To spline or not to spline?

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Old 05-08-16, 07:40 PM
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Exclamation To spline or not to spline?

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We just removed a partition wall from between two rooms that have continuous 3/4 x 2-1/4 white oak hardwood. Removal of the wall left a wall sized missing slice in the now combined room. I'm starting to cut out pieces of hardwood on both sides of the gap in order to "weave" new pieces back in and create a continuous floor.

Unfortunately, I can't open a large swath of floor to properly get replacement pieces tongue nailed in place. So... my thought is to use a slip tongue where I don't have the ability to place unmodified boards into place. I would remove the tongue and router a groove so the the boards will go into place. I would lay some glue into the adjoining grooves and then I would attempt to tap a slip tongue down the canal the two boards make. It sounds good, but I wonder if the spline is strong enough given that there will be resistance.

I've seen it done where the lower lip of the groove side is cut off so that the board can be snapped down into place. I like my method better than cutting of the lower lip.

Will my idea of using the slip tongue work? Is it hard to do? Am I better off using the cut off lower lip method or something entirely different?

Thanks guys.
 
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Old 05-08-16, 08:50 PM
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I don't have any experience using splines to repair flooring in the way you suggest. I've always cut off the bottom of the groove and then face nailed the piece. Assuming you will refinish the entire floor after the repair, you can fill the holes from face nailing so they are fairly inconspicuous.

I have used spines quite a bit in furniture construction and I can tell you it is very difficult to drive a spline in from the end of a joint if it is more than a couple of inches long. Most wood glues will rub bond or friction bond very quickly when you slide two surfaces against each other, so you get the spline part way in and the glue grabs and you're done. Using a glue with a long open time can help, but because of the friction it will still be a problem. Maybe you only need an inch or two to make your plan work.


Bummer that the wall cut across all the planks instead of being parallel. But isn't that always the way it goes....

Good luck with your project.
 
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Old 05-09-16, 04:19 AM
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Do all the pieces of oak line up all the way across? It isn't uncommon for the strips of flooring to vary across the span of two previously unconnected room. Often the gap is cut even and a strip or two of oak is laid length ways [perpendicular to the existing flooring] to fill in the gap. Once finished it doesn't look bad, especially if it's carried from one wall to the other.
 
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Old 05-09-16, 06:03 PM
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Paul - Thanks for the info on the splines. I kinda thought it would be difficult, but was hopeful otherwise. I'll have to go w/the top nailing, I'm concerned because it will be a lot of boards and we don't want a region of filled holes to look obvious.

@marksr - we definitely don't want the rooms divided with perpendicular strips.
 
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Old 05-09-16, 06:35 PM
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One more question: just face nail the replacement boards on the side where the bottom lip was cut off the groove or use a construction adhesive too?
 
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Old 05-10-16, 03:26 AM
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I'm concerned because it will be a lot of boards and we don't want a region of filled holes to look obvious.
Colored putty applied after the stain and first coat of poly can make the nail holes disappear. You do need to have the right color putty and it may take more than one color. I've used colored putty on countless nail holes where it was near impossible to find the nail hole when done. Depending on the stain [or not] finish used the paste that the sanders use to fill cracks might also do a good job.
 
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Old 05-10-16, 05:39 AM
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Hmmm... after the stain? We're going to bring in refinishers for the sanding and staining. So leave it to them to do?
 
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Old 05-10-16, 05:52 AM
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Ya, if you are having it professionally refinished - they'll take care of it although it wouldn't hurt to express your concern about the nail holes going away before they start. Some need a little encouragement to do a good job
 
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Old 05-12-16, 07:45 AM
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Thanks for the advice marksr!
 
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