Practical techniques

Laying a parquet floor

Apologies for the lack of posts recently, but as well as having a day job, I’ve been cracking on with laying a parquet floor in the kitchen.
If you’ve never done it, I would definitely say have a go. Like most things connected with woodwork, it’s really all a case of spending a while on preparation.
As I’m laying onto bare floorboards, I’ve screwed 9mm ply down with 25mm screws on 5″ centres, (it really only needs to be 6″ centres, but the floor was a bit wavy). After that you go round the perimeter of the room and mark out 10-12mm from wall. (This is your expansion gap in case the wood moves and will in any case be covered by the skirting when it goes back on).
Then mark out two block widths for the perpendicular ‘ribbon’ of parquet that will run around the edge. All the other parquet is laid first on the floor in herringbone fashion and when you get to the inner line, (two block + 10mm away from wall), that’s as far as you glue up to. The glue is a specialist product which bonds very well not only with the ply sub-floor, but also with the remains of the bitumen on the backs of the blocks.
Once you’ve covered the floor in your herringbone pattern, use a circular saw to cut back to the glue line and lay the outside perimeter blocks. It’s then just a question of sanding, sealing etc.
The blocks are tongued and grooved, so laying them isn’t too hard. Just watch for creep with the pattern running out of true either way. I sighted with a string line, which is essential really. The first course takes a day or two to dry, then subsequent courses should be easier as I can tap blocks up to the ‘soldier course’, knowing they are true.
More soon no doubt.

Hackney Practical techniques

D.i.y Dad

Ok, half-term has arrived, and so instead of building nice storage cabinets for some of my tools, I’m getting on with my kitchen renovation. Apologies for lack of blog posts over the last couple of weeks. I’ve been sorting plumbers and electricians and have myself been starting on the floor.
I plan to put down parquet blocks, so have been stripping off the old lino and the thin, flaky chipboard underneath. To replace it, I’ve been advised a good base for parquet is 9mm ply. I’ve been screwing that down with 6″ centres over the whole kitchen.
Nearly finished now, but if I ever see another 4x25mm brass wood screw, it will be too soon. I was feeling very smug when I got a good deal on the ply and the smile has gradually disappeared from my face as I’ve realised how much I’ve spent on decent screws.
The parquet will be reclaimed from an old 1930’s school in Broadstairs and will be a nice long 12″ by 3″ Columbian Pine block. Quite excited to see how this is going to turn out.
I might blog a few pics as I move through the project, but the kitchen has made me realise how much I could have done myself, if only I had the gear and space to work. Apart from the fact I could have made new cabinets all round, I could have custom-fitted everything, instead of relying on the slightly wacky sizes from Ikea and such.
Oh well. Anything should be an improvement. The kitchen was in need of a revamp when we moved in, and now I realise that was seven years ago!
One tool I would very much like to have is a Festool TS55, for cutting the border of the parquet back and general tomfoolery with trying to make units for the walls. Wish they weren’t so expensive though.