Porch Progress

Well, the following isn't directly related to the studio build, but at least it'll allow me to enter and exit our house not having to wish that I had dealt with the inferior, chipped, cracked, and peeling porch floor prior. Not that I've been unable to do so for the nearly twenty years we've lived here... 

Yesterday, I spent the bulk of the day in 20 degree temps (-3.8 celsius), transferring the recently acquired, reclaimed Cumaru hardwood (a.k.a. Brazilian Teak, though not quite as hard as actual Teak) and install tools to the "job site", my front porch, via wheelbarrow. To recap, I purchased app. 350 sf. of Cumaru from a local deck builder who had been storing it for years, hoping someday to use it himself. He decided to let it go for $300. 

About half of the initial haul will be used for the app. 150 sf. porch floor. I took it to a local hardwoods supplier and had them flip the wood upside down (to avoid the countersunk screw holes) and plane and sand the new top faces, while doing a hit-and-miss plane on the new bottom surface. Then I ran over to a friend's shop (thanks, Geoffrey!) and did a straight line rip along one edge of each board on his Martin sliding table saw, a significant time savings over having to joint the edge. 

Back in my studio, I then ran the jointed edge along my table saw's fence to create a parallel edge on the other side of each board, then attached the dado blades to make tongue and groove edges.

Finally, before installing the wood, I stained it. Note the discolored, water damaged diagonals in the photo below, as well as the screw holes. I debated having the boards planed down to the point where all such evidence of the wood's prior use was gone, but a) didn't know how deep the damage goes and b) find the patterns, if I can keep them relatively random, somewhat pleasing. At least, that's what I'll tell myself. I certainly find the app. 1/7th cost of the wood over new Cumaru quite pleasing.

Below: the painted, then repainted, then re-repainted current pine porch floor. 

Out with the old (left) and in with the "new" (right). I can already tell a difference in the new floor's rigidity when I stand on it, compared with the pine. I called a few porch floor manufacturers to get their take on whether I should slip some 1/16" shims in between the boards to allow for summertime expansion. The consensus was no - the Cumuru has been kept snickered and dry for years, and shouldn't expand much. I really, really hope that's the case.

I'm having to do a bit of joist "surgery", adding new ones to support the new boards' ends. (The old boards were a bit longer, and supported by joists the new, slightly shorter boards, can't reach. Note the pneumatic nail gun, used to shoot nails at app. 45 degree angles through the new boards' tongues into the joists. The groove side of each board (except for the first one) is locked in place by the previous board's tongue.

Today, I hope to be able to complete the floor, and soon thereafter, install new baseboard molding along the perimeter to hide the boards' ends.


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