Friday 23 October 2009

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!”

Next row.

“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.


Blogger Unknown said...

I can hardly wait to see this, beautiful design!!

23 October 2009 at 18:19  
Blogger Konrad said...

Thanks Jim - I can hardly wait either. It has been a long time in coming - but most of the mess is done and I am finally about to do the woodworking side of it.

23 October 2009 at 19:03  
Blogger David said...

I can't hardly wait ether... this look like a crazy floor project to me... But to you...(not to my self: the guy make infill plane by hand)it's a piece of cake!!
it will look great!

23 October 2009 at 22:10  
Blogger Unknown said...

Bet the shop was amazing to work in, love the scents from qswo!

24 October 2009 at 09:27  
Blogger raney said...

I can't tell you how good it is to know you make the occasional error! That floor is going to be absolutely incredible.

24 October 2009 at 10:11  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hi David. Thanks for your confidence... after the fiasco with the forgotten slot... I am a little more worried:)

24 October 2009 at 12:37  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hey Jim,

The shop did smell pretty amazing... but sadly, my focus shifted to mind games to keep me alert and encouraged when cutting the second batch of 800 slots. Not to mention my hands got pretty sore:)


24 October 2009 at 12:38  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hey Raney - oh boy... if you only knew! Tones of errors all the time and all over the place. The trick is getting good at masking or fixing them. Thankfully this one was an oversight/miss instead of an error.

Fingers crossed.

24 October 2009 at 12:39  
Blogger Unknown said...

Is there a place where people like us can get help? This looks like something I would dig myself into! If you were me, you'd be shopping around for big oriental rugs at this point. ;-)

26 October 2009 at 17:50  
Blogger Konrad said...


I have come to realize this IS the help for our affliction. If we didn’t have stuff like this - our brains would explode.

Funny thing... already have the Persian carpet - bought it for the space before we started:) Does this means I have it really bad?


26 October 2009 at 18:14  
Blogger Art said...

That Herringbone diagram hurts my eyes. I'm a bit surprised you went through the work of setting up that diagram.

Are the outside pieces going to be oak also, or a contrasting colour?

And I'm late to the blog so I hope this wasn't covered before... the firewood box looks very cool, but I'm mystified at why you're boxing in all the rest of that "dead" space in the corner? I know you need clearance for the ducts, but there is still lots of space -- no built in bookcase/shelves going in there?

Art Mulder

29 October 2009 at 10:48  
Blogger Konrad said...


The herringbone hurts your eyes because it is a large scale moiré pattern. The diagram was drawn in Adobe Illustrator, and took very little time. It is an invaluable tool to use for simple layouts like this - and the print out makes for a great document to have on the work site. I am a firm believer in mock-up and this is as close to a mock-up as I can get.

The outside pieces are going to be quarter sawn oak as well.

The “dead space” is there because of fire code - and to make room for ducting, and because sometimes, dead space results in something looking better in the end. I don’t mind giving up the floor space if the end result is worth it.

29 October 2009 at 11:53  

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