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Thread: Help with T&G floor edge

  1. #1

    Help with T&G floor edge

    I am using clear tongue and groove fir for flooring on a porch. It will overhang the porch frame about 3/4 inch. My original thought was to cut it off straight after installation then use a router to put on a bull nose edge. The problem is that I now realize the tongues don't perfectly fill the grooves so an exposed edge will look awful. I could cut it straight and make a bullnose moulding, but how to attach it cross grain so it is strong? I could make a long tenon and groove but could not glue it very often because of the cross grain. I'm talking abut 10 feet of length. Any ideas to attach the molding or ideas other than molding?

  2. #2
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    Sliding Dovetail

    This would be a chunk of work, but a sliding dovetail will do what you want.

    You could mill the dovetail shaped keyslot on the ends of the porch boards. Mill a piece with mating dovetail and slide it in from the end (assumes you have that sort of access to the ends of the boards). You could still do a bullnose roundover on that piece you slide in.

    The only reason I'm suggesting milling the tail on the piece you slide in is that if the piece is ever broken off in the future, you can clean out the key slot and slide a new edging piece in. If the tail is on the ends of the porch boards and it busts off, you're SOL.

    Might want to mill that spare piece now while you're setup for it. Sort of like an umbrella, that's means you'll never need it.

    Good luck!

    Rob

  3. #3
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    Along the lines of Rob's thoughts, you could do it the way breadboard ends are attached to table tops although I'm not sure how well it'll work for several breadboards put end to end.

    Assume a 3' piece of flooring (how thick is it? 5/4?), cut 3 mortises about a 1/2 to 1" wide and perhaps 1/3 to 1/2 the width of the board deep in the middle and at the two ends. Sink a screw into the middle mortise (this will be the captive screw) but at the two ends, you will widen the screwhole (make it a small slot) to allow movement of the wood around the middle captive screw. Next you plug the mortises.

    Here is what I'm not sure about and that is placing something like this end to end. Perhaps the center screw shouldn't be captive and also be allowed to move? Maybe only the breadboards on each end should have a captive screw while all the middle ones have slots cut for movement?

    Check out the current issue of American Woodworker (#108 July 2004)...they go into detail about breadboard ends on the cool Greene & Greene Hall Table they build. I don't think you want to plug the mortises with ebony but, hey, it is your deck!
    Crown Molding: cut, cope, cuss, caulk, chill....

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  4. #4
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    Cut the T&G flooring back 2-3" from the porch edge. That should expose the subfloor or whatever the flooring is nailed to. Then make the cross-grain edge piece and nail it whatever was exposed. That is, the edge piece is 3-4" wide and simply nailed straight down. No fancy sliding dovetails, no breadboard ends. To quote a contractor buddy of mine, "You're building a house, not a blankety-blank piano!"

    If the flooring is only nailed to structual members, so when you cut the flooring back you're looking down at air, sister a 2x4 or the like to the side of the floor joist, so you've got something to support the ends of the T&G.
    Last edited by Jamie Buxton; 06-02-2004 at 8:56 PM.

  5. #5
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    Thumbs up Reality Check

    Ya know - ya gotta love the reality check.

  6. #6
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    I was thinking that he didn't want any exposed nail heads. With that in mind, pocket screws from a joist or sistered joist might work....
    Crown Molding: cut, cope, cuss, caulk, chill....

    Did you know SMC is user supported? Please help.

  7. #7
    You could have a brass "L" made or find one at a metal supply. Rabbet the edge to accept the "L" and mount it with screws. It will provide better wear and should look like it was intentional rather thean a fix.
    "All great work starts with love .... then it is no longer work"

  8. #8
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    Doug, from what I have seen, the bullnose edge which reveals the T&G is commonplace, and I don't think that it looks bad at all. One of the reasons much T&G porch flooring is run perpendicular to a house is to aid water drainage- rain creeps into crack, then seeps out to the edge if the porch deck is pitched. A breadboard end which you are considering, while it would look nice and finished (I finished a deck once, at a client's request, this way), will hamper the drainage process, and lead to separation/ premature rot/ ugly expansion due to freeze/thaw cycles. Any porch floor I do now I bullnose and leave the T&G exposed. But if you really want to finish it with a breadboard, cut a spline or use a biscuit joiner to attach it, after you have ended your flooring centered on the rim joist so that your bullnose has some meat underneath it. You could then fasten the BB to the rim joist, forstner the screw holes, then plug the holes with face-grain plugs that you cut from the flooring scraps. I'm pretty sure that's what I did. HTH, Walt

  9. #9
    I restore several T&G porches each year. The period correct way to end the run of each board is to let it overhang 1" past the last joist without a bevel of any kind. Some people cut the ends 45* making sure the bevel doesn't go past the top of the tongue groove (read slight bevel). Bullnosing isn't common here, in fact I have never seen it.

    Whatever you do, don't add anything to the ends. Metal will cause rot by trapping water and a breadboard end will not survive the movement of the wood.

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