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Help with carpentry questions

  1. #1
    Backwoods lobster boy number9's Avatar
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    Help with carpentry questions


    As you are about to see, I am a beginner in this particular domain. Here goes:

    I am trying to update Mrs number9's office slightly. She wants to add beadboard (which comes in nice 24"x36" sheets) and a simple chair rail to the walls. Originally I was going to hire this out on Taskrabbit or something, but I'd actually like to learn how to do this so I bought a table saw to give it a go. (I already had a nail gun and a compressor from other projects years ago.)

    I'm having two issues, which are related. What should I do to improve?

    1. The table saw's top expands to rip about a 27" board; anything wider than that and the fence won't mount properly. If I need to rip a board that's 30", is my best option to rip two 15" boards (or a 28" and a 2", whatever) in order to make sure that the rips are as close to straight as possible and then sand & caulk the join? Or do I need to go out and buy a circular saw?
    2. I ripped three different 9" boards and grew increasingly angry that none of them fit the gap properly... until I realized that the (existing) baseboards are not perfectly 90° with respect to the walls. Should I cut a board to 10" and then scribe it to the wall to get the exact shape & cut it down, or is there a better way to do this?

    The tough thing about this is that I'm trying to learn & improve as I go, but I also don't want it to look like dogshit.

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    Last edited by number9; 09-13-21 at 06:34 PM.
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    Burns retinas nhbubba's Avatar
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    Re: Help with carpentry questions

    You're talking about the faux beadboard that is hardboard, patterned to look like beadboard?
    You aren't going to want to have any more seams in that than you absolutely have to. Especially seams that run perpendicular to the seams emulating the beadboard planks.
    I would use a circular saw and a guide.

    Honestly, a table saw is a pain in the ass (and can be kinda dangerous) for breaking down sheet goods. The hot new thing is called a track saw. But that is kind of a specialized tool. I bought one a couple years ago and it is the beez kneez. Although you can do just as well with a regular circular saw and a long straight-edge and/or a steady hand.
    Buy a high tooth count finish saw-blade while you are at it.
    Buy a sheet of solid foam insulation to cut ontop of as well to reduce tear-out.

    Also do not skimp with the glue when putting it on the wall. Otherwise in ~8-10 years it will start to sag. Go ahead and ask how I know.

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    Awesomeness, Inc. MattR302's Avatar
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    Re: Help with carpentry questions

    I’ve got no experience with beadboard and chair rail, but I’ve done a decent amount of trim carpentry stuff…
    Why are you trying to rip the beadboard? Is the 36” dimension the height? If so just use that as the full height and put the rail on top. A horizontal seam in the middle of the beadboard will 100% look like dogshit, no matter how much caulk and sanding you do.
    I would remove the baseboard trim first. Install the beadboard so it’s level at about a 36.5” height, to account for the floor not being level/flat - if you can rent or borrow a 360 degree laser level that will be a huge help. Reinstall the baseboard and it will cover the gap at the bottom.

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    Last edited by MattR302; 09-13-21 at 09:31 PM.

  4. #4
    Backwoods lobster boy number9's Avatar
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    Re: Help with carpentry questions

    Quote Originally Posted by nhbubba View Post
    You're talking about the faux beadboard that is hardboard, patterned to look like beadboard?
    You aren't going to want to have any more seams in that than you absolutely have to. Especially seams that run perpendicular to the seams emulating the beadboard planks.
    I would use a circular saw and a guide.
    Yeah, that's the beadboard I'm talking about. Sorry for any confusion! I'm a little worried about creating seams too, but I don't know what my other options are. When you say "circular saw and a guide", do you mean screw a 1by or 2by to the beadboard to create a temporary guide for the saw to run against?

    Honestly, a table saw is a pain in the ass (and can be kinda dangerous) for breaking down sheet goods. The hot new thing is called a track saw. But that is kind of a specialized tool. I bought one a couple years ago and it is the beez kneez. Although you can do just as well with a regular circular saw and a long straight-edge and/or a steady hand.
    Buy a high tooth count finish saw-blade while you are at it.
    Buy a sheet of solid foam insulation to cut ontop of as well to reduce tear-out.
    I guess this answers my question about the guide. Track saws look awesome, but uhh pretty expensive! It sounds like a circular saw + guide is going to be my best bet. The table saw is a Ridgid and came with a Ridgid blade, but I didn't think of replacing the blade. If it will help me cut straight, I'll do it...

