Monday, July 04, 2005

Happy Forth of July!

I’m sure many proud Americans will be out celebrating the birth of our nation today by blowing up a small portion of it, but I’m going to continue with the floor installation. If I can manage to keep my eyes open past 9:30, which is doubtful, I going to meet some friends to see the fireworks at 10:00. If I am too pooped, though, I will be able to see them from the second story windows on the north side of my house. That’s if the fog doesn’t roll back in. The last 2 years we’ve been lucky, but I don’t feel good about this one.

But enough about this relatively boring annual event, lets get back to the exciting once-in-a-lifetime event of installing a wood floor in the kitchen. For those of you that don’t keep up, I’m putting in a salvage, 1X6, old-growth fir floor in the kitchen. This guy takes ancient 3X12 floor joists from Alaska and re-mills them in to 1X6 T&G flooring. This stuff is hard as a rock. Take a look at how tight the grain is in the pictures below.

Besides the large splinter that has nestled itself under the nail of my left index finger and has now become infected, the installation has been somewhat painless up to this point. I’m nearing the half-way point and it is obvious I do not have enough wood. There are 2 reasons I’m going to run short.

First, I’m almost positive I used the wrong numbers to order the wood. I have a clipboard with floor plans of the house that I did on the computer. About 2 years ago I measured all 3 dimensions of every room in the house when I was doing a heat-loss calculation. In addition to this, I have a blow-up floor plan of just the kitchen. In one of the margins I have some notes about ordering a tin-ceiling for the kitchen. This idea was nudged out of the plan due to budget constraints and the vagaries of the every changing lifestyles of today’s busy modern family - I’m broke, and couldn’t afford it. Anyway, at the bottom of all the notes in the margin it says 285 sq. ft. in big numbers. However, there is a small alcove that is 20 sq. ft. that has a different ceiling than the main kitchen, and there were going to be floor to ceiling cabinets in the main kitchen that would not get the tin-ceiling. Altogether, this makes up about 35 sq. ft.. So the kitchen is really closer to 320 sq. ft. Doh!!

The second problem is because this is salvage there is a lot of waste. A lot more than if I were putting in a traditional wood floor. I ordered 315 sq. ft. of flooring to account for some waste, and the mill owner, who, believe it or not, delivered the wood himself due to a last minute snag with shipping, said he added some extra. It was a 600 mile round trip for him and his wife to deliver the wood. Talk about your old-world service!

As I said, I accounted for waste, but there is more than I anticipated. The last 8 to 12 inches of each board is useless. Below is a picture of what would be considered a good end. In some bad instances I start with a 12 foot board and maybe get 6 feet of usable wood out of it due to holes and gouges. Other times I’ll have a 16 foot board that is 95% usable. This I can deal with. What I am disappointed with are the boards that are not usable at all. I have close to 100 feet of boards that are completely useless because they were milled too thin or too narrow. I have boards that are only 1/2 inch thinck and have no full groove and others that have no tongue or only a partial groove.

When we were unloading the wood last week I mentioned to the mill owner that the condition of some of the boards was not what I expected. He looked me in the eye and said, “I will make this right. If you run short I’ll get you more”. I trust him. The plan today is, I’m going to install as much as I can and the cull the rest and find out how much I’m short. I’ll get on the phone with him tomorrow and see what we can work out. This will work, it is just going to take a little longer than I anticipated.


Shane said...

If you don't mind me asking, does the fella you get your fir from have a website or a contact email? I need to get a small amount of it to replace some pieces on my flooring where a kitchen was that shouldn't have been a kitchen :)

Btw - I realize this is a really old post, I just started reading your blog from old to new the other day and this is as far as I have gotten so far :)

Greg said...


I'm not sure which fir you're talking about. The only fir I've bought was for the kitchen floor. Even if I still knew how to get a hold of that guy I wouldn't advise it. He was a hack and I would never want to deal with him again.