825 herring bones later
The herringbone flooring is now prepared. The QS white oak was supplied in three different lengths - 17-1/2", 35" and 52"... give or take a quarter inch. These dimensions were then cross cut on a dedicated sled to produce pieces that are 16-1/2" long.
After that - I needed to cut a dado in the ends to house the tongue. This was also done using a cross cut sled. The flooring is 3/4" thick with a 1/4" x 1/4" tongue and corresponding groove. The dado in the end is not really functional - it just needs to provide enough clearance for the pieces to fit together properly. I chose to cut a slightly over sized dado - just under 5/16" x 5/16". I used a stacked dado head in the table saw. Here is the setup.
I have several different cross cut sleds - some for cutting dados, others for various types of cross cuts. I used a small cross cut sled as a base and then built a simple but accurate jig to fit within the sled. Above is a photo of what it looks like.
And a top view.
And a shot of how the flooring piece was oriented for the cut. I chose to reference the bottom of the flooring instead of the top. Slight variations to the top will be sanded down once the floor is installed... the bottom is a fixed surface. In hindsight, the flooring was so consistent in thickness, that it likely didn’t matter.
I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly everything went. I broke the slot cutting into smaller bits - batches of 100 pieces. I would do 100, take a break and work on some Lego with the kids, do another 100... stop for some lunch. It worked out very well, and all the pieces were done over the weekend.
Here is a screen shot of the scale drawing. There is a pesky offset to the room - you can see it along the bottom edge of the drawing. This posed a bit of a problem with regards to the patterning of the herringbone. The solution was to remove a single strip of the border along the left bottom edge. If you look closely, the border changes from 3 strips to 4 strips in a few places, but I don’t think this will be noticeable once the room is done and the furniture is in. Well... now you all know.
Confession time. I wrote this post last week and have been sitting on it. Jill and I decided to bring all the herringbone flooring into the livingroom to let it sit (but really - I needed my workbench and shop space back). We made about 4 trips and had about 250 pieces in when for some strange reason, I decided to sit on the floor and see how everything fit together. I made a jig to help start each new row and used this to put a few bones together.
“left side, right side, left side, right side... this is looking wicked!”
“wait a minute... where did that tongue come from - this doesn’t fit?”
“ what the... I need a slot in the other end too?”
“maybe there is a left hand piece and a right hand piece?”
So I went to the computer and did a search. Found a Bob Vila video showing how a herringbone floor is installed. Within the first minute I hear “...there is a groove on all 3 sides.”
I walked downstairs with my tail between my legs, dragged out the 250 pieces we already had in the livingroom, and cut another 825 slots in the other ends. Better now than after the first row is installed I suppose.