Flat Panel Wainscotingg #3: The Room Goes 'Final'

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Blog entry by Smitty_Cabinetshop posted 10-16-2014 04:55 AM 3780 reads 1 time favorited 21 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: When In Doubt, Go For the Duck Part 3 of Flat Panel Wainscotingg series no next part

I filled the gap at the top of the south wall with MDF scrap to get to the cap rail, then built up a moulding profile as best I could. Not the best work I’ve ever come up with, but I’ll shoulder the responsibility. Had to get it done and stop the analysis.

The baseboard was needed as well, but I didn’t take pictures of that prep. Tonight it was installed, as last night was a night of cutting and fitting and painting. One design element my Dad noticed in the inspiration picture was the matching reveals of each horizontal component of the panels. So the baseboard needed to be a bit lower that I originally planned. The final result looks great to my eye.

Here’s the dimension of the original MDF baseboard.

I ripped the top of the store-bought profile and liked the result.

Sorry for the lack of ‘how-to’ on this final installment, but work is completed. The point of the blog, I guess, centers on an admission: MDF is workable material. For a die-hard solid wood guy, working with truly dimensional stuff was kinda nice. And because it’s painted, it makes complete sense in this application.

Oh, and go with your gut when it comes to designs that inspire. See it, do it!

As always, thanks for looking.

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

21 comments so far

View Tugboater78's profile


2743 posts in 2192 days

#1 posted 10-16-2014 05:32 AM

Looking nice Smitty! inspiration for my never ending house remodel

-- "....put that handsaw to work and make it earn its keep. - summerfi" <==< JuStiN >==>=->

View GrandpaLen's profile


1650 posts in 2272 days

#2 posted 10-16-2014 06:07 AM

Well it looks just like it belongs there.
If the plan was to paint it from the beginning, then MDF makes a lot of sense, nice smooth surface and no woodgrain telegraphing through the paint.

The scale of the trim and base moldings is very nice. IMHO.

Well done Sir.
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 stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3334 days

#3 posted 10-16-2014 10:27 AM

Wow, quite a transformation Smitty, looks beautiful. I think there are lots of applications for MDF in the woodworking world and this is definitely one of them. Well Done!

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Don W's profile

Don W

18715 posts in 2567 days

#4 posted 10-16-2014 11:19 AM

Nice work Smitty. A great improvement.

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

View chrisstef's profile


17386 posts in 3006 days

#5 posted 10-16-2014 12:04 PM

That’s looks great Smitty! Real classy like.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View SPalm's profile


5320 posts in 3882 days

#6 posted 10-16-2014 12:18 PM

Nice work Smitty.
I does really look like it belongs to the house.
I really like the little bump out below the window. Very nice.

Did you have to seal the edges of the MDF? The painting looks pro.


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View AnthonyReed's profile


9716 posts in 2440 days

#7 posted 10-16-2014 12:29 PM

Beautiful results Smitty.


-- ~Tony

View putty's profile


1189 posts in 1606 days

#8 posted 10-16-2014 12:32 PM

Nice work Smitty, I like MDF for the paintability…except for the porous end grain.

-- Putty

View Gshepherd's profile


1727 posts in 2201 days

#9 posted 10-16-2014 12:58 PM

Very Nice work Smitty…. Amazing how it makes the room pop.

-- What we do in life will Echo through Eternity........

View ToddJB's profile


7947 posts in 2130 days

#10 posted 10-16-2014 01:51 PM

Very, very nice. Colors are great.

-- I came - I sawed - I over-built

View terryR's profile


7138 posts in 2308 days

#11 posted 10-16-2014 01:51 PM

Great finished room, Smitty. Thanks for sharing all the tips! We have a room here that needs new panelling from the chair rails down…maybe I can try your build? It looks wonderful!

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

View Brad's profile


1139 posts in 2740 days

#12 posted 10-16-2014 01:56 PM

I never knew that MDF could look so good. Well done Smitty!

-- "People's lives are their own rewards or punishments."

View Mauricio's profile


7144 posts in 3151 days

#13 posted 10-16-2014 02:11 PM

Came out great Smitty!

-- Mauricio - Woodstock, GA - "Confusion is the Womb of Learning, with utter conviction being it's Tomb" Prof. T.O. Nitsch

View Brit's profile


7376 posts in 2842 days

#14 posted 10-17-2014 06:04 AM

You nailed it Smitty. Well Done!

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

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


15353 posts in 2618 days

#15 posted 10-17-2014 04:25 PM

Thanks, all.

RE: sealing the edges of MDF…

For the baseboard, I painted the top edge after ripping off a bit to get it to the right height. Before painting, of course, I sanded. Next evening I sanded those top edges again, pretty aggressively, to get a degree of smooth back. Then, post-install, hit said edge with a generous second coat of paint. I like the result.

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

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