Thursday, July 06, 2006

The Real DIY Flooring : Part 1

One of the common comments we get about our timber frame project is that it is off the charts regarding the way we are doing it. Some times we take the DIY thing a bit too far. We are about 1/3 the way through installing our Southern Yellow Pine plank flooring using cut nails and I think this is the case with this project. Here is Part 1 of the DIY process for wood flooring.

The flooring process started last September when we had Mr Gentry spend a day clearing a small section of land next to our house. It is the envelope of the next house. In a few hours he was able to do weeks and weeks worth of work that we could do with our chain saw and 1941 Farmall. All the logs were cut into 12-6 lengths and stacked. The trees are about 80 years old with minimal branches until you get to about 50 ft up. At the but end they were between 18 and 24" in diameter.

With the logs in one place we rough cut the flooring in two sizes (1 by 4's and 1 by 6's) to keep the installation a bit more sane. The cutting took several weeks working evenings and weekends. All the flooring was cut with our Lumbermate 2000.

We loaded the green rough boards into the solar kiln and stickered it (1x1 wood strips to help maintain air flow between the boards). This is the second charge for the kiln. The first was the roof decking which was dried down over the winter. It is amazing how fast and well it works. In January it was able to dry air dried (~16% moisture content) to 6-8% in one month. The temperatures were getting up to 120 deg F. This charge took a few weeks to get up to temperature since there was a lot more water to drive off but the temps were getting up to ~140 deg F during the month of June. We were able to take the wood from >30 % moisture content to 6-8% in a month. The kiln has no heat source other than the sun and it uses two attic fans to circulate the air. We are able to load about 1200 to 1400 board feet of wood into the kiln.

At the end of June we off loaded the kiln into the house to acclimate for a week and started to nail down the floor.

To be continued.....


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