|Not an Ent|
Nate and I chose to go with some nice oak to finish off the upstairs. For a time we considered going with bamboo, but in the end oak seemed like the better option. The decision came down to which type of "predator" would be less desirable. With oak the primary danger would be termites, while with bamboo you'd have to worry about pandas getting into your house and eating your floor. While I don't have any great aversion to slaying Ling Ling should the need arise, the mess would be much harder to clean up, even if we are talking about wiping blood off a hardwood floor rather than carpet.
|You know what else has the coloring of a panda?|
A killer whale.
Before laying out the strips of flooring, we put down some rosin paper to serve as an additional layer to reduce squeaking and other undesirable aspects of floors, per the instructions we had printed off the internet. When purchasing the paper at Lowe's the store employee I was talking with recommended taping the paper together at the seams so that it would not bunch up over time. He said any generic tape would work, although duct tape would be a good choice. So, as Nate and I set to work we used duct tape to secure the rosin paper in place.
As people have experiences over time they learn to associate certain smells with certain people, or locations, or memories. For example, if you've seen the animated Pixar movie Ratatouille then you likely remember how the food critic is transported back to his childhood upon tasting the ratatouille that has been prepared for him. For me, the smell of duct tape quickly brings to mind fond memories of trick-or-treating on Halloween as a kid. Going door to door, knocking on the doors of those houses with the porch light on, and being presented with a nice roll of duct tape was always a great time. If you got lucky you may get some masking tape, or even electrical tape if you were one of the "neighborhood kids" that people knew.
So yes, while laying down rosin paper in this old house at age 27, performing such a grown-up task as installing nice hardwood floors, my mind wanders back to those days when the most concerning thing in the week was not Osama, or Libya, or nuclear reactors, but whether Mrs. Moore would be handing out Snickers or Milky Way, and if I would encounter any members of the Foot Clan while out and about. Then the moment fades as I return to 2011 and Nate is standing there, telling me to stop pretending to ninja kick the damn wall and help him with the rosin paper, for god's sake.
Installing the floors is clearly a first for us, and yesterday was a good experience. Certainly it wasn't smooth sailing the whole way, and we only got a few rows laid down, but trial and error is a valuable part of the learning process. When laying down the first few rows of flooring you can't use a nail gun specifically made for installing hardwood floors because there isn't enough room to fit the gun in against the wall. Thus, the previously mentioned instructions directed us to drill pilot holes, pound in some 6d or 8d nails, and then countersink them. Rather quickly we went through about six nails bending, despite the pilot holes, and decided to give our finishing nail gun a try (this is a much smaller nail gun used for other purposes). Our belief in trial and error is balanced with our belief in not driving oneself to madness. The finishing nailer didn't crack the wood, which was the primary concern, and in fact it worked like a charm. The success of the finishing nailer prompted me to question why the instructions would direct anyone to drill pilot holes and hammer in nails manually if they then went on to recommend using a power nailer for the second part of the job. If you're going to recommend a power tool for one thing, why wouldn't you recommend it for both, right? Then Nate reminded me that the instructions were probably assuming that most homeowners would be renting the floor nailer, and wouldn't have a variety of other nail guns laying around to utilize for the first part of the job.
The reason we have these nail guns is because Dad enjoys purchasing them. Who actually purchases a floor nailer? Well, our Dad does. Dad's propensity for showing up on any given weekend with a new toy was initially somewhat at odds with the mentality I had developed while working with Habitat in college, which was to make do with basic tools. In Habitat, power nailers are not typically used, so all framing is done manually, with framing hammers. Thus, giving up on the old fashioned hammer and nails for our flooring job had more of the bitter feel of giving up for me than it might for most. However, at times like these when I'm wavering between stubbornly pounding away at nails for days on end as a matter of principle and taking advantage of the technology that is readily available, I'm reminded of a particular experience while working with Habitat...
|It's taken three hours to pound in one nail, but at least you|
didn't get any vibes from it.
Sadly, those last few lines were not a joke. Artisan craftsmanship be damned, hand me the power nailer.