I finished cutting the balsa wood strips for the upstairs floor. That’s not super exciting, and I wasn’t planning on sharing the details because, normally, the entire update would have been: I laid out the strips on the template, marked the end, put it in the miter box, cut it, repeat, repeat, repeat.
But, of course, here I am sharing that information in great detail. Why, you ask? Because it turns out I can’t count. Or, I can’t follow my templates. Or, I messed up.
I’ll let you be the judge.
When I last worked on the upstairs floor, I stopped somewhere around the staircase opening. Specifically, I stopped somewhere along the far (meaning the door side) of the opening. That’s line 35 on the template.
I can’t remember why I stopped there, so I’m assuming it’s because my hand was tired. It happens.
So, I picked up with line 36. Because I’ve learned a lot about Sharpies and balsa wood, I knew to use the ultra fine-tip marker to number the strips. As you can see, it makes a huge difference.
I made my way along the rest of the template, laying out the wood, marking the ends, cutting the strips, then numbering. Like I said, pretty boring. But, as I approached the end of the template, something wasn’t right. And that’s when this project went sideways.
Something Doesn’t Add Up
If you look at the template, the big number in the middle is how many rows I had when I created the template and arranged the wood.
Here’s a close up.
That number, 49, is how many rows of balsa wood floor I should have. The 100 in the bottom was a rough estimate of the total number of balsa wood strips I would need to create the floor. In case you’re wondering, it’s approximately the same number as the downstairs floor (which makes sense since they’re the same depth).
Only, that’s not what I ended up with.
If you refer back to the earlier post, the original templates weren’t numbered. That was intentional on my part. I left the rows unnumbered, and then as I created each row of floorboards, I numbered the template so I could keep track of which row I was on, where I left off, and how much farther I had to go.
My thought was not numbering the templated would keep me on track and force me to pay attention to what row I was working on and, more importantly, which row was next. Yes, I could have numbered the template, then checked off the row number as I went. In hindsight, this might have been a better idea. But, at the time, I figured it would get too cluttered. All those numbers and checks everywhere.
And this method worked just fine when I created the downstairs floorboards. So, I wasn’t at all worried about it when I started working on the upstairs.
Until I got to the last line.
Running Out of Numbers
I think it was somewhere around line 40 I realized something wasn’t quite right. I kept going to the end and confirmed that yes, something wasn’t right.
Yup. That only goes to 46. But my template says 49.
What did I do wrong?
The first thing I did was check my work. I pulled out one board from each row and lined them up on the template. It was really me pulling the boards out of the pile and lining them up in numerical order to make sure I hadn’t skipped a number.
That looks about right.
OK. Let’s back up.
I started over at line one and made sure to line each board up with its number on the template. As I worked my way through the lines, I found one of the problems.
Apparently, I straight up skipped the real 33. I’m not at all sure how I did that because I marked everything as I went. But, when I went back and looked, sure enough, I went right past the real line 33. It wasn’t numbered or even checked off. Huh.
That was easy enough to fix. I marked exactly which line I skipped with an arrow so I could find it again. Fortunately, the original boards for 33 were close enough to the actual 33, that I could use what I had with a little bit of trimming. Then I kept what I have for the rest of the boards because there’s no sense in redoing the rest of them.
OK. Cool. That brings me to 47 total floorboards. One down, two to go.
A Second Skip
Once I fixed that mistake, I continued moving up the template. And that’s when I came to this:
I moved 38 and 39 out of the way. But, as you can see, I skipped over another line. The real 39 should be just below the current 39.
I must have slid a strip out of place when I was working on this row and didn’t realize it. It’s hard to tell in the picture, but that part of the template is folded under (that’s where the staircase opening is). It creates a slight incline, so maybe I had a board on that incline and didn’t realize it slipped when I measured. I’m not sure.
Also, as you can see, it’s kind of funky how that floorboard lines up to the opening. And the template isn’t folded straight across, even though the opening is straight (thankfully, I didn’t create that opening!). I’m not sure what happened when I made the template originally (as in, how or why it’s marked like that), but here’s what would happen if I placed a floorboard in that row.
That would hurt.
But, when I put that blank strip in with the other ones, it does make the rest of the rows line up correctly.
So, I guess it belongs there. Somehow.
I used one long strip from the edge of the staircase opening over, then cut a second one from the end to the “wall.” That became number 47 on the template, and I then continued my investigation. (It’s hard to see, but it’s there!)
A Dead End
I didn’t find anything else. Technically, I’m still short two rows, even though I was missing three but found two.
That’s some weird math for you.
All the rows fit on the template, so I’m going to go with what I’ve got, mostly because I’m not sure what’s missing at this point. And there’s really nothing I can do until I glue the floorboards in.
Then I dyed and dried the upstairs floor. Thankfully, there’s nothing interesting to report on that project. It went “normally,” which I appreciate. And, if it turns out I need more upstairs floorboards (which, I’m unsure of at this point), I’ve got plenty of dye powder left to create more.
Sigh. As much as I’d like to chalk this up to a newbie mistake, it’s not. At least, I don’t think so. Some of it is a “me” mistake (like skipping two rows). But the miscount… I don’t know. I mean, obviously, it’s a mistake. But I feel like I’m missing something. Whatever it is, it will turn up eventually!
What do you think I’m missing? Or, am I missing nothing (other than my mind!)? Let me know in the comments!