Tuesday, April 17, 2007


words later.

for now just pix.
(words added--04/30)
The house ate my husband!
Okay, metaphorically, there's some truth to that...

I started the dining room by myself. The picture above represents three hours of backache-inducing, fiddly, exhausting labor. You'll be happy to know, however, that the first three hours are definitely the worst. After that, you get a lot more proficient. Here's what I learned:

1) The boards absolutely must be laid in a perfectly straight line. Doesn't matter if your walls bulge in and out like a pregnant elephant--boards must be straight. This requires much creativity with spacers (little plastic wedges that preserve a small gap between the floor and the walls).

2) It's better to hit the nails in too hard than too lightly. If the nail is almost but not quite in, it's impossible to fit the next board over the tongue-plus-nail-head. In addition, if it's almost all the way in, there is nothing for a crowbar or hammer to grab on to in order to pull the nail out. Also, the nails are serrated, so they really don't want to come out.

3) If you can't get the nail out, you may have to rip up the entire board. This is almost always fatal to the board, and imperils the adjacent boards, as well.

4) Breakthrough! Instead of breaking your heart trying to pull out the nail or ripping up the board, use a really huge drill bit to enlarge the groove of the next board where it will have to fit over the nail head. This is much, much simpler.

This is the nail gun. It's huge. And very heavy. And whoever designed it should be smacked upside the head. Here's what's wrong with it:

1) It's very poorly balanced. When you set it down, it usually falls over, which seems unsafe and would really bang up your floor if it happened to fall in that direction.

2) It's only functional when the air compressor has adequate pressure, but the gun doesn't have an air pressure meter. To figure out if the gun is ready to go, you have to go check on the body of the compressor, which is tethered to the wall on a 3-foot cord. Meanwhile, your stupid nail gun falls over. Again.

3) It's designed to fit onto the groove of the board it's nailing, but as the fit isn't very precise, it pops out of alignment at the least excuse, scuffing your board as it goes.

4) It's HEAVY. For god's sake man, lift with your knees, not your back!

However, for all the pain it causes, look how pretty it is when done. So stylish!

I got about 2/5 of the room done myself, then Matt & I worked as a team (way faster, by the way--one of you saws while the other nails, then one of you lays the next row while the other measures the end boards--much more efficient).

Then Matt finished the room himself the next day. Here he is, drill in hand, master of the manor.


Anonymous said...

Saw the bamboo floor Mon. 16th. It looks wonderful and you did a great job at installing it. Good choice! Mel, while I know you and I both like painted kitchen cabinets, I will say that the new bamboo floor ties in really well with the cabinets the way they are (I know...not what you want to hear, if you decide to paint them later, let me know and I'll help)

Don't let it all overtake you. Advice from someone that has been there..... set your bed up first so you can get a GOOD nights sleep and don't forget to eat protein to keep your energy up. EXHALE, DON'T FORGET TO EXHALE!

It's looking great and I know you'll be very proud of it when you're finished.


TLR said...

Nice Job! Thanks for sharing your info. "Mr. Gorbachev, build up those walls." You're a funny gal.: )

Elgin_house said...

Thanks, TLR! It may not be quite the info you needed, but hopefully it well help other bamboo virgins. Best of luck with your flooring project!

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