Need advice on making flooring

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wrote:

Well put, Robert. My Royce-Ayr rep drops off these cool catalogues with all kinds of industrial tooling devices. Some of the tools designed for flooring companies are serious, and I mean serious money. Those kind of customers don't buy tools because they are black and green and are reviewed by toolophiles in niche-market magazines.
It happens often enough that the "I can do that" syndrome rears its ugly little head, and little thought goes into the fact that a $ 30.00 Freud profile routerbit CAN make a similar edge like a $4500.00 head on a 30 HP moulder/sticker.. it just won't make more than 50 feet of the stuff. I have seen a 12' foot slab of oak with a nice profile on one end of the board and a major burn on the other end.
You can haul garbage with a SmartForTwo, just not very much of it.
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"Robatoy" wrote
Well put, Robert. My Royce-Ayr rep drops off these cool catalogues with all kinds of industrial tooling devices. Some of the tools designed for flooring companies are serious, and I mean serious money. Those kind of customers don't buy tools because they are black and green and are reviewed by toolophiles in niche-market magazines.
It happens often enough that the "I can do that" syndrome rears its ugly little head, and little thought goes into the fact that a $ 30.00 Freud profile routerbit CAN make a similar edge like a $4500.00 head on a 30 HP moulder/sticker.. it just won't make more than 50 feet of the stuff. I have seen a 12' foot slab of oak with a nice profile on one end of the board and a major burn on the other end.
You can haul garbage with a SmartForTwo, just not very much of it.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Reminds me of an experience I had many years ago. I used to make custom waterbeds. This was at a time when they were quite popular, so there was a lot of different models available. There was this one model that had lots of curved edges with some fancy moulding types profiles on all the edges. And it all fit together with slots and became a giant planter, greenhouse type of thing. You hung plants all over it.
I got a client who wanted me to duplicate that monster with some modifications. I also happened to get a tour of the factory that made these things. What an eye opening, sobering experience that was for me.
They had all these machines that did a single function. You needed a big slot, this machine did it. They used numerous machine to make this one bed. Each machine cost from $21,000 to $45,000. And this was over 35 years ago! So those were pretty cheap prices compared to now.
They literally walked around and fed their big 2 X 12 stock to these machines. They could manufacture the whole bed in less than an hour. And most of that time was carring the board around to the various machines. I figured it would take me at least three weeks, busting my ass from morning till night, to duplicate this task. And that was an optimistic estimate.
So you had a well financed and equipped factory dedicated to making one model of this bed. And then you had my very modest basement shop. I quickly decided that I would find something that I could do well and leave the big fancy stuff to the factories.
And if I worked for minimum wage, that bed would have costed at least three times what they were selling for. Needless to say, that deal did not happen.
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wrote: [snipped for brevity]

...and that makes you a whole lot smarter than many. I was told once that the hardest thing is to say no when you have the abilities and tools to do the job, but that the money doesn't make any sense. Many, many years ago, I built a wall unit for somebody. When I was done, I ran the whole project through a spreadsheet and those numbers revealed that I had made a whopping 60 cents per hour. That was 1976... and 60 cents per hour sucked canal water even back then.
Suffice it to say, that never happened again.
When you're up against the mega-buck mass-producers, it is best to fold and to beat them at a game they're not playing... like custom
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Pat Barber wrote:

If he has the wood, he could possibly pay a local millwork shop to machine it for him.
I wouldn't do it with a router table, either... <G>
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Keep in mind that flooring is not a straight toungue and groove operation. when cutting the tongues, the bottom is undercut by about 1/32" to allow gap-free closure on the exposed face. this applies to both the long and end grain. you also better be sure you can get good, square routing on that hard end grain or you'll have gaps where the end grain meets. It doesn't take much at all to cause this gap. Also, I'm guessing the boards aren't going to be perfectly flat. you need to come up with a way during your milling operation to keep them dead flat against your table (be it router or TS). you could wind up paying extra when you use a contractor to come back and sand the floors flat prior to staining / finishing. *Especially* if he has to sand it on the 45 prior to sanding with the grain due to lips from the milling operation. I've seen this happen. It's tough to save money going this route.
I've put down reclaimed wood flooring *once* that had the ends re-milled after being reclaimed. When I die, I will still be able to say that I've done that type of job ONCE.
If you go this route, go into it very well researched and educated or you may find yourself in over your head.
Best of luck to you

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