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flooring in a closet corner - Rounding up the Usual Suspects
Steve's Livejournal
flooring in a closet corner

I just finished the floor in the right corner of the east (left) master bedroom closet. It was quite a task.

Last night I measured the boards for the closet. I already had the complicated board Row 55 #9 and the ordinary board Row 56 #9 nailed into place; the corner pieces would have to fit to them and the closet itself.

Row 55 #10 is a simple 24¾ inch (61 cm) board, uncut on the groove end to fit #9. Row 54 #9+ has a 13 inch (33 cm) main section with a 1¾ inch (4.5 cm), 45°-beveled "finger" that reaches to the edge of the closet door pivot support. (There's also a Row 55 #9− board outside the closet that makes up the rest of the board #9 position.) Row 55 #10 is a simple 11 inch (28 cm) board, uncut on the groove end. Row 53 #10+ is a partial-width board just over 2¼ inches wide and 24 inches long (58 mm×61 cm).

Today I double checked last night's measurements, adjusting them a little. The cutting was pretty straightforward, even for the multi-cut Row 54 #9+.

The real fun was getting it all to fit into the corner and nail it down. I started by test-fitting everything, which gave me a moment of panic when I discovered that I hadn't cut Row 54 #9+ to fit the end of Row 55 #9. I puzzled over how to correct the apparent mistake for a few moments, and I realized that it wasn't supposed to fit there; its "finger" needed to fit alongside Row 55, not end-to-end with it. Relief! That's obvious (to me, at least) from the row and board numbers, but less obvious when I was sliding pieces around on the closet floor.

Because there wasn't nearly enough space for the nailgun, I drilled nail holes into the groove* edge of the Row 55 and Row 54 boards, and face-nail holes along the long edge of Row 53 #10+. I also drilled face-nail holes into the south wall ends; baseboard trim will hide the face-nails when I put it back.

After a break to photograph the parts, it was time to assemble the boards into their permanent positions. I started by pushing the long edge of Row 53 #10+ under the edge of the drywall, so there would be room to fit the rest of the boards into place.

Next, I slipped one end of Row 55 #10 under the edge of the drywall to get it past the tongue of #9, then wrestled it back to fit onto the tongue of #9 and into the groove of Row 56 #9. It took some hammering on the pull-bar tool to force it tightly against the two neighbors. I nailed and countersunk the groove nails and the face nail.

The Row 54 boards were tougher, because they had to squeeze past the tongue of Row 53. I pushed the multi-cut Row 54 #9+ between the adjacent row boards, then into place toward the closet door support. Once it was in position left-and-right, I hammered its tongue into the groove of Row 55. I discovered a slight miscalculation: I had no room for the hammer to pound in the groove nails. But no big deal; it's stuck between two nailed-down rows. Then I forced Row 54 #10 between the adjacent rows and partially under the drywall on the south wall. Once it was down I fought to get it tight against both #9+ and the adjacent row, with much hammering on the pull-bar tool. It also lacked room for the groove nailing.

Finally, I pulled Row 53 #10+ out of its waiting space, forcing its tongue into the groove of Row 54. (That sounds just a little bit naughty.) Fortunately, that tongue and groove joint wasn't terribly tight, because I didn't have room for the pull-bar tool; I was only able to use the face-nail holes and nails for leverage. I hammered the face-nails down, countersunk them, and went back to face-nail the end of Row 54 #10.

The closet corner was finished. I took took a few pictures, and then spent most of an hour writing this description of the job.

* There's only a thin bit of material for a nail to grab onto on the groove edge, so groove nailing is not at all standard practice. A normal tongue nailing goes through about two-thirds of the board's thickness (diagonally, so it's even stronger), but a groove nail only has about one-third of the board's thickness (but it's also diagonal. A face nail goes through the full thickness of the board, but straight through it's about the same amount of board as a diagonal tongue nail.


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