Milling Your Own Flooring

      Sawmill operator asks about the wisdom of milling up some mesquite flooring, and gets opinions both ways — along with some practical tips. October 4, 2005

Question
Making mesquite flooring Brian B. Cooper 3/23
I am looking for some advice on milling up my own hardwood flooring. I own a sawmill and cut mostly mesquite, and I want to install mesquite flooring in my living room. I am looking for some advice on the best way to process my rough cut lumber into tongue and groove flooring with my personal wood working tools (table saw, planer, shaper, drum sander, etc.). For instance, what would be the best bits to use for cutting the tongue and grooves?

Forum Responses
(Architectural Woodworking Forum)
From contributor F:
I know someone who had a sawmill and was given a large black walnut tree. He made all the flooring for his kitchen and dining room in a rather large custom home that he built himself. I don’t remember a single complaint or regret from him about it. You seem plenty tooled up to do the job.

First, get the lumber as dry as you can in your climate (I am thinking with mesquite, you must be in a hot region) My friend made his floor with air dried stock near Santa Cruz, California. Then, saw to your finished width plus about .25" over size across the grain.

If you have a jointer, face joint the stock to flatten and straighten it (if you’re a fussy type). If not, go directly to the planer with it. Just remember, boards tend to go hollow length wise on the face that material is removed from. You can use this knowledge to your advantage in keeping the boards straight as you plane them to finish size.

When planed to finish thickness, either use a jointer to straighten the concave (hollow) edge, or make a table saw straightening device/jig to do that. Now, rip the stock to finish width using of course the straightened edge against the saw fence. You can leave them .03125" wider than net size and gang-plane the edges smooth, or use a groove setup that cuts the groove and at the same time machines the edges of the board on either side of the groove.

After looking at your machinery list I would suggest that you buy tongue and groove cutters for your shaper and run your prepared stock on through. A power feed would be nice, but hold downs and feather boards will get you through one floor. Running your pieces once should work fine with the right cutters set up properly.



From contributor L:
If you have a power-feeder for your shaper then I would suggest that you pick up some tongue and groove cutters or a 30-40 mm head with tongue and groove knives and use your shaper. Use an outboard fence and every piece will be close to the same size. With the right head, and running your stock face down you should only have to change the knives for the two setups.



Would you like to add information to this article?
Interested in writing or submitting an article?
Have a question about this article?


Have you reviewed the related Knowledge Base areas below?
  • KnowledgeBase: Knowledge Base

  • KnowledgeBase: Architectural Millwork

  • KnowledgeBase: Architectural Millwork: Flooring


    Would you like to add information to this article? ... Click Here

    If you have a question regarding a Knowledge Base article, your best chance at uncovering an answer is to search the entire Knowledge Base for related articles or to post your question at the appropriate WOODWEB Forum. Before posting your message, be sure to
    review our Forum Guidelines.

    Questions entered in the Knowledge Base Article comment form will not generate responses! A list of WOODWEB Forums can be found at WOODWEB's Site Map.

    When you post your question at the Forum, be sure to include references to the Knowledge Base article that inspired your question. The more information you provide with your question, the better your chances are of receiving responses.

    Return to beginning of article.



    Refer a Friend || Read This Important Information || Site Map || Privacy Policy || Site User Agreement

    Letters, questions or comments? E-Mail us and let us know what you think. Be sure to review our Frequently Asked Questions page.

    Contact us to discuss advertising or to report problems with this site.

    To report a problem, send an e-mail to our Webmaster

    Copyright © 1996-2014 - WOODWEB ® Inc.
    All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any manner without permission of the Editor.
    Review WOODWEB's Copyright Policy.

    The editors, writers, and staff at WOODWEB try to promote safe practices. What is safe for one woodworker under certain conditions may not be safe for others in different circumstances. Readers should undertake the use of materials and methods discussed at WOODWEB after considerate evaluation, and at their own risk.

    WOODWEB, Inc.
    335 Bedell Road
    Montrose, PA 18801

    Contact WOODWEB











  • WOODWEB - the leading resource for professional woodworkers


      Home » Knowledge Base » Knowledge Base Article