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Author Topic: Manufacturing End Grain Wood Flooring on a Medium-Large Scale  (Read 1048 times)

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Offline WoodFloorMan

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Manufacturing End Grain Wood Flooring on a Medium-Large Scale
« on: December 22, 2016, 11:00:10 PM »
Hello. New member here.  I've owned and operated a wood flooring business for the last 10+ years. I'm considering a move into the manufacturing side of the business and considering some various niche products with one of them being end grain wood flooring. This is something that their doesn't seem to be a whole lot of people doing and with my extensive contacts in the business and online marketing skills, I think it's something I could sell a lot of.

I am pretty familiar with many of the processes and steps involved with manufacturing traditional wood flooring.  However, while considering end grain flooring as an option for a niche product, I thought I'd ask a few of the questions that have popped up regarding the manufacturing on a medium-larger scale. I'm hoping some of you might have some experience with this or may at least have some ideas as to how you might do things to make them as efficient as possible.

The main thing that I've wondered is if it would be more efficient to just cut individual blocks and sell it like that, or if it might be better to glue 8-12" of long strips together (like you would for a cutting board) and then cut that into tiled sort of pieces? I figured if you did it this way you could then run the tiled pieces through a router to groove both sides, so you could use spline/slip tongue to then lock them together much like a traditional wood floor. I have included a picture of what I am referring to. 

   I think with the larger sized pieces (maybe 4"X4" or larger) it seems like just making/selling the blocks would be best. But I wasn't sure what the best way to do smaller blocks might be.

Also, aside from what would make manufacturing these the simplest/most efficient, I'm also wondering what all equipment one might need to do this on a scale of manufacturing say 3,000-5,000sf per month? Would you need a kiln or just buy properly dried wood? What type of saws/sawmill would be best to do these on this scale? Bandsaw? Radial Arm?  What other equipment might you recommend for making it an efficient process?

Any help with my questions, other things to consider with this, machine/equipment recommendations etc would be greatly appreciated. This is something I've considered for quite awhile and I'm ready to make the leap into another end of the wood flooring business. Just trying to make some final decisions on the exact direction to take. I do have other ideas in mind, but this has been one that Ive continued to come back to.  Thanks a lot.


Offline paul case

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Re: Manufacturing End Grain Wood Flooring on a Medium-Large Scale
« Reply #1 on: December 22, 2016, 11:08:04 PM »
I have sawn some walnut logs into flooring just like that.

I did it all on my bandsaw mill and it seemed to be more work that it was worth, but The customer is always right, right? To do it on a larger scale I think I would shoot for at least 6x6 to cut them from and I would make a jig to clamp and cut several at one pass.

I dont have any Idea about drying. I think they may need to be a little thicker than 4/4 to avoid cupping and other degrade.

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Offline Bluejay27

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Re: Manufacturing End Grain Wood Flooring on a Medium-Large Scale
« Reply #2 on: December 23, 2016, 05:06:16 PM »
For sawing it, a resaw might be faster. The WM resaw attachment is limited to 9 inches, but you could chainsaw a bunch of beams and just keep a constant stream of them going through. With the pieces always in contact, they seem to go through fine. As far as the t&g goes, I'd consider a router table with tight clearances on the fence, a power feeder, and some good roller hold downs so one piece can push the next and stay square.

I know it's not the heavy industrial option, but you could incorporate a 2nd adjustable router to t&g at the same time.

I can't comment on tear out, although keeping the pieces tight should limit that. And you'd need a good drum or belt sander to do the "planing" work.
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Offline Ron Wenrich

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Re: Manufacturing End Grain Wood Flooring on a Medium-Large Scale
« Reply #3 on: December 23, 2016, 05:45:54 PM »
I would think that a glued up panel would have more customer appeal, and an easier installation.  Cheaper installation means you can charge a higher price.  For larger pieces - 4x6 and up, you csn go with single pieces and install like ceramic tile.

I would buy kiln dried product if you are starting out in this line.  You don't want to make the big investments into kilns unless you have a market for the material produced, and you can kiln cheaper than you can buy.  I would think that old beams would give you a very good product.  You can go to other type of designs by cutting a beam into a pattern or even make it round.  Some very nice effects can be achieved.

For a small scale, here's a how to cut:



If you're going to a larger scale, you should be able to get a circular saw to do it a lot more efficiently.  Shingle mills were made to cut a bunch of material in pretty short order.  The saw is stationary, but the bed moves.  Some adaption of this old technology could make a bunch in short order.

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Offline D6c

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Re: Manufacturing End Grain Wood Flooring on a Medium-Large Scale
« Reply #4 on: December 24, 2016, 12:03:53 PM »
I would think that a glued up panel would have more customer appeal, and an easier installation.  Cheaper installation means you can charge a higher price.  For larger pieces - 4x6 and up, you csn go with single pieces and install like ceramic tile.

I would buy kiln dried product if you are starting out in this line.  You don't want to make the big investments into kilns unless you have a market for the material produced, and you can kiln cheaper than you can buy.  I would think that old beams would give you a very good product.  You can go to other type of designs by cutting a beam into a pattern or even make it round.  Some very nice effects can be achieved.

For a small scale, here's a how to cut:



If you're going to a larger scale, you should be able to get a circular saw to do it a lot more efficiently.  Shingle mills were made to cut a bunch of material in pretty short order.  The saw is stationary, but the bed moves.  Some adaption of this old technology could make a bunch in short order.



You can probably buy that shingle mill in the second video cheap from his widow.....not from the saw, but from him stepping over the PTO shaft with loose pant legs.  Was taught long ago to NEVER do that.

Offline terrifictimbersllc

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Re: Manufacturing End Grain Wood Flooring on a Medium-Large Scale
« Reply #5 on: December 25, 2016, 05:25:04 AM »
Yes sell them pre-glued to plywood.  Otherwise I would think splitting of individual pieces would be a problem either from nailing or walking on them.
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