reclaimed Oak floor circa 1925...
Please any tips for saving & ripping up an old tongue and groove red oak
floor, 3/4 x 2 1/4". Is it still usable to a floor guy if a groove is
broken or gone ( esp bottom groove)? tips for backing the nails out?
Jim ( electrician )
No, if the toungue is gone or the groove chipped, no one is going to
want to go to the trouble to re-use it. Except, of course a dedicated
rec'er who might just re-mill it to slightly narrower width.
It's almost impossible to remove w/o significant damage, unfortunately.
Yeah, it's hard to imagine even the cheapest floor guy being interested
in it. The damage will pretty much exclusively be to the tongues and
grooves so lots of woodorkers would be happy to just rip those off
and rejoint, replane it to small width oak. I'm one such person,
indeed I have a bunch of flooring like that now, in random widths up
to about 10"--way too wide for normal flooring, this was from a
restaraunt being remodeled.
The nails generally can be backed out easily just by hammering on the
point to raise the head and then pulling with a nail puller or claw
hammer. Often cut nails are used, those are tapered so once you get
them started out they come out easy. This presumes you have pulled the
flooring up and then pull the nails out.
I can't think of any easy way to get the nails out first.
You could reuse them for laminated oak projects. Don't throw it out, you
might be sorry down the road. A recycle shed might be a good idea as
: Duane Bozarth wrote:
: > JJ Electrical wrote:
: > >
: > > reclaimed Oak floor circa 1925...
: > >
: > > Please any tips for saving & ripping up an old tongue and groove red oak
: > > floor, 3/4 x 2 1/4". Is it still usable to a floor guy if a groove is
: > > broken or gone ( esp bottom groove)? tips for backing the nails out?
: > >
: > > Jim ( electrician )
: > No, if the toungue is gone or the groove chipped, no one is going to
: > want to go to the trouble to re-use it. Except, of course a dedicated
: > rec'er who might just re-mill it to slightly narrower width.
: > It's almost impossible to remove w/o significant damage, unfortunately.
: Yeah, it's hard to imagine even the cheapest floor guy being interested
: in it. The damage will pretty much exclusively be to the tongues and
: grooves so lots of woodorkers would be happy to just rip those off
: and rejoint, replane it to small width oak. I'm one such person,
: indeed I have a bunch of flooring like that now, in random widths up
: to about 10"--way too wide for normal flooring, this was from a
: restaraunt being remodeled.
: The nails generally can be backed out easily just by hammering on the
: point to raise the head and then pulling with a nail puller or claw
: hammer. Often cut nails are used, those are tapered so once you get
: them started out they come out easy. This presumes you have pulled the
: flooring up and then pull the nails out.
: I can't think of any easy way to get the nails out first.
Thanks everybody! I pulled about 200 sq feet up last night (not easy), and
about half of the boards have split or broken grooves, most of the tongues
are ok. The nice thing about this floor is it was very well taken care of
and only refinished once, it also is extremely clear. How much would this
red oak cost new today?? ( and would it be this clear?)
I must be the odd one out, as I have and still do re-use floor-boards in
pretty sorry state.
It all depends on just how bad the damage is, of course. If the damage is
less than 6" in length (usually at the ends) I use them as is. Should it be
a couple of feet I'll trim that section out (throwing it into my odds'n'sods
pile for other projects) and use the remaining lengths. The odd short board
in a floor looks good, so long as you keep an eye on where the joints are in
the adjoining boards.
A rule of thumb is to make sure that the nearest joints in the 4 adjoining
boards (2 on each side) are _at_least_ a couple of feet away.
For longer lengths, I put that board aside to use along walls, etc. where
it's not of vital import. Of course, if *every* board is damaged I
wouldn't recommend their re-use unless both you and the homeowner (assuming
they're not the same) know what you're doing.
But the question as I read was whether a pro would want it--and I'd
guess very few would be willing to invest the extra time/effort unless
it was to match/repair and existing floor...
W/ us here, in general, all bets are off as it's a challenge to
use/reuse stuff... :)
(It would probably be hard for most any non-rec'er to imagine the
initial condition of some of the material I've salvaged and reused in
the barn restoration.)
Ahhh... I just reread the post and I think you're right about the question.
I 'm not a pro; I don't earn my $ laying floors on a daily basis. But I am
the bloke a friend (who is a pro) calls in when he has to lay old boards in
a new house. In other words, I'm the sucker who gets lumbered with the jobs
the pro didn't want but got stuck with. Even over-quoting doesn't work if
the customer thinks "he must be good to ask that much!" Fortunately, it's
only once every coupla years or so...
And that's why I'm here. To learn alternate methods for turning sawdust
into cabinets. My methods are sufficient to keep my customers happy, I
wanna learn how to make things with which *I* am happy. As I'm sure you
know, there's a big difference. <G>
Oh, I dunno. The ol' kerbside shop has been one of my staple suppliers for
as long as I can remember and, so long as 'tis bug-free and doesn't turn to
dust at first glance, it all gets used one way or another. Errm... and
sometimes even if it isn't bug-free.
Oh, and I should add I have a slightly different perspective to you on
Where you are Red Oak might be considered a throwaway. Here it's an exotic
import. That makes a difference and although I realise he was asking
locally, the net makes you all seem so close that I sometimes forget where
you are. [shrug]
Yes, red oak while not "throwaway" (anymore at least, <no> decent
hardwood is that anymore) is certainly one of the more common and less
expensive in the US, particularly, of course in the Eastern half...
Many red oaks are moderately fast growing, and they are widespread in
so it is not particularly hard to find clear red oak even today
in narrow sections. Old growth red oak (tight growth rings) is
of course. Wood prices vary enormously with distance from the native
range. In Panama, mahogany is cheap, red oak is expensive. On the
East Coast of the US red oak is a common pallet wood. The price also
rises rapidly as the lumber changes hands from the feller to the sawyer
to the wholesaler to the retailer.
Thin and narrow boards are sold as 'hobby wood' in the local Home
I've seen poplar, pine, aspen and red oak there. Those floor boards
would readily convert to 'hobby wood' sizes. If the underside is
or otherwise relieved as is common with flooring today (so it doesn't
rock on the subfloor) then once that face is planed flat you'd have
something like 1/2" to maybe 5/8" thick.
Figuring you get 3" wide, I'd guess comparable red oak hobby wood
would be around $0.50/linear foot, just a rough guess. Could easily
be twice or half that. That works out to a terribly high price per
board foot but with hobby woods you're paying for all the work done
to mill it into those small sizes as well as for all the sawdust
that was made in the process.
For uses for that wood, Google for 'pencil box'. It would be great
also for smallish drawer casings, clock cases, any sort of
small box where the thinness is not a problem. You would not
necessarily have to plane off the grooves for some applications,
if they won't show or you can explain them as an artistic element.
If any of it was quarter sawn (again, Google is your friend) then
it would be good for jewelry boxes.
And as another person has pointed out, it can be laminated back up
into thicker sections, or resawn to 1/4" thick for bent wood.
Thank you everyone for all the messages. I got another 100 sqft and removed
all the nails today, almost as hard as pulling up the floor. The tops of
these boards are perfect (except the butt ends that were under the quarter
round) and I am going to reuse all this floor, even if I have to put screws
and oak plugs in the ends.
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