Installing baseboard shoe with warped floor

lannegreenelagOctober 29, 2008

Hello, working with wood is new to me so please excuse any terminology I may lack. I refinished the oak baseboard in our living room. Since the shoe (the little peice that goes between the floor and baseboard) was cheap pine and impossible to strip I decided to buy new oak shoe and install it. I am working through my learning curve with this. The bigest problem I've encountered is where the 90 year old red oak flooring is warped, pushing up the flooring where a 3' section of shoe need to be installed. Picture 1' straight, then 1' of a rainbow arch, 1 straight (the straight sections are at slightly differnt levels). I expect this is due to a past water leak from the bathroom above. How do I bend the shoe to fit? The floor is only warped in this small corner of the room so I don't want to do anything to the floor.

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You would either remove material from the floor to make it flat, or remove material from the shoe to make it conform. You can't bend oak shoe to very small curves unless you steam it.
If I am refinishing a floor, I have used a hand plane to dress down high spots along the baseboard, then the sanding takes care of the transition to the rest of the floor.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2008 at 7:38AM
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Thank you for the reply. I had not thought of using a hand plane. I have a small one. I think I'm going to try and use three peices of shoe, and plane down the shoe section where is curves. Thank you! I'm glad shoe is cheap.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2008 at 9:15AM
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Without a picture, I'm just guessing, but I'd say that 3 sections of one foot each won't look normal. (Or maybe I'm just misunderstanding your description.)

As Casey says, remove material somewhere. If it's off the back of the shoe, then the shoe will bend much more. (A sander with coarse paper would also be good for this task.)

    Bookmark   October 30, 2008 at 6:49PM
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You're saying that the curve you need to make is higher in the middle than at the ends (rainbow). I had the same problem a number of years ago. In my case a short section of wall was slightly bowed but the process is the same.

Make a series of parallel (kerf) cuts along the back of the shoe with a saw. Start with 1/4" or so spacing and add more cuts as needed. Obviously you don't want to cut through the visible surface of the shoe. The cuts will make the wood more flexible and give it a place to "go" when you start bending.

Look at figure 4-2 in the link provided. It's not base shoe but I think you'll get the idea

Here is a link that might be useful: Kerf cuts

    Bookmark   October 31, 2008 at 8:21AM
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How high is the bow?

You may be able to just nail one end down and force the shoe mold to follow the floor.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2008 at 4:19PM
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