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
way to go. Am I thinking right?
The next question is how wide to make each board? Is there an upper limit other
The last question is after planing, do I use a router table or a table saw and
I welcome advice,
"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
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. ;~)
Checkout commercially available maple flooring. Widths are in the 3
to 10" range.
A table saw would be a little tricky..... better way......a shaper or
router table (but your router better be a beast)
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
The router I'd use is an Hitachi HV12, I think it is fairly stout. Good point
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.
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).
a) it's not likely he could get anywhere near that
b) practical schmactical, a lot of woodworking has absolutely *nothing* to
do with practical
Sometimes the project is the message.... (to paraphrase McLuhan.)
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.
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
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
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?"
"Playing is not something I do at night, it's my function in life"
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".
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.
"Playing is not something I do at night, it's my function in life"
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
You didn't mention the amount of flooring you plan on
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
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
Only until you have to have the bits replaced or if they are good
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
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.
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