parquet floor layout

Hey folks,
I am planning a custom parquet floor which I will be installing as a christmas gift for my mother. It's going to go in an L-shaped hallway, and will be composed of a continuous outer band of quarter sawn white oak, then a border composed of cherry diamonds (square shaped) in a field of hard maple, another band of white oak, then a field with a basket-weave white oak grid filled with triangular hard maple pieces, each square finished with a small square of cherry in the middle. I'm confident in my ability to build it, if I could only lay it out in a way that works. The problem I'm having is in figuring out the size and spacing of the diamonds in the border. I need to figure out a size where all the diamonds will be equal in size and meet up in a continuous band with no gaps or partial pieces. This is greatly complicated by the shape of the room:
_______________________ | 62" (2) | | | |79" (1) 55"| | (8)| | | | ------------------------------------- | 111" (7) | | 35"| | 39" (3) (6) | ---------------- 134" (5) | step |9"_(4)_____________________________________|
(Sorry for the questionable ascii art :)
The outer border will be used to correct for the space not being square at the corners. I am currently assuming that a 3" border will be sufficient to achieve this, so the dimensions for calculating the border are as follows (after subtracting 2x3 from sides 1,2,5 and 6), where x is the width of the border (also the size of a "square" of the border, which I currently don't know, and is what I'm trying to find out):
(1) 73" (2) 56" (3) 39+x" (4) 9+x" (5) 128" (6) 29" (7) 111+x" (8) 55+x"
So basically I need to solve for x and, being a dunce at math, I have no idea how to do so. Any mathmeticians or engineers out there looking for a challenge? ;) Seriously though, I'm sure there has to be a formula for doing this. While I'm at it, I might as well also ask if there's a formula to figure out the optimal size for the squares within the field. Could be the same formula, I have no idea :) Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks a lot folks!
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Erm, I guess I should clarify that x has to be a factor of all 8 numbers that divides it without a remainder (there's probably a three-dollar word for this, which I forgot to learn in any of my math classes :p), otherwise it makes it much too easy to figure out :)
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Adam Diehl wrote:

Adam...
I'm having a bit of difficulty understanding your drawing.
At the "west" end of the hall I add 79" and 9" and get 88" between the "north" and "south" walls.
At the "east" end I add 55" + 35" and get 90" between the "north" and "south" walls.
What is your measurement between points *A* and *B* ?
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Morris Dovey
DeSoto Solar
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Morris Dovey wrote:

Yes, that's right.

I chalk this up as the structure not being perfectly square

I actually did not measure A to B as you've marked. I probably should go back and get this measurement, but for purposes of laying out the border, I'm not sure it matters. The plan is to use the the outer border to absorb such squareness anomalies (it wouldn't actually be a continuous 3" all around, since it would be cut in a way to make all the corners inside the field square and opposing faces parallel to one another to facilitate installing pre-cut squares of parquet) Assumption 1 is that a maximum width of 3" would be sufficient to do this, so that subtracting 6" from each side that has two inside corners would result in the actual length the border must span. Assumption 2 is that by installing equal width pieces at each side of an outside corner, the width to span by border would remain constant. Perhaps I'm thinking about this all wrong... DAGS was largely unproductive, so I'm turning to you folks to set me straight if this approach won't work, or if there's a better way in general. Better to find out now than when I go to install it... :)
Actually, the more I think about it, the better an idea it sounds to just forget about trying to make it all divide up equally and just get most of them to divide up and making some "special" blocks (maybe some fancy inlay or something) to stick in strategic locations in walls where it doesn't work out evenly. Er, make it a feature rather than a fix, as it were. I dunno.. if there's a reasonably easy way to do it without resorting to this, I'd rather go that way, but if it's more trouble than it's worth, I'll do the spacer blocks instead. Let me know what you think....
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Adam Diehl wrote:

Adam...
I'm neither carpentry or cabinetry guru. I've pulled up my CAD program and was just tinkering to see how it might work out. What you say about absorbing the variances in the border sounds like it'll probably work - but there's enough work and material involved that I'd think you'll want to draw an accurate floor plan before committing resources.
I'll play with it some more - but not tonight - and post anything that looks like it might be interesting. If it strikes me as "gee-whiz" I'll convert to an image and drop it into ABPW for criticism so we both learn. (-:
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DeSoto Solar
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Morris Dovey wrote:

Lacking a CAD program get some graph paper and lay it out 1 square to the inch. Get accurate measurements from squared off corners, you will have to create these inside the area. Snap chalk lines if possible at the 3" +/- line you want to use and use those measurements to figure out tile size. If there's not a close enough value for them consider changing the border width in or out in the long or short direction, or both. Just looking at it the critical part seems to be at the jog where, according to the given measurements given, you'll have a 17" x 18" area to fill between the corners of 3-4 and 8-7. There's your first adjustment to the border area, but probably not the last. Joe
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Got the graph paper yesterday afternoon actually :) It's a large size, with 1" squares and 10 subdivisions within each square, so I'm doing 1/10 scale based on the measurements in inches (so 17.3" for the 173" for instance). It sure beats blank 8.5x11 so far, but I havn't tried to do any figuring of square sizes yet, so I guess time will tell.

Oooh, hadn't thought of doing that. That's a great idea. I'll probably be able to go over there and do that tomorrow. I'll post my findings after I get it done.

I read this as "change the width of the outer band of oak to make the cherry/maple border longer or shorter in a dimension" Is that what you meant, or am I misinterpreting? I'd thought about that, but wasn't sure if it would work or not, because it seems to me that you end up creating a gap somewhere else by adjusting in one spot. I couldn't think of a way to get around that, but if there is one, I'd love to know it :)

That was my suspicion, especially given the 9" side of the step. There's not very many ways to divide that up and still end up with pieces that are scaled appropriately. I will have to see what all the measurements are after doing the squared-up chalk lines and see what happens I guess... Thanks again for the advice!
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Yes, the more I tinker, the more I realize the measurements I took aren't sufficient to figure out the exact dimensions I need for each square.

Cool, I'm anxious to see what you can come up with. My hand drawings have been helpful, but when things don't come out quite right I can never be sure whether it's the calculations that are off or my drawing. Thanks!
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