A blog dedicated towards architectural refinement of buildings and environments in which we live, work, and play. Chiefly this is brought about by the author with finish carpentry at heart, and many other disciplines radiating or spinning off from it.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Stained Tongue And Groove Panelling In The Breakfast Room

Before the weekend I managed to get the tongue and groove panelling done in the breakfast room off the kitchen. I had to mold one piece of casing over the granite countertop but it wasn't too hard. They sell these at Lowe's in 8' long packages, the pieces themselves being only 1/4" in thickness. They do go with the theme upstairs in every bedroom but the Master bedroom. I get the impression that they make the room a little cozier, warmer, or more defined. I'd put some up in my house.

The trick with the lenth that they come in is to use three cuts at 32" and use all of the board with no waste. To do this one has to set the panelling bottom line at least below the top line of the base board. Luckily the baseboard here is 4-1/4" high. The top is finished off with a chair rail the same height of the belly of the granite countertop's profile, at 34-1/4".

The backside of the kitchen cabinets was kind of flimsy. Shooting some longer trim nails into the carcases seemed to tighten this up. I glued the back of the panelling with a bead of Liquid Nails - Wood Molding grade and used only 3/4" nails to fix them where I wanted them. After that it was down to the baseboards, a stained quarter-round to hide the corner joints on top, the same in a corner protector at the kitchen side, then the chair rail.
before - where casing piece needs to be molded to countertop.


before chair rail, corner 1/4 round and base.

Over the years in learning and adding little things in my trade that make a difference in the quality of the finish I have found one technique which is pretty simple to use. Most "blow and go" contractors will not take the time to use it, and so it falls to people like myself, or homeowners who will make the time, or pay to see the improvement.

During the process of milling moldings the blades on the molder get dull. If they get dull enough the wood is not cut as well, and instead gets beaten. The heat from this action hardens the wood wherever the blade would have sheared the fibers off cleanly. This is called "mill glaze". Although it is not good to get any wood wet that has been kiln dried - which will make it lose it's dimensional accuracy - you can moisten the profiled surface with a damp rag. This raises the grain ever so slightly. Although it is no remedy to reverse severe mill glaze it will allow easier sanding of the the wood where it has not been heated and softening of the areas that were and allow more even stain penetration. One lets the wood dry a half hour or so and then sands it before staining. Gel stain also decreases blotchiness in pine or troublesome woods like birch. I tend to disapprove of severe staining of light woods to simulate darker one because of the lack of control, some of the results of breaking the mill glaze are worth the try in situations in which this is done. In that situation a wood conditioner is required, adding on even more laborious steps that almost makes it worth while in total cost to simply buy darker woods, like walnut or alder and just varnish them a couple coats.
Above photo features the author spraying water-borne urethane over stained baseboard moldings. I use a two quart pressure pot around 33 psi on a high volume, low pressure sprayer (HVLP rig).

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About Me

Sculptor, Residing in Southern Colorado, USA. age 58. Interested in mould-making, public or outdoor sculpture presentation, and space or environments in which to present them


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