Sister Act


In addition to beefy workbenches, I like robust floors.  Floors that “wiggle when you walk” irritate me even if I know they are not unsafe.  I like stout floors so much that the main span of the main floor of the barn is constructed with 12″ joists 12″ o.c. with 3/4″ CDX plywood topped with 5/4″ SYP flooring.  No motion there.

But the floors for the third floor balconies were a little different story.  Those joists were recycled tulip poplar timbers at 24″ o.c. with a double layer of 5/4″ SYP flooring.  Given the non-standard nature of the poplar beams, including the fact that some were a little compromised, there was a fair bit of bounce to some of them.  Again not unsafe, but bouncy.  And irritating.

To compensate for that, given the impending arrival of four dozen folks, about a dozen of whom would be sleeping there, I decided to add some additional strength to selected joists by sistering in some stock.  For the most part I used clear-ish 2x4s that I planed down to 5/4; using them full thickness made it look like I was grafting on bratwurst to the timbers, and thinner was a nicer proportion.

So, I spent parts of two days running them through my trusty DeWalt planer, resulting in a mountainous pile of shavings.  Following that I put a little Roman ogee on the edge, just because I could.


I had already impregnated all the tulip poplar with borate preservative (more about that next week when I blog about the Refinisher’s Group proceedings), so attaching the sisters took some noodling.  I could not apply the PVA adhesive to both gluing surfaces since the borate would immediately gel the PVA, so I applied and extra heaping helping of PVA to the new stock, then screwed it is place with 3″ decking screws after crowning the joist a bit with a bottle jack.

The bounce, she is gone.