Most woodworkers are restricted to what techniques we can use because of lack of resources, i.e. proper tools. In an ideal world without these restrictions, the best method in cutting tongue and groove joints for floor panels is through the shaper. Not only will the shaper be able to handle the quantity of boards, setting it up is simple. Both the tongue and groove is passed through just once and gives it a beautiful and strong factory-like fit. It takes all of the guess work out.
Replacing & Matching Old Floor Panels
After many years of having a hardwood floor, one can experience all types of damage. Whether it is light starched, gouges, water damage, boards lifting up…etc. Kids especially put a lot of wear and tear on hardwood floors.
There was one customer I had that lived in an old colonial home in central NJ; a historical and very well-kept beautiful home. The kitchen cabinets were made from old cherry with a gorgeous patina which showed that it lived a very long, yet delicate life. What wasn't so beautiful, and the reason I was there, were the oak floor boards, which were in shambles, found directly under the sink; obviously damaged through many years of water falling from the sink.
The client needed to have these boards replaced without losing the integrity of the old floor. We decided immediately that factory boards were out of the question. What we needed to do was to locate old growth oak, cut boards from it, create a tongue and groove joint to match the existing boards, install it and then age it to match.
I took a couple of good boards that surrounded the bad ones to my shop. I planed my new boards to thickness and with my shaper and shaper cutters, I was able to get a very close match to the old tongue and groove joints. Just a few minutes of hand work and they were as good as the original boards.
When installing them, I had to keep just one side of one board without a tongue for the board needed to drop in. With a strong adhesive on the bottom, it would sit secure for another century or two.
Now was the fun part. Not only did I need to match the patina, but also the color and finish. After playing around with color pigments, I was able to get something very close. After coloring it, I took out my keys and began to throw and scrape them a bit until I gained the amount of wear which had built up for so many years. Good as new (or old)!