In order to strengthen any floor; to prevent the joists from moving and also to reduce any risk of the floor sagging, it’s important to add at least one series of noggings (note the third, silent G!). In many cases, as with my floor, only one set of noggings down the centreline of the new floor is required. Where a floor covers a greater span though, it may be required that you have an additional two lines of noggings.
You strike a centreline at each end of the floor and then, using a string or chalk line or, if you have something a straight-edge that’s long enough, you join the two marks, marking the top edge of each joist. It’s then a good idea to square each line down over the face of each joist, as this helps allow you to visually fix the noggings in vertically. Staggering them either side of the centreline (as in the photo above) allows you to easily drive a nail in to the end of each nogging. If they were all running in exactly the same line, how else would you drive a fixing in? Skew-nailing at angle through the side (face) of a joist isn’t easy, since you need another means of keeping the nogging still, initially, while you’re beginning to bang the nail in.
4in/100mm round wire nails were used throughout. If you’re anything like me though and you cannot hit a 4in nail in all the way without bending it (!!), a 5mm pilot hole through the face of the joist makes each nail that much easier to drive home!
Blocking, in my mind at least, is hardly any different to a nogging – the same principles and techniques are used; it just has a different name. There are other differences, of course but, blocking is generally fit around and to reinforce an existing structure – in my situation, this applied to the existing 4x2in truss with the 7x2in notched joist bolted on to its ‘front‘ face.
Instead of trying to notch a wider, 7in nogging at one end to fit around the 4x2in (which could’ve been either hit or miss), I took one short length of 7x2in and ran it through my bandsaw a couple of times – I would’ve used the brand-new Freud blade fitted in to me table saw for this, if only one of the 2in castors hadn’t broken off the MDF stand! This gave me one length at 2in square and another at 4in wide, to match the existing joist that forms part of the truss construction. I found this much easier than trying to notch a wider board and, most importantly, I was able to get a tight fit first time, without any need for trimming. I also found it helpful to skew nail the 2x2in in place, as it will otherwise be liable to rotating, if it’s only fixed with one 4in nail at each end.
Throughout this stage of the build, I found it helped, when measuring for noggings, to cut them 2mm longer than the reading on my tape measure. This ensures a very snug fit and, fortunately, I was able to use my sliding mitre saw for these short lengths.
As you’ve probably gathered by now (!!), I don’t have a lot of space in my workshop. Working on a project of this scale when you’re surrounded by several large machines is neither convenient or easy, when you have nowhere else to store them. I mean, the workbench allowed me to reach up to fairly high places, as did my Black & Decker Workmate, I must admit… 😳 Each day, along with several long lengths of timber and my folding sawhorses, I’ve also had to drag the table saw outside, just so that I could find enough room to position the Workmate, at times. As a consequence of rolling the saw up and over the near-2in step each time, one of the 2in castors (which was, admittedly, only held on with round-head screws) broke off from the MDF cabinet I made late last year! I’m now looking to replace them with 3in castors, which I should be able to bolt to the base , even though they will increase the working height by an extra 25mm or so.
So, my floor is now ready for the chipboard (provided the joists don’t require too much work to level them) and yet, I currently have no safe way to get up there… After lugging all this wood around, I’m too weak to pull myself up there from my workbench – to give you some idea – I can still get a good 1.1m on top of my workbench, leading up to the under-edge of the joists (so, the new floor begins a good 2m above floor level – I’m only 1.85m, or so). A sliding or folding loft ladder would take up too much room on top. So, I’m looking at buying a lightweight aluminium ladder (as they’re reasonably cheap, these days), at least for the time being. I’d much prefer to make a wooden ladder to my own design, of course; I even have some 2in thick beech which is long enough for the sides or stiles… However, until I’ve actually finished this floor and have been able to return my workshop in to some kind of state that loosely resembles a form of ‘organisation‘, I can’t get in to doing any serious woodworking.
Even power tool woodworking is out of the question at the moment, since my Hitachi C9U2 circular saw decided to die on me part-way through sawing up my 4x2ins! 😡
So, I don’t know when exactly I’ll get this floor finished, as I’m spending a considerable amount of money on a van this week but, as soon as it happens, you’ll be able to read about it here! 🙂
Thanks for reading.