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Q: One visitor asked, "Gap dimensions in inches: 10 are about 0.02" less 1/32" = 0.03125, the widest is 0.045" less 1/16" = 0.0625. I measured the gaps using the IBM punched cards which are about the same thickness as a 3x5 file card, which is about .007" thick, i.e. 7 thousands of an inch thick. I used a micrometer to measure them.
The largest gap being about 1/16", I don't know if you consider that a large gap.
Looking from the moon, one might say we are near the lake- we are.
I agree with not inserting any cherry strips until I knew the floor was stable. It would be really dumb to do that in the winter when the floor was the driest. Unless of course I wanted to see how much I could get it to buckle the following humid summer.
Ahh, every project is an opportunity to get another tool. I'll get something to measure humidity and keep track of the gaps sizes.
My only question for you now, is do you think that 1/16" is a large gap."

A: I wouldn't consider 1/16" gap to be large, especially when viewed from the moon. But I don't think I would want to have one any larger than that between any given boards in my floor.
You like your tools, do you? Well, regarding measuring humidity, you can get a very simple and inexpensive one from Radio Shack. It is called a hygrometer. About $40. It will give you the temperature in the immediate area in which it is placed as well as the relative humidity. To actually measure the moisture content of any given item, you would need a moisture meter which come in pin or pinless types. I have a Wagner pinless, which cost me nearly $400.
The moisture content of the environment is an interesting, and to me, a contradictory subject when it comes to hardwood flooring. Of course, there is merit, theoretically, in keeping to a certain level of humidity year round. However, and depending on which source you read, the ideal humidity level should be somewhere between 30-55% relative humidity. Most sources I have read say between 40-55%. I have found it is impossible to maintain such a level of humidity in our cold climate in winter. Water would be streaming down the windows, as did happen to me this past winter. Some woods, and I suspect cherry is one of them, are more sensitive to humidity changes. I think we have to live with that fact, and accept small changes that come with the season.
This past winter and last, I got the humidifier working on my furnace. I had noticed a few larger than normal gaps in my 70 year old oak floors. It was soon after that I bought my hygrometer. The gaps did close up shortly after getting the humidifier working. However, I have notice this past winter that when I kept the relative humidity at around 35% which seemed the normal range, all was fine. A couple of times it got up to 45%, which is the level recommended by hardwood flooring manufacturer sources, I had water streaming down all windows. Perhaps the key word we need to be concerned about is "relative". Relative to what? Well, if the wood is shown by a moisture meter to be dry within acceptable limits with a moisture meter, and when installed is acclimated to the environment, and is not beyond about 4-5% different from the sub floor at the time of installation, then we should be able to keep any shrinkage or expansion to acceptable limits. If, however, we had some flooring, and took it from one environment into our house, and did not give it several days to adjust to it's new environment and just installed it right away, we could have a rude surprise.
As an example, years ago I was working with another company which prided itself on getting things done fast. We had a floor to install right on the edge of Scarborough Bluffs on Lake Ontario. We did not take the wood (oak) into the house for a few days first. We just went in, slammed the floor down, sanded, stained and finished it. Within 3 weeks we had a call back because the floor had cupped from expansion pressure. Moisture off the lake! We had to resand the job. I think the really important factor was:
Has the wood product adjusted to the environment we live in before it was installed?
For your next tool, I would suggest a hygrometer. Not expensive, but a good tool to have around the house.

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