Step 3: Make a Test Panel

building a test panel for a herringbone floor
Photo: Wendell T. Webber
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Once you have your slat length, measure and mark one strip, with the tongue end as waste, and cut it with a miter saw. Use a rubber mallet to dry-fit the number of strips that equal the length of the test slat—nine in our case. Butt the tongue of the test slat into the panel's end groove to make sure the slat's ends are perfectly flush with the panel's edges, as shown. If they're not, size another piece and test it again.

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    Tools List

    • 30-foot tape measure
      Measuring tape
    • chalk line
      Chalk line
    • trammel
      Trammel. Make one from a piece of scrap board
    • straightedge guide
      Straightedge
    • framing square
      Framing square
    • miter saw
      Miter saw
    • mallet
      Rubber mallet
    • router
      Router and 1¼-inch flooring bit
    • speed square
      Rafter square
    • drill
      Drill/driver
    • flooring nailer
      Flooring nailer
    • circular saw
      Circular saw

    Shopping List

    Engineered tongue-and-groove strip flooring.
    Have your supplier determine how much you need, but figure on 15 percent waste.

    Feature and apron strips to frame the herringbone field.

    Flooring splines

    Molding to create a guide for the circular saw.

    ¾-inch plywood
    Get one 4x8 sheet to make the nailing blank and a straightedge.

    1½-inch drywall screwsto attach the blank to the subfloor.

    16-gauge 2-inch L-head flooring nails or 'cleats'

    Wood glue

    Painter's tape