Archives For 2014 Flood

Many manufacturers offer cork flooring and as with any building material, it’s easy to get lost among a dizzying number of stylistic options. After some research, I went with a company named APC, selecting a style called Eros (on the left) for the playroom and the cheaper Athene (on the right) for the shop.

cork styles

Images from the manufacturer

The flooring boasts impressive technical specifications. Their panels feature “6 coats WEARTOP-ARMOUR HPC super matte finish with anti-slip effect,” which yields a sliding co-efficient of 0.7 and a Class DS rating. Its thermal conductivity is 0.092 W/m.K and its Domestic is Class 23. I have no idea what those specs mean. None whatsoever. But I assume that six coats works better than five, and that Class DS is more desirable than a classy FU.

APC flooring was one of several brands procurable through a local flooring distributor and came highly recommended. At the time, I found a comparison online in which The Comparer submerged cork flooring for several days and afterward, assessed swelling and damage. APC came out on top with the least swelling. I didn’t intend for it to rain from the ceiling in my basement again, but things happen when kids, drinks, and playrooms coincide, and I’ve seen small spills wreak havoc on some floating floors. So I sold some plasma and went with the APC.

acclimating boxes of cork flooring

Acclimating boxes of cork flooring

So what has roughly 18 months of cork flooring been like? Even better than I had expected.

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Just before moving into our house in 2010, I consolidated two spaces in the basement for my woodshop–a small workroom and a craft area. Both of these spaces featured a utilitarian but whimsical (read: wholly unappealing) linoleum tile floor. I’m pretty sure the color of the tile in this part of the basement was “Smallpox Barney” – a variegated periwinkle that either looked like a) Barney the Dinosaur just threw up or b) like an interior designer threw up – on Barney.

As my first goal when moving in was to just have a shop, the easiest and cheapest path to that goal was to simply extend the existing flooring to the new shop boundaries. Though by no means my favorite option, it allowed me to focus on other aspects of the shop’s infrastructure: walls, lighting and electrical. And oh yeah, moving the family across the country and getting them settled in.

Woodshop V1 under construction

Woodshop V1 under construction

Then came the flood.

Since the flood essentially ruined the ceiling and walls in the shop, the whole shop was going to be gutted and most of the reconstruction (thankfully) covered by insurance. As everyone knows, however, linoleum tile can only be damaged by a combination of black magic and Kenny Loggins. The floor was unharmed by the flood and as such, I was on my own financially for replacing it. Still, with everything moved out of the shop for a few months, there was no better time to replace the indestructible Barney vomit floor with something more appealing both aesthetically and ergonomically.

I’m writing these posts because while researching different flooring materials for use in woodshops, I found no information on using cork. Though I’m sure cork has been used by others before me, I was pretty much going into it blind. So I thought I’d contribute my experience with cork to the intertubes so that others could benefit from my experiment. But to cut to the chase: cork is an outstanding woodshop flooring material, at least for me.


The handtool area of the current workshop

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Watershop Down

October 4, 2014 — 4 Comments

As most of you probably know (some of you firsthand)–last winter was a hard one in the middle of the US. In our town, school was canceled on more than one occasion due to cold–not due to snow–and in Chicago, we had more snow this year than any year on record except one.

Cue dramatic woodshop music. It’s time for a montage.

On January 8, 2014, a $1 piece of copper looked like this when it burst in the ceiling above my woodshop:

Burst Pipe Elbow

And so it rained inside my woodshop, which in turn made my tools look like this:

Rusty Plane

But later that evening, a good friend, some bourbon, those fabulous Klingspor rust erasers, and some serious elbow grease made my tools look like this:


The next day, my shop looked like this:

The Day After

And in fits and spurts over the next few months, the shop looked liked this:

Bare Walls
New Insulation
New Drywall

And by early summer the shop looked like this (Click these images to view larger versions)

Details to follow in upcoming posts, but here’s the summary:

  • Removed built-in cabinet and counter
  • New lighting fixtures and relocated / centralized lightswitches
  • New electrical and network connections
  • Better mounting job for air cleaner
  • Chalkboard wall
  • Antique library card catalog for hardware and tools
  • New sink
  • Cork flooring

It was a good thing the new woodshop was ready to go by early summer, because that was just in time to not have any time to work on projects. Work, family, and farm claimed my summer months, and those plus a new back injury, a couple of new puppies, and a side project are claiming my fall. But I’m itching to build and have a backlog of projects drawn up in Sketchup.