Wednesday, June 25, 2008

On the Straight and Narrow

Yesterday I started going through my salvaged flooring that I'll be putting down on the back porch. I will be using vertical grain fir tongue and groove flooring, just like was originally on the porch. I weeded out boards that either were missing the bottom groove or a tongue, or had surface damage.

I had Rowan use her calculator to see how many boards I would need by dividing 115 (inches of porch length) by 3.25 (width of each board) Her answer was 35.38. I said that meant 36 boards, plus two more for the overhang outside the edge of the 2 x 8 frame. That meant I needed 38 boards. I got a sharp glance from the ten year old who said, "Dad, just make sure you have 40 boards."

I used 53 inches as my rough length, finished length should be 51.5. Many of my salvaged boards were over 9 feet long so I was getting two shorts out of each. When I had finished with what was good, I had a total of 42 boards.

Here is what they looked like when I was cutting them to length:


I started to clean them by using my mixture of denatured alcohol and lacquer thinner with steel wool and realized this was going to take a LONG TIME.
Pete stopped over to drop his saws off to me and help with the 1 x 8 sheathing that goes over the porch frame. He suggested that I call Taryl to see if I could use his planer.

Since Lisa was at an administrator workshop I took the girls with me and went to Taryl's last night. The planer was sweet. For most boards I took off about 1/64th of an inch. Here is an example of the "after":


I will hit the places that aren't clean yet with a random orbital sander today.

But was even better was that the girls got to swim for an hour in Taryl's pool AND feed his horses.

So the upshot is that my kids have volunteered my labor for any project Taryl needs help with in order to get pool time.

And the way this all ties into today's title? The reason for using vertical grain fir on a porch is that with the grain running up and down rather than horizontally the boards are much more resistant to rain and cupping since they will be outside, even if they are covered by a roof:

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