I vowed to use period-correct tools, techniques and – as much as possible – salvaged materials from the early 1900s for the house rehab projects. And I’ve caught a bit of grief for it, because, as several people have mentioned, no one will know what flooring nails I used once the work is done. “Yes,” I said, “but I’ll know. And it will make me happy.”
Last weekend, I tried to nail the salvaged floorboard in place on the new landing. Parts of the substructure of said landing are built from 2 x yellow pine beams. Actual 2x. That’s 100 years old. Hardened yellow pine sap is adamantine.
I drilled pilot holes. Then larger pilot holes. No joy. The only way I was able to fully sink the “proper” flooring nails into that old pine was to drill a hole too large to allow the nails any holding power. Well that rather defeats the purpose.
So today, I rented a pneumatic flooring nailer. Compressed air is stronger than my arm wielding a 16-ounce hammer. I guess I should have a side salad of spinach to go with my humble pie.
But on the ends, where the nails are going into the old pine, the compressor and gun were not quite strong enough; I still had to use a nailset to sink the heads low enough to put the next board in place (or, ya know, bend the heads down enough to get them out of the way…that might have happened one or twice).
So I’m chagrined…but ready to move on to the next step(s). And that makes me happy.