with such thick material it is an excellent idea to relieve the back with some grooves to help keep it in check when it moves. How many more bits would that burn up? Looking around, just buying the male/female bits could be a few hundred bucks.
If you really want to make your own, go to your local flooring store and check out their profiles, then take into consideration the thickness of your material. You can get an idea of what you need to do from a quality floor manufacturer/supplier.
Robert
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