Making Pine Wide Plank Flooring

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Making Wide
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Here's how we make our pine wide plank flooring. We do everything except cutting down the trees.

I personally select the trees to be cut & used in our flooring. All of our flooring starts as southern yellow pine, which actually encompasses 3 different major species: For our Old World, Wire Brushed and Driftwood styles we use longleaf pine. For our Oyster Shell & Rustic styles we use loblolly pine. Longleaf Pine is a bit harder than Loblolly, but both are significantly harder than Eastern White Pine (Check out the Janka Hardness Scale on the Tiny Timbers web site for more information on the hardness of various woods).

When selecting trees, I look for large size (you can't get wide planks from skinny trees), straightness, and few limbs. Most of trees I select are in the 50 to 75 years of age range. Longleaf Pine grows a little slower than Loblolly Pine, so those trees tend to be a little older.

Squaring the Log
Timber harvesters cut down the trees I mark, and deliver them to our shop. Our first operation is to square the logs. This is done by making four cuts along the length of the log, which leaves us with a square cross-section instead of a circular one. Here is a Video that shows someone making the fourth and final cut while squaring a log. The pieces that are removed while squaring the log are called "Slabs." These slabs do not go to waste. They are set aside and given them time to season before being used as firewood.

After squaring the log, we then saw it into rough cut boards. The Old World, Wired Brushed and Driftwood styles are 5/8 or 1/2 inches thick, while the Oyster Shell & Rustic styles are 1/2 inch thick. Initially, we cut the boards into lengths of about 11 feet. After all of our processing, the final boards will be in the 8-10 foot range. The boards are then dried to get the moisture level down to 6%, which usually takes 7-10 days. Drying is done by using a wood stove, where the slabs left over from the squaring process are burned.

Tongue & Groove Joint
Tongue and Groove

Shiplap Joint
Shiplap


After the boards are dried, we make the tongue and groove for the Old World, Wire Brushed and Driftwood styles. As you can see in the sketch above, each plank has tongue along one side and groove along the other. This way each plank can solidly join with its neighbor, making for solid flooring. For the Oyster Shell & Rustic styles, we use shiplap instead of tongue and groove. In shiplap rabbets are cut on both ends, but on opposite sides. With this arrangement, one plank will overlap its neighbor, and will be overlapped by its other neighbor.

After adding the tongue and groove or shiplap, we hand bevel the edges and ends to remove the sharp corners. Surface treatment varies for the different styles: All staining is done by hand. We used proprietary stains that are made especially for Zeagler Farms. These stains can be varied somewhat to make them lighter or darker. Tung oil is used to finish the planking on all styles except Rustic and Oyster Shell. Matte water based polyurethane is used on the Rustic and Oyster Shell styles. In producing our flooring, we handle each board at least 25 times. When you purchase wide plank flooring from Zeagler Farms, you are purchasing a fine handcrafted product made with American labor. It should last for many years with proper care. For the Wire-Brushed, Old World and Driftwood styles, clean your flooring with Murphy Oil Soap. For the Rustic and Oystershell styles, use a mixture of water and vinegar.

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