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Using wide boards

2144 Views 3 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  Marco
As part of a subfloors-up restoration of a 170 year-old house I located 950 feet of 12 year-old white ash stored in a second story barn with good ventilation.

It planed down to 1", mainly 8" and 6", eight and twelve footers. Most of it is clear and superior to the red oak I found in the same location.

It will go down across 1 1/4" subfloor planks, tongue and grooved, but cupped in many places. If it looks too bad I'll sand some humps off.

I trimmed up a load of the stock yesterday to 7 3/8" and 5 3/8", with the rest at 5". The boards all jointed to a straight line. There is almost no twisting, though many boards are bowed in the middle. I figure if I stand on them they'll go down o.k., if I can get them through the shaper.

1. Is 1" all right or should I cut the stock down to keep the nailer happy?

2. Is 8" too wide? I am prepared to drill and plug, as necessary, being an old boat man. This is an early Canadian house and I'm not very interested in having a seamless floor. I figure on a nice, even 1/8" gap between boards by next March, after shrinkage.

3. What do you recommend as a nailer/stapler? I'm leaning toward the heaviest pneumatic cleat nailer I can afford, but I've heard that a hammer-driven model sometimes works better in old houses.

Thanks for your comments,

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First, you are one lucky man. How come I never find anything like that?

12 yr. old wood is pretty well seasoned, I wouldn't expect it to shrink too much more. Wide boards will be effected by humidity, bear this in mind when you put them down. If the humidity is low you may need to space them, I use those fake credit cards that they are forever mailing me.

Here's an old trick for dealing with cupped boards. Lay them on the grass with the cupped side down. The sun will dry (shrink) one side and the humidity from the ground will expand the other. Be ready to install when it gets flat.

8" is not too wide, I have 12" oak through a good portion of one of my homes. It is also 1" thick, all hand nailed and has lots of plugged screws. I grew up with old wooden boats.
Nailer selection

-- snip --
I'm looking at nailers on the Net and am likely to buy a Primatec 210, a local variant of the SHF50, to judge by the pictures and features.

My flooring cutters came today and the tongue is almost 2/3 of the way down the 1" board.

The Primatec claims to need an optional kit to nail 33/32 flooring, though it is fine for 3/4".

Question: How will a regular, 3/4" nailer react to 1" material and a tongue a long way down the face of the board? One answer was that I should simply use 2" nails and go for it, but it's been 20 years since I have used a flooring nailer. If someone would be kind enough to explain how the nail finds its way through the flooring, and how much it depends upon the location of the tongue, it might save me some grief in the store tomorrow morning.


You need to change the face plate.
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