Monday, September 29, 2008

Pine Flooring Mill Operating in Collingwood

Here's something not many folks get to see--Wood flooring being milled. Merv starts with a round log, slices it once, flips it, slices it again, and once more until it is square. There are different settings for hardwood and soft wood when it comes to width. Slicing rough boards has to be done at different widths since it takes a wider p lank to get a flat piece of hardwood than it does pine. Merv says that is due to hardwood tending to cup more during the drying process in some cuts of wood... they just cut them all a little larger. Today, Merv is cutting pine flooring.

Obviously making pine flooring on a log mill is not a DIY activity. My uncle tells a story about a guy in Huntsville l osing an arm at a sawmill...right at the shoulder. He adds horrible comments about the blood and the tourniquet and the pick-up truck ride to the hospital.
This may look like a simple machine, and a simple thing to do however, to get a product out of something like this that is actually good enough to use takes some working out. Merv has rebuilt and reworked this machine to do what he needs it to do. And lets not forget about that under-rated thing called Experience.
When it comes to the trades--Experience is paramount.
We are going to look at the next step in making flooring soon--The drying Kiln.

Monday, September 22, 2008

About our Pine Flooring

Wide Plank Pine Flooring

Wide Plank Pine flooring is a rustic, character rich floor. Over the years it gets scratched, wounded and antiqued. If you plan to have coctail parties with ladies in high heels this is not the floor for you. This floor is very soft and things like high heels will mark the floor badly. Log homes often had full width tongue and groove boards. Over years paths will get worn into the floor and the knots will become raised. This is charm in my opinion.

Our Pine flooring is all mill run,which means there will be knots as well as some clear boards. We produce widths from 4"-16" wide so that more of the tree is used. The waste heats our shop using a wood fired hot water boiler.

We dry All our wood down to 6% moisture content in the dry kilns. Most other manufacturers only dry down to 8%. That extra 2% means far less shrinkage than 8%.

Heating the pine causes the sap to become solid which prevents shrinking and bleeding of knots. Once the floor is laid and finished there should be very little movement unless water is introduced through a leaky roof, a broken window, or a plumbing problem.

Our wide plank flooring is planed on both sides ,with relief cuts on the back to prevent cupping. It is tongue and grooved with a square edge so that when it is laid properly the joints should be very tight.

Our flooring is also a full 13/16"thick.

The lengths of our floors will be from 8'-16' long--rather than hundreds of 2' pieces like some of the boxed flooring you find.
Current Pricing for Wide Plank Pine Flooring

4"-12" random widths $2.85 square foot

14"-16" $3.65 square foot.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Why do we need to dry flooring?

Lumber for flooring needs to be dried to prevent the boards from expanding and contracting. If you have ever noticed a dead tree standing in the forest, the trunk shrinks as it dries out... and the bark is left loose.

Trees expand as they absorb moisture, and shrink as the moisture leaves. They do this primarily through the end grains. Every type of wood expands and contracts at a different rate.

If a tree is milled into lumber and air dried for a few years it may get down to about 13%. When first milled the moisture content can be as much as 55%. We take it down to 6% because we have found that to make the most stable floor. This is the same moisture content that we use for furniture.

In this photo the wood was put down wet, and it was full width ship-lap boards. No, we didn't make this floor, it is likely about 120 years old. I'd love to see if anyone can guess what type of wood it is made of. It is the only one I've ever seen.
This floor was typical 5" tongue and groove pine flooring available at any lumber yard. It is often leftover of lifts from different mills, not straight and rarely ever less than 8% moisture content. We mixed the stain to create a pleasing color.
This wide plank pine flooring was dried, milled and installed by us. I am sure you can see the difference in the size of the cracks. This is a 3 year old floor made of pine just like the last one.

You may find pine flooring "cheaper" however it may be air dryed. So once you lay the floor after some time it will shrink. So don't be careful when you find deals on cheap pine flooring.