How We Make Tongue & Groove Flooring


Video showing sawing barn beams into boards at an Amish sawmill.

This video shows the process of sawing barn beams at an Amish sawmill. The resulting boards are used to produce our center cut flooring. This mill owner also designed a system for sawing planks in half on his bandsaw, so he is able to saw some of our rough sawn 2x4s, 2x6s, 2x8s, etc. into two boards that each have the surface desired for our skip planed flooring. Prior to this step all materials that will be sawn are checked with a metal detector, and nails and other hardware are removed to the extent that is reasonable. Even so, some metal may remain in the boards. (The boards will be checked one more time in the next step of the process.) After sawing, the boards will be stacked with strips of wood between to allow air flow, and will then be placed in the kiln for drying.


Photo link to video showing Amish straight line ripping reclaimed boards to make into flooring.

Boards are “straight line ripped” before milling. This is done on a “rip saw” to take out warping in the board so that what will be milled will be a truly straight board. Boards with a significant crown (higher in the middle than on the sides) may be ripped down the middle to limit the effect of the crowning. The craftsman inspects each board to determine which side will be the best finished surface, to decide what sizes of flooring can be produced from the board and whether an additional rip is necessary to limit crowning. These judgement calls are all made at breakneck speed while the craftsman feeds the material into the saw and his helpers stack the different sized boards in separate piles.

Note: The following videos show the production of 1/2” thick skip planed material. The process is similar for 3/4” skip planed and center cut flooring.

Photo link to video showing Amish milling skip planed wood for reclaimed wood accent wall or flooring

Once a pile of boards has been straight line ripped, it’s ready to mill. The molding machine cuts all four surfaces of the board in one pass. Boards are fed into the machine face down. Excess material will be removed from the underside to achieve a uniform thickness and relief grooves will be added. Other knives cut a tongue on one side of the board and a groove on the other side. For skip planing, the craftsman sets the knives that plane the face of the board so that it will just skim the surface, removing the high spots and leaving the lower patches of original surface intact.
But he's not done yet!

Trimming and packaging tongue and groove wood made from reclaimed barn wood.

Next the milled material is taken to a cut-off saw. Boards will be cut square on the ends and significant defects will be cut out.Each width is then tightly stacked, bundled and is finally ready to go!

larry@usedanew.com  -  © Used Anew, LLC 2013