Flat Panel Wainscotingg #2: When In Doubt, Go For the Duck

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Blog entry by Smitty_Cabinetshop posted 10-05-2014 03:33 AM 2524 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: It's going in the Dining Room Part 2 of Flat Panel Wainscotingg series Part 3: The Room Goes 'Final' »

Sitting duck, that is. It’s a pool-playing expression that’s been in the family for years. When the table is full of challenging shots that just don’t seem right, go for that ball sitting near the corner pocket that’s a sure thing. Then use that confidence to leave the que in a better position to take the rest of the table. And I used that same approach with this wainscoting project by asking myself, “What part of the activity is easiest / most straightforward?” and going from there. For me, the window sill was the defining feature of the window wall and had to be addressed first. The rest of the wall, I figured, would fall into place once the under-sill build-out was set in stone.

I made very simple frame of 1×4s, one extra vertical in the middle, and screwed it to wood behind the plaster below the window. Here’s the area below the window after drywall was stripped, before work started.

Then the plaster removed so the frame would have a solid surface.

Sorry (again), no picture of the frame.

But with that space defined (the area under the windowsill), I worked the area left of the window. And here’s the plan:

1. Full panels as a substrate, consisting of 1/4” MDF;
2. Rails and stiles (R&S) made of the same material, ‘stick-built’ to the panels in Step 1;
3. Anchor panels to the wall in areas to be covered by the R&S;
4. Panels to the walls with construction adhesive too; R&S with Titebond and brad nailer.

So some action shots (finally, you say!). Here’s the first wall section in work on the ‘bench’ of the shop:

The MDF was cut with a Porter Cable Model 314 Trim Saw (visible in the forefront of the pic) with a 4’ Harbor Freight straight edge (also visible). The work surface is a sheet of 3/8” OSB on horses. The rails were cut from the 4’ panel, then cross-cut to the right width on the RAS.

With all the R&S cut, the pieces for each wall section were laid on the substrate panel then everything was traced onto the panel. That told me where to pre-drill for the anchor screws.

You can see the lines and screws in this pic as the sub panel is set to the wall.

R&S on the floor of the dining room, stacked and ready for glue and nailing:

Here’s the first wall section in place.

The ‘room’ at the top of the panel is for the ledge and other trim work that’s planned. Repeat the process a couple more times, then attack the middle to see the window wall (and another) come together.

In that picture you can see the recessed screw holes holding the ledge pieces in place. I added a 2” pair of filler strips above the panels that will be covered by layers moldings, too.

More on that and more in the next (and final) installment. Until then, as always, thanks for looking.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

8 comments so far

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3362 days

#1 posted 10-05-2014 08:48 AM

Looks really good so far Smitty.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View GrandpaLen's profile


1650 posts in 2301 days

#2 posted 10-05-2014 01:42 PM

Lookin’ Good, Smitty!

I really like the ‘proud’ panel treatment below the window, nice detail feature.

Work Safely and have Fun. – Len

-- Mother Nature should be proud of what you've done with her tree. - Len ...just north of a stone's throw from the oHIo, river that is, in So. Indiana.

View terryR's profile


7169 posts in 2337 days

#3 posted 10-05-2014 04:21 PM

Looks great, Smitty, after just a few days!

+1 on the proud window treatment…nice touch!

Cannot believe how nice that looks already…did you prime the mdf?

-- tr ...see one, do one, teach one...

View Brit's profile


7387 posts in 2871 days

#4 posted 10-05-2014 08:33 PM

What a transformation Smitty. Looks really grand. Can’t wait for the next installment.

-- - Andy - Old Chinese proverb says: "If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it."

View AnthonyReed's profile


9761 posts in 2468 days

#5 posted 10-06-2014 02:17 PM

Knowing that the build out under the window is a necessary touch is a talent in and of itself. Looks fantastic.

Thanks Smitty.

-- ~Tony

View Don W's profile

Don W

18756 posts in 2596 days

#6 posted 10-06-2014 10:21 PM

The window treatment gives it a three demension look. It looms great. Let’s do the next on in walnut!

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View duckmilk's profile (online now)


2903 posts in 1353 days

#7 posted 10-13-2014 06:24 PM

Whew!! When I first saw the title, I thought you had it in for me.

Looks fantastic, Smitty. Great job under the window.

-- "Duck and Bob would be out doin some farming with funny hats on." chrisstef

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


15369 posts in 2647 days

#8 posted 10-13-2014 06:29 PM

Thanks, Duck! Nah, you’re safe here. :-)

Third installment in work, stay tuned.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

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