wide(?) plank flooring

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by freebern, Sep 6, 2004.

  1. freebern

    freebern New Member

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    I have logged a good douglas fir, and will mill to some size(?) for
    air drying. I am looking for advice on the sizing. The floor will be
    for human use albeit old fashioned, ie. imperfections possibly ok!
     
  2. OD

    OD Well-Known Member

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    We used oak from a sawmill for our floor. The boards vary from 4 1/2 inches to 15 inches wide. They were air dried for 3 years in the barn, & still shrunk some.
    I will be glad to tell you what I have learned if you have other questions.
     

  3. freebern

    freebern New Member

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    Thanks for the reply. I am inclined to air dry over the winter and next summer, out of doors, as the wind is what dries well. And I believe I will mill to 3/4 inch thickness and about 5 inches wide. Any one out there, from the NW perhaps, who has done same with their own trees, or any suggestions as to where I might inquire?
     
  4. goatlady

    goatlady Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I was under the impression fir was a soft wood and that soft woods did not hold up well as flooring as it tends to dent when something is dropped on it, and scratch, and scar, and furniture has a tendency to sink down a bit into the softer wood. I thought that was why most wood floors are oak cause it's soooo hard.
     
  5. retired03

    retired03 Member

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    My house is about 150 years old and has pine floors. The wood is over an inch thick. In order to fill a hole where the chimney used to be I will have to place a piece of plywood in and cover with flooring.

    As wood ages it does get harder. My floor wears like iron now. A bed frame standing on end fell on the floor with no dent to the floor. Nails don't work to well in it.
     
  6. Blu3duk

    Blu3duk Well-Known Member

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    I own a portable sawmill, ive sawn only in Idaho, and have put quite a few boards out that ended up on peoples floors to walk on.....

    In my personal opinion western larch is the best you can find for hardness in the pacific northwest, due in part to the slow growing and tight growth rings, Doug fir follows if grown in a good draw/canyon so that you have few knots to contrend with. I have sawn western white pine from dead logs from the Yakk River area in Montana that went a a fellas floor, and the only thing he was concerned about was the spike high heels his wife sometimes wore until it completely dried out after a few years.

    As for thickness, if you inten to run it through a surface planer have it cut 4/4 and plane it down to one size after it has ample time to dry..... Place stickers every 18 inches and out to the very ends of the boards to avoid splitting while it drys, you can spped up drying time by covering with black plastic and keeping the plastic off the lumber by a foot or so, and setting up a small fan [dc voltage off a solar panel even] and letting the sun help dry it some... the fan takes away the moisture and really does noting to dry the boards.....

    Adding a thin layer of salt and sawdust to each layer of boards is what one company i know of in California used to do with their oak years ago..... the salt tends to also take away excess tanic acid from the oak so im told.... so it would have a similar effect on Douglas Fir.

    As for width, stay with a small width and have as much of your material "quarter sawn" as possible to have as many verticle grain boards as you can. the closer the grain the less over time it will shrink. the more verticle the less chance of warpage, propeller twist, and so forth you will experience from green wood.

    When you get ready to lay your flooring, have 2 table saws set up to trim a blade width from your narrow boards [each side], and anything over that from your wider boards, thereby getting as uniform layout as anyone will get with the exception of a T & G hardwood floor [including western larch which ive sold before already]..... this will also true up those boards so you dont get all bent out of shape when in laying the floor.

    Shrinkage will vary in every log and board cut, the boards from the outer edge of a log have a tendacy to shrink more than those from the inner log, and will curve and twist more with drying faster on one side than the other [laying flat looking down the length of the boards similar to looking at a crown of a board].

    Hope i helped some.... any questions give me hollar. and pleez furgive muh spellin, its past my bedtime tonite.

    William
     
  7. FolioMark

    FolioMark In Remembrance

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    Well this is just my opinion but if you look at a lot of really old plank floors the boards are not all uniform in width at all. I laid pine board floors in my house and i used 1x6, 1x8 and 1x10 and just laid them randomly as the spirit moved me. The lack of uniformity makes it look a lot older at least to my eye. :)