Saturday, December 20, 2008

Final Flooring Challenges: Part I

So I decided it was time to really finish the bamboo floor. The floor itself has been down for a while, and we love it, but we have been living without transitions. Well, there was a transition from the hall to the bathroom, but it was a strip of blue painter's tape. Not exactly "finished".

I used the manufacturer's bamboo t-strip for the transition from the dining room to the kitchen. That went fine, especially when I switched from the electric cordless drill to a Yankee brace. Plenty of torque, loads of control, great "feel" and no split bamboo. Why did I try the Makita in the first place? Dope Slap number one!

The bathroom transition was more of a challenge. The bamboo in the hallway, and the vinyl in the bathroom were not level. The vinyl was 3/16th lower. If the t-strip does not sit level, evenly supported on both sides of the "t", it splits when you step on it. Hmm. My first thought was to plane the hall side down by 3/16th. But that would weaken the already thin top and also make the curved top asymmetrical. Hmm. I could shim the bath side, but it would be visible along the edge. And what did I have that was 3/16th thick? I actually started digging around for some thin birch ply...Dope Slap number two! I could just make what I needed.

I got out the resaw and cut what was basically some extra thick veneer from a piece of clear fir. Here it is laying on the bench cut side down:

The other side, with raking light, and you can clearly see the saw tracks. I flip the piece edge-for-edge as I resaw, allowing the existing kerf to guide the saw on the side away from me. Half-way down I flip the board end-for-end, and cut down until I reach the kerf coming in from the other end. This photo shows the middle of the stock, where my two cuts met. The small, raised triangle at the bottom was the last part to separate. It never got cut - it split off due to lateral pressure from the saw blade. As you can see from the tracks in the upper right, I was starting to wander off and when I twisted slightly to correct, the blade just popped the remaining connection.

After planing the strip smooth and to final thickness, I needed to glue it to the t-strip. The curved, slippery surface made this a bit of a challenge, but here's what I finally came up with. It's times like this that I am glad I built my bench without a front apron.

While waiting impatiently for the glue to dry, I took some "artsy" shots around the shop. Later, I had some fun turning them into computer "watercolor paintings". Geek Fun! (You'll probably need to click on these to get the full effect.)

Here's the finished t-strip. End view:

Side view (overhead angle):

And in place:

I really like it, and you have to get pretty close to see it, even when you know it's there.

Next up, the border around the wood stove rock platform...


  1. Dan: Do you own any Power Tools at all? Or do you just work with ALL Handtools?

    This is Great work, and at first what proved to be slightly Challenging but worked out for the better in the end result.


  2. Hey Handi,

    I'm a pretty hardcore Neanderthal. The shop is a 99.9% electron killing free zone. I think I used a motorized grinder the beginning of last summer to clean up a severely mushroomed socket on my slick.

    Outside the shop, I mix and match. For example, the bamboo was put down with a compressor and pneumatic gun (tried the manual gun, couldn't get it to work). I also cut the bamboo with my brother's chop saw, until about halfway through I switched to Japanese type pull saws - way quieter!

    The only power tool left in the shop is the hibernating bandsaw. I haven't plugged it in for something like 4 or 5 years now. I'm pretty sure I will be selling it soon, but it is the last vestige of my Normite phase, and I suppose that makes it hard to let go.

    Click on the "See how this adventure got started" link at the top of the page to see what my shop used to look like before the fateful Saint Roy encounter.


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