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I just took on the job of installing hardwood in my entire upstairs and I have one bedroom almost completed. I started with a nice straight first row, face nailed on the edge closest to wall and manually blind nailed through the tongue, drilling pilot hole first then hammering in finishing nail. The next row, I blind nailed manually too, and that's when it happened - the thin bit broke off in the wood. Figured it was a bad bit, got another bit, got through a few more nails and then...it happened again, broke right off in the tonge. :furious:
So at this point I did a quick search online, learned that different bits have different strengths and that you're not really supposed to drill at an angle but instead should drill perpendicular to the wood first then tilt the bit until it's at the proper angle and then your drill won't break. I only had a few more to do on that second row, and they went fine. So I went ahead and finished the majority of the floor with the blessed pneumatic blind nailer. But then I hit the far wall with 4 more rows to go and obviously couldn't fit the nailer in so...back to manual blind nailing. The first few hole went fine except for the fact that the planks were now not fitting as tightly as they did while using the pneumatic. And I thought I was doing everything right...but then, the titanium bit broke clean off in the wood. :censored:

Can anybody take a guess as to what I'm doing wrong? I'm about at my wit's end with this and I still have another room and a whole hallway to do. I know you're not supposed to face nail in visible planks but I can't see any option at this point and I can't imagine that I'm just making some huge mistake but please...enlighten me!!
 

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I had to face nail through the planks not the tongue and that was on the installation instructions. I did angle a few through the tongue untill I was to close to the wall to get the proper angle. When drilling, drill a little and then back the bit out a little to clear the chips, if you are not doing that I think it will help. I had some carpeting done after my hardwood was done and the carpet installer also owns a hardwood installation company. He said they do not face nail but glue the first and last few down and use wedges from the wall to bring together. I will fill the face nails soon but even without being filled the are hard to notice. Good luck with your project.
 

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I may resort to face nailing though I know it's not technically the right thing to do. I've seen many places online say that only the first and last rows should be face nailed, which means at least a few rows must be blind nailed by hand. Anyone else have any advice on manual blind nailing? How to prevent bits from breaking and keep the gaps tight?
 

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I laid 3/4" maple in a living room, kitchen, and 3 bedrooms. Total of about 900 sf, small house.

Don't give up attempting those pilot holes. My guess is it is partially your drilling technique. If you put any sideways pressure on your bit it will snap. It's tough not to do when drilling hardwood at an angle but keep at it.

Make sure you are very straight with your drill, and only put slight downward pressure on the bit. Let the bit do the work and avoid pushing.

What kind of wood is it?
 

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You need to go out and rent yourself a flooring nailer and compressor. You are installing the flooring wrong and the boards will not be installed at tightly as if you used a flooring nailer. You should also only face nail on the first and last course. You may be voiding any warranty that the flooring comes with.
 

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derf: Thanks! This is great advice and I will keep at it, maybe I was pushing with the bit too much, I will try this method. It is 3/4 inch Red Oak

Jaros: Please re-read my original post. You can't use a floor nailer (which I used for almost the entire floor) on the last rows of flooring due to it being to close to the wall (no clearance to hit the nailer). This means you have to blind nail by hand or face nail.
 

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Can anybody take a guess as to what I'm doing wrong?
When hand nailing areas use the straightest boards possible. This means at the start of the job I would set aside as many straight pieces as possible for use in these areas. It's much easier to get the crooked boards tight in open areas with the use of the mallet and/or nailing machine.

Oh and here's a nice tool to get them tight...or you can just resort to the screw driver and hammer trick installers have been using for years.



Powernailer Power Jack 200
 

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derf: Thanks! This is great advice and I will keep at it, maybe I was pushing with the bit too much, I will try this method. It is 3/4 inch Red Oak

Jaros: Please re-read my original post. You can't use a floor nailer (which I used for almost the entire floor) on the last rows of flooring due to it being to close to the wall (no clearance to hit the nailer). This means you have to blind nail by hand or face nail.

michavissar, are you using nails, without glue? because this will give you headeachs real soon, and for the next 20 years :whistling2:


when the nailer does not have room to fit, you should be gluing those board down and using an brad nailer, they make them in small compact form so they will fit till the last row, or the before last row, depending how wide your wood is. Hit it at 45º through the tongue.(dont' be afraid to hit every 6" with brad nails) Make sure they are in all the way, or hit them with a finishing nail punch and hammer. Make sure they are glued! Or else they will spread apart, and squeek as you walk on them. Also, there are tools for pulling in flooring tight at installation. Looks like this pic...

Good luck with this project,
 

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