The week between our vacation and Maria Killam’s True Colour Expert™️ Workshop, I helped my parents install laminate flooring. My parents aren’t the type to live in a mess or a construction zone, but they tore their carpet out in preparation for their carpenter to install the new flooring. They had no idea the carpenter would be tied up for months and that they would be forced to live with subfloors for all of that time.
They finally asked me if I could help. They tried to hire me (that makes me laugh) because they know that I am a hobbyist finish carpenter and have all of the tools to get the job done.
Jon loaded our old 4 runner with all of the tools he thought I’d need and we drove 2 hours to my parents house.
Here are the tools we brought:
For the floor installation, I used all of the tools. Although, the table saw and chop saw (compound miter) were used consistently to cut and rip boards; the other saws and drill were lifesavers for cutting around doorways; corners and, in one case, a gas pipe.
If you ask me which tool intimidates me the most, I’ll tell you that the table saw does. I used to have a less powerful table saw, but there was a season in my life when I had a master craftsman working on our house and I was his protégé. We burned the less powerful saw out with all of our projects.
I replaced the less powerful table saw with Home Depot’s Rigid brand table saw. It is powerful and has thrown wood 40 feet, only to be stopped by the neighbor’s garage door.
If you ask what my favorite saw is, I will tell you it is my bandsaw. The blade is dull and badly needs to be replaced, but I love that saw. It’s my go-to saw for detail work. We use it to cut things like bully sticks for our dog, too.
My favorite tool, in general, may be my Paslode Pneumatic finish nailer. It’s easy and leaves tiny holes. It started shooting blanks while I was at my parents, so I took it apart and did more damage to it! Not to worry, I will send it in for repair. It’s been my trusty sidekick for at least 12 years, so if I ever do need a new one, I won’t feel bad.
The most difficult part about installing the floors was arguing with my mom over whether I should take a break every time I laid a few boards.
I wasn’t the only one working. She was laying underlayment and cooking non-stop and Dolly (my step dad) was working along side me. Jon was mostly at home working his real job, but he was a great help over the weekend.
When my mom wasn’t telling me to stop working and rest, she was telling me to eat. Here are some of the meals she and Dolly made for me:
Because of all of the breaks I took, the floors did not get finished before I left to become a Certified True Colour Expert™️. When I returned from a wonderful week away, I got the news that my dad had cut the tips of two fingers off.
Such a heartbreak. Guess which tool? And guess how? I’ll tell you how first. The saw was turned off and the blade just jumped out and pulled his fingers in.
Have you guessed which one yet? My favorite. The band saw. I don’t think there is any convincing my mom that the saw blade didn’t just jump out and pull Dolly’s hand in.
The truth is that he turned the machine off to wipe the surface clean, but the blade had not, yet, stop moving. He brushed a finger by the somewhat slow moving blade and the saw teeth grabbed hold.
The good news is that the injuries happened a week and a half ago and Dolly is healing wonderfully. His ring finger tip is reattaching, but the middle tip was lost. It looks gory now, but I can see that it will look great when it is healed.
This is how I look when I work on home projects. I may or may not have combed my hair.
A few power tool safety tips:
Keep floors clear of slipping and tripping hazards, such as dust and wood
Work slowly and patiently
Use even pressure when running wood through a saw
Wear protective glasses
Wear ear protection to preserve your hearing
Avoid wearing gloves because they can get sucked into saws (Although, OSHA rules require gloves and I agree that they prevent splinters.)
Use a push tool/stick when working with smaller pieces of wood on the table saw
Wear a dust mask to protect your lungs
I have the sassiest retro safety glasses from Restoration Hardware… somewhere!
In case you missed it, here’s a post called Ringing in the New Year about hanging out with my parents!