Wooden Floor Mat
Skill level: Beginner
Estimated Cost: $30
Time Estimate: 1 day plus finishing
Dimensions: 36-1/4" x 23-1/4" x 3/4"
Step 1.Cut the 1"x2" boards into 4' pieces for easier handling. Sand the faces and edges of each board with 120-grit sandpaper followed by 180-grit sandpaper. Then cut the boards into 9"-long pieces and sand the ends smooth. Step 2. Install a 5/16" bit in a drill press. Mark an edge of one board along its center and 1-1/8" from the end. Use this piece to either set a stop block on a fence attached to the drill press or as a guide to mark the remaining pieces. Place a piece of scrap wood beneath the boards to keep the undersides from tearing out when the bit emerges, and drill holes on both ends of each piece. Don’t have a drill press, but you know someone who does? Ask your friend to make a half-dozen 5/16" diameter holes in a scrap 2"x4". Use the holes as a guide for your handheld drill to start holes through the mat pieces. Once started, the bit will guide itself within the hole. To provide a stable surface for your drilling jig, tape six mat pieces together on edge and drill all of them at once. No friend with the right tool? Saw a notch in a 2"x4" with edges 90 degrees to the surface and use that to guide the bit.
Step 3. If you decide to paint your mat, first apply a coat of primer and let dry. Lightly sand smooth and apply two coats of paint. If you want the look of natural wood instead, apply at least two coats of a clear outdoor finish, such as a spar or marine varnish. Plan to sand and refinish the wood each year.
Step 4. Lay out 15 pieces and measure the width of your mat. Then cut the threaded rods about 5/8" longer than the mat width and file the cut end smooth.
Step 5. Insert a threaded rod through 15 pieces. Hold the rod steady with pliers while turning a stop nut onto each end to hold the rod in place. Continue adding groups of seven or eight pieces, as shown in the Project Diagram, to lengthen the mat. On the end rows, you’ll leave spaces between the mat pieces, so avoid fastening the nuts too tightly.