Installing Brazilian Walnut Floor

Old 02-27-06, 09:09 AM
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Question Installing Brazilian Walnut Floor

I was planning on installing my own floor with some guidance from a friend who has installed a couple of oak floors. My floor will be 3/4" thick solid Brazilian Walnut. I have been told by someone else that installing this type of floor will be much harder than oak because the wood is so much harder. My question is, what will be harder? I know that it will not probably cut as easy with the table saw but what else could that person be talking about?

What things do I need to look out for with this harder wood?
Old 02-28-06, 01:37 PM
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I'm just a DIY'er and installed 800 sq ft of Brazilian Cherry a year ago, though not from the supplier you asked about in an earlier post. I can tell you the issues I faced, but with only this one installation as a reference, I can't validate whether they were wood hardness issues or operator errors. For reference, I used cleats with a manual porta-nailer. With the Brazilian Cherry, I found that the tongue had a tendency to split so I had to make sure I nailed farther away from the ends than you would probably need to do with a softer wood. Face nailing with the cleat face nailer attachment was a significant challenge. Nailing straight down through the hard pre-finished top surface instead of at an angle through the tongue was not trivial. I don't know if the ratcheting capability of the porta-nailer made the face nailing easier or harder, but the nailer wanted to move between strikes so my wife and I both had to try to hold it steady. When I had to do some manual face nailing, even after pre-drilling, counter-sinking the nail with a nail punch was extremely difficult. I also found that a sharp saw blade was absolutely critical to clean cuts. A final consideration is that I assume it will be much more difficult to sand and refinish someday in the future.
Old 03-05-06, 04:00 PM
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I have almost finished putting down 1800 sf of 3/4" red oak and thank my stars for having "invested"
in a pneumatic Bostitch MIIIFS stapler. (I think they also make a nailer too.) It wasn't cheap but with all the time it has taken me as a novice to do the work, rental would have been prohibitive. I figure I can sell the nailer second hand on Ebay and recoup a good part of what I paid new. It seems to be a pretty sought-after tool. Using a manual portanailer like Roadkill did sounds like torture. Of course if you get a pneumatic nailer you also need a compressor. I picked up a $90 one at Sears.

Of course with the hardness of the walnut, it would be comforting to know how the pneumatic tools respond to it. As suggested by Roadkill splitting could still be a problem. You still will have to face nail close-in to the starting and ending walls. I did this the old fashioned way: drill, hammer and nail set. It was the most time consuming thing to do...even with oak. It sounds even more daunting with the walnut. Maybe a pro with experience will answer you yet! Or, go to a local flooring store that sells Brazilian walnut and ask if you can talk to one of their installers.
Old 03-05-06, 06:02 PM
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Because that type of wood does have a tendency to split, we start by laying a 1x4 on a chalk line so that the edge of the 1x4 is 3 widths away from the starting wall. throw a chalk line and screw the 1x4 to the chalk line. now, install the 3/4 for about 7-10 rows. remove the 1x4 and use construction adhesive to glue in the first 3 rows. Make sure to allow for expansion when figuring this out. Wedge in the first row and go ahead with the install. BTW, you only need 1 bead of adhesive, it'l spread out.

We find this easier than trying to fill nail hole's and relacquer et all.

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