Forums: Whisstock Designs: timber New Topic Post Reply
Author Post
Posted: Oct 22nd, 2013 at 01:14   |   Subject: timber
can one use red oak for the frame floors or popular? im trying to find a suitable wood at home depot so i don't have to keep getting hit with shipping charges

thanks in advance
Michael Vinciguerra
Posted: Oct 23rd, 2013 at 12:43   |   Subject: timber
Poplar should bond well with WEST epoxy systems. But it is not as strong as African Mahogany or Douglas Fir, for example. Nor is it as hard. So it's not the ideal timber for frame floors or intermediate floors. It tends to have a slightly "furry" surface when sanded – good for bonding – not so good for finishing. Using a finer sandpaper will usually fix this however.

Red oak is plenty strong enough and hard enough. It is a bit heavy, but that doesn't matter so much as all the weight is low down.

However, there have always been doubts about epoxy bonding oaks in general, because of the tannin content. Gougeon Bros. have carried out tests on White Oak and their conclusion was that with proper preparation it can be bonded successfully. Preparation was abrading the bonding surfaces thoroughly so they were somewhat roughened and cleaning with alcohol immediately prior to bonding. I don't think there have been tests on Red Oak.

Red Oak is somewhat more open grained than White Oak and has a slightly coarser grain, so it should in theory be better to epoxy bond than White Oak, but I can't find any real information on tannin content, so it is difficult to make a judgement.

I don't think I would risk Red Oak on such a fundamental part of the structure.

To use Poplar:

Home Depot sell 3/4" finished material doesn't it? You need 1" finished floors. So for the frame floors, you could make them from a series of 3/4" strips cut to just over 1" in width and epoxy laminated together. The multiple epoxy bonds would improve the overall strength of Poplar and I think it would be quite satisfactory.

If you wanted to, you could bond on a single top laminate of Red Oak, just to improve the hardness of the top of the floors.

For the intermediate floors, you can increase the thickness to 1 1/2" if you wish, so laminating two 3/4" boards together, which would make up for the somewhat weaker Poplar. You will need to remember to make an adjustment to any cut-outs in the furniture etc. where it drops over a floor, to accommodate the extra width.

Neither Red Oak nor Poplar are durable timbers, so make sure your epoxy coating systems are very thorough.

Have you tried a local store rather than Home Depot? Our local independent building supplies store can often supply other timbers, more cheaply than Home Depot. I was surprised recently to get good quality maple boards more cheaply than Home Depot No. 2 Pine boards. So you might try them for Douglas Fir for example? I'm not knocking Home Depot – I use them all the time – it's just that they only sell a specific range of timber, mostly targeted at house construction.

Hope this helps!