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I have a long-standing aversion to traditional psychiatric therapy , but I’m of mostly Irish descent, have red hair, and the temper that goes with it. So, to deal with aggression, I turn to DIY projects around the house (plus, I’m cheap, and refuse to set the thermostat above 60Ã?° despite our current 14Ã?° temperature in Cincinnati, so the work helps keep me warm).

My last project was redoing my 1970s-style bathroom (I posted a picture of the shower in an earlier entry here). But that’s about finished (I still have some trim moulding to run, but I’ve managed to overlook that for some time now).

When I bought my 1895 house seven years ago, the first thing I planned to do was tear out the nasty green carpet in the living room and dejected-looking parquet in the dining room and hallway, and lay down new flooring. So finally, after seven years of kvetching about the ugly carpet and sad parquet, I got started on it last Sunday. I began in the dining room, and when I got down to the original pine flooring, I was very excited. As you can see in the picture at the top (along with the tiny Christmas tree I have yet to put away), it’s actually in pretty good condition, and I was fairly certain it could be sanded, refinished and made to look right pretty. So I called my floor guy and made an appointment for him to come over and take a look (I hate sanding , my skinflint nature halts abruptly when it comes to doing things I despise).

Then, I got started in the living room, dutifully cutting the carpet into 4′ pieces and rolling them per the specifications of our local trash collectors. Underneath was a layer of Masonite, so I pulled all that too, along with what seemed like thousands of nails. And then I hit a bad patch. A very bad patch , literally. But hey, I’m a novice woodworker , how hard can it be to tooth in replacement boards? Simply cut out the bad boards at the joists with a circ saw, clean up the ends of the cut with a chisel, and nail a proper patch into place.

Well, like most of my crazy undertakings, it turns out to be harder than I expected , mostly because I need 100-year-old boards, so they’ll match. I’ve scavenged material from the third-floor closet, where I’ll put in new replacement boards (no one will ever see those), and started to cut the patches to size. But, the third floor has only 3-1/4″ boards, and the living room is a mix of 3-1/4″ and 4-1/4″. If anyone knows where I can find 25-35 board feet of 100-year-old pine floor boards, please let me know. And if anyone has the name of a good psychiatrist….

– Megan Fitzpatrick

p.s. For the record, I wore gloves. But there was no jointer in sight.

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Showing 8 comments
  • Al Rossi

    Check out and look at thte forums.

    Lots of great people there and maybe evenb some in your area that could give you some tips on where to find the flooring.

    Besides that closet floor, maybe you could pick up a couple of boards from the attic floor.

    You could also check with your local historical societies. They often have information on where to find salvaged building materials. Here in Berks County PA our historical society actually maintains its own architectural salvage bank.

    Good Luck.

  • Jonas H. jensen

    Hi Megan

    In case you are worried about the colour of the wood, if you were forced to use new materials, I have a small advice.

    If you apply a mixture of Kalium dichromate and water to the boardsm let it dry and then rinse of with water, new pine will look 100 years old straight away.

    When you ad it, it will look like orange juice, but it will gove a nice coulour afterwards.

    I don’t know if the chemical is commercially available in the USA.

    My father have used it to make some period looking kitchen furniture for my parents summer cottage in Sweden.

    Good luck with the project.

    Brgds Jonas

  • DJ

    Makes one cry when you think of all those old floors they simply threw away when they tore up the houses in Norwood a few years ago.
    I’ve seen several ads on Craigslist the past month or so. Usually under the "free" section. House being torn down….giving away stuff for free…take what you want….have to demolish yourself….etc. You might find something that way.

  • John Craig Brown

    Hi Megan

    I am putting a floor down now with my son in Miami over a 1950’s Cuban Tile floor, a form a thin tiles set over concrete. We are using engineered flooring of the click together variety, a far cry from your project. I live in a 1930’s home in Coconut Grove Miami and I do intend to re-sand the floor. Our problem is termite damage to the flooring but it gives it character.

    Three words: small area rug. Don’t let the bad patch hold you from completion. The other option would be to stain or lighten the floor with bleach (pickling), which would lessen the color difference.

    Good luck.

  • megan

    Hi Caroline,
    You’re right – the red hair and Irish temper thing is a myth, which I should have acknowledged in my post. I was in Ireland a few years ago, and saw very few red heads, and everyone was very kind…I did drink a lot of Guinness (and even though I don’t usually like touristy things, the Guinness factory tour in Dublin was absolutely fascinating…and you get a glass of Guinness at the end – what could be better!?)

  • Caroline Wollk

    Hi Megan, I admire your project oriented and carry thru on home projects – thanks for sharing – but I live in Ireland – yes I’m American but have lived here for 20 years – and red hair is not Irish – it is actually a strain of Norman in you – early in Irish history the Danes lived here – mostly in Dublin and that’s where your red hair comes from – most Irish have dark hair and few have bad tempers – this is American speak and myth – that you are a problem solver – that you like to work with real things like wood that is Irish – now if you like Guinness there is Irish in you – come to Ireland and see. All the best Caroline

  • Samson

    There are salvage dealers in most areas. If you can’t find one, you can call one further away and perhaps arrange a shipment. Check out these folks for example (click on some of the varieties in the pics):

  • Mattias in Durham, NC

    That’s too funny… (about the p.s.). Now we know what Popular Woodworking staff are talking about in the lunch room


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