Step 6: Set the Working Distance

marking a 45 degree line on a wood slat for a herringbone floor using a rafter square
Photo: Wendell T. Webber
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You'll need to draw parallel working lines on either side of the centerline to align the corners of each slat as you place it. Use a rafter square to mark a 45-degree angle from one corner of a slat, as shown, for your first working line. To get the distance to the second working line, draw a line from the opposite corner to intersect the first line. Now make a line from the intersection of the T, perpendicular to the edge of the slat. From that point on the edge, draw a line parallel with the top of the T to represent the centerline.

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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