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I have a big pile of high quality tongue and groove floorboards that I would like to reuse as decking timber for a small-ish deck.

The trouble is I don't quite know what the best tools to use would be to cut off the tongue and grooves and get the boards to a standard width. I was thinking that there might be a way of converting a mitre saw to a table saw and do it that way. Is that feasable? Also I will need to round off the edges of the resawn planks. What could I use to do that? I've got a budget of around $600-$700 for new tools (e.g. a reasonable quality mitre saw), but I'm not sure if that would be adequate by itself.

I don't mind doing things a little bit inefficiently, but I don't want the project to become a massive time sink either. Any suggestions?

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3 Answers 3

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First, a disclaimer: Make sure the wood you are going to use will stand up in the environment you're placing them in. You may be better off using these with the T&G on an indoor project. Weather outside will quickly weather non-pressure treated wood, and decks typically require thicker boards than you'd have inside since they don't have a sub-floor.

For long cuts along the length of a board, the best tool is a table saw. And the second best would be a circular saw with a jig. If you don't have plans for more projects like this, or simply need to save space, then the circular saw makes more sense. Setup a jig with a long straight edge that you can run your saw along and clamp it on top of your boards to be cut.

circular saw example jig

To smooth the edges, a router would be best. You could also use a block plane or sander. I'd be tempted to get a belt sander to make this project go quick and to give me the chance to cleanup the finish on the boards at the same time. A small orbital sander would also work and have other uses around the house, but it would take a lot longer and wouldn't be as useful if you want to cleanup the finish on the boards.

belt sander

This is not a recommendation for a specific vendor, sample images only.

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ta. I have a belt sander, so that's good. The timber itself is 40 year old hardwood, that was previously a warehouse floor, so I think it's done all the weathering it's going to do. It's the correct grade of Australian timber for outdoor use (mostly class 2, some class 1). –  singingfish Oct 5 '13 at 2:46
    
For rounding over the edges, a router is the way to go. –  Tester101 Oct 7 '13 at 12:36

Where I live old floor boards are like gold bricks. I had to replace a few boards in a house built in the 1920's and to get boards that matched was like $20 / linear meter. And that was just for ratty old baltic pine, with nail holes and dents and stains. Consider selling the boards and buying new hardwood decking with the proceeds.

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there are huge swathes of the old industrial parts of town being demolished at the moment, so old flooring is not in short supply. The cleanup of the boards is prohibitive unless you're insane like me :) –  singingfish Oct 9 '13 at 19:21

Since it's 40-year-old hardwood, you need a good blade and a strong motor - that means a table saw in my book. I do not think you will get great results with a circular saw.

The best tool for rounding over the edges is a router. It will be hard to get consistent results with a belt sander, and it will be slow work with hardwood.

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ta, got a 1500w bosch circular saw. –  singingfish Oct 9 '13 at 19:21

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