Recommend table saw for hardwood floor installation

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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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Bill

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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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"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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Unless you are in need of the miter and/or compound features of the chop saw, my vote goes for the table saw. You can do many more different cuts with a table saw than with a chop saw.
If you buy a inexpensive saw be sure to buy a good carbide tipped blade for it, it will make all the difference in the world. If it's one of the smaller, table top types of saw, get some cheap roller stands and/or make some provision to support longer pieces.

DJ
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I just found this web site and so this may be of no use to you. I used to have a business installing and refinishing hardwood floors. Your tool needs are of course based on a few criteria. First the type of flooring you will be using. If you are installing the standard tounge and groove strip flooring measuring 2. 1/2" wide by 3/4 inches thick in random lengths then any chop saw will work. If you don't plan to use the tool a lot after this project then I would go for an inexpensive brand and spend the money for a good blade. Freud is a decent brand of blade available at most home improvement stores. An 8 1/4 inch saw will be adequate. Delta makes a good one for less than $100.00. This next issue is where I disagree with most of the answers you seem to have gotten.If the dimensions of your room will require cutting any boards lengthwise (ripping) then you are only safe using a table saw. In addition a table saw will include a miter attatchment which will work just as well to cut any short ends to length or at an angle.If you are installing a plank floor ( board widths greater that 3.5 " then you will have to have a chop saw wth a 10 to 12" blade which is quite a bit more expensive. Here again the table saw will do any width. If you plan to install laminate flooring the table saw again is your best bet. However with laminate flooring you will need to use a blade made for this type of material. These blades have more teeth. Again with the table saw spend less on the saw and more on the blade. A carbide blade is best and a small 10' benchtop saw will do nicely. The saws are also available on-line or from companies like Harbor Frieght Tools or the Tool Crib. The short of it is the same advice I give to any novice woodworker asking what the one most useful cutting tool is. The table saw is the most widely useful tool in woodworking of any kind. If you have any other questions on this matter feel free to e-mail me. snipped-for-privacy@bresnam.net. Also if you opt for my advice invest in a good push block and safety glasses and follow the safety instructions included with the tool. A power saw will not even slow down as your fingers pass through the blade!
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Thanks for your detailed reply. I plan to install standard 3/4" T&G flooring in 3" or 4" widths. So looks like I need to get a 10" miter saw and a smallish table saw.
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Or, a nonish table saw. Or, you don't really need a miter saw. For the few boards you're going to rip, you could easily get them ripped by someone with a table saw and the miter would perform most of the work you'll need to do. On the other hand, my father laid the maple floors in the house I grew up in using only a table saw. You can easily get very precise cross cuts on the table saw and then you don't need the miter. You can spend more money on a betterish table saw that way.
It really comes down to what you want to end up with after the job. If you're going to be doing woodworking then either tool is a good tool to have in your shop, but depending on what kind of projects you envision yourself getting into, one might be a better first tool to have in the long run.
Of course, when faced with a project, there just is no better reason to go out and buy tools. Lots of tools. Hell, buy both saws, but don't buy a smallish table saw. Buy a biggerish table saw.
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