Step 13: Backfill the Empty Triangles

fastening 2 groove-side wood slats with a flooring spline with wood glue to fill the nailing blank areas for a herringbone floor
Photo: Wendell T. Webber
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You can't nail into the groove of a slat, so you have to reverse the slats' direction to cover the areas left by the blank. To do that, you need a flooring spline, which allows you to butt two grooves together. Run a bead of wood glue in the groove of an installed slat, as shown. Insert the spline and nail it down like you would any other slat. Now work off that "tongue," adding slats until the border of your field is covered.

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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