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07th March 2011


We are to the final stages of demolition on the interior of the house. The final demolition is on the the wood floor. Originally, the house had two floor furnaces on the first floor. When they added forced heat and air they simply framed the large opening for the smaller ducts and covered the holes with plywood and either carpeted or tiled over the the entire floor. Although the floor is not in good shape cosmetically, the good news is that the carpet and tile protected the wood from further wear. It appears that the floor had only been sanded one time after installation so there is plenty of wood left to refinish. The only two places were the wood floor is suspect is at the front door entry near the threshold, which is rotting, and at the top of the stairs in the hallway. The hallway between the bedrooms and bath is stained, cupped and uneven.  Hopefully with sanding and filling it will look fine, but that remains to be seen. We will deal with this if needed.

Since we needed to find some wood to patch the holes left by the furnaces and the entry was in bad shape near the frond door we decided to remove the flooring, cut out the rotted wood and use the slats to repair the holes. Removing the flooring is not difficult. I started by sawing down the center. This made it possible to pry up the mortised side of the slat, which in turn gave me enough room to separate the tenon side. This was the only slat that was completely wasted, but since all of the slats are interlocked I had no choice.

Once the first piece was out the process gets much easier. You want to pull from the nailed tenon end pry directly under the nails. this will minimize splintering and splitting of the slats. If there is a join you want pry on both sides of the joint. the joint will seperate cleanly and you can easily remove the slats.

One all of the slats were removed, I put down tar paper and 1/2 inch plywood subfloor and glued some walnut parquet flooring we had left over from a previous project.

The patching process is much more tedious. It’s not difficult just time consuming.To help hide the patch the joints need to be staggered. Typically the stagger should be random at least 12 inches. Unfortunately I didn’t have enough wood to go tho this extreme so i decided to stagger the joints much closer. We will see how it looks when finished. The first step is to mark a line perpendicular to the slat. I used a vibrating saw to make a plunge cut tilting the blade slightly forward. this slight angle will make it easier for the new piece to butt cleanly to the cut. Using a small chisel and hammer, I slid the cut piece out.

Installing the patch is pretty straight forward. Starting at the side with the tenon, I simply cut and blind nailed several places along the tenon on of each slat. The last slat I removed the bottom lip of the tenon and planed the width to fit the last slot. I then inserted the tenon side  and using a thin scraper on the mortise side to pry and help slide  the final piece into place. It’s ready fro sanding and finishing which we hope to get to next weekend.


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