    Also do not skimp with the glue when putting it on the wall. Otherwise in ~8-10 years it will start to sag. Go ahead and ask how I know.
    I had initially planned on just using nails, but after watching a ton of videos it became clear you need construction adhesive as well so that's what I'm going with in addition to the nails.

    Quote Originally Posted by MattR302 View Post
    I’ve got no experience with beadboard and chair rail, but I’ve done a decent amount of trim carpentry stuff…
    Why are you trying to rip the beadboard? Is the 36” dimension the height? If so just use that as the full height and put the rail on top. A horizontal seam in the middle of the beadboard will 100% look like dogshit, no matter how much caulk and sanding you do.
    I would remove the baseboard trim first. Install the beadboard so it’s level at about a 36.5” height, to account for the floor not being level/flat - if you can rent or borrow a 360 degree laser level that will be a huge help. Reinstall the baseboard and it will cover the gap at the bottom.
    I think my explanation wasn't clear, sorry about that. The sheets are 24x36 and I need to rip some of them vertically because some of my walls are only 9-12". I was planning to put a vertical seam in there for the 29" wall (because my table saw can't rip that wide), but if you're that convinced it will look like shit then I might be better off buying a circular saw.

    I'm a bit confused about your baseboard comment. If I install the beadboard level, how will reinstalling the baseboard help hide the gap?

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  5. #5
    Burns retinas nhbubba's Avatar
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    Re: Help with carpentry questions

    As a rule, saws come with rather bargain basement, jack of all trades blades. For clean finish work you may want to invest in a higher tooth count "finish" saw. It will make much cleaner cuts. Relegate the "stock" blade to cutting 2x4's and construction lumber where nobody cares what the cuts look like. In fact I bet you'll find the stock blade is basically a low-tooth contractor blade. Basically for framing.
    This is true for both table and circular saws.
    The blade won't help so much with straight, but instead with how clean the cut is. A rough framing blade will cause a lot of tear-out.. which will look like ass. You can mitigate that some by putting painters tape down on your cut-line as well. Using a sheet of foam or some other sacrificial surface underneath helps too.

    As for a guide. The guide can be anything straight. The more accurate you want the cut, the straighter the guide needs to be. Some people use a 2x4. But if you are like me and do your shopping at lowes or HD, that isn't very straight. Some people get a length of aluminum box. The factory edge of another sheet of the beadboard could work too. Just something to run the edge of the circular saw up against to keep it running straight as you cut.

    Thinking this through, if you can plan the cuts such that you put the factory edge against your chair rail and hide your cut under the baseboard trim then you can get away with just free-handing off a chalk line or something. Also lets you be a bit less concerned with tear-out.

    Do not nail the hardboard to the wall. It will look like ass, not hold, and the hardboard will bow and flex as the temperature and humidity changes.

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    Burns retinas nhbubba's Avatar
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    Re: Help with carpentry questions

    Oh, and clamp your saw guide to the work. Don't fasten it.

    There are also a ton of videos about building your own DIY track-saw on the yootoobes. Check those out if you are interested in doing a project so you can get started on this project.

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    Re: Help with carpentry questions

    If you remove the baseboard trim, you can install the beadboard so it’s level all around the room. If the floor isn’t flat, you’ll end up with gaps between the bottom of the beadboard and the floor. Reinstall the baseboard trim in front of the beadboard and it will hide the gaps.

    For a circular saw guide, just get a straight piece of wood 36” long, and clamp it at both ends of the piece you’re trying to cut. (1by or 2by wouldn’t be a good option for this since they’re rarely straight.)

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    Re: Help with carpentry questions

    Stock photo of what you're going for?
    Not a carpenter, but a big DIYer with vast knowledge of what you can do with both a table saw, circular saw, and circular saw guides.

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    Burns retinas nhbubba's Avatar
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    Re: Help with carpentry questions

    Something like this?

    Help with carpentry questions-dsc_0139-jpg

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    Re: Help with carpentry questions

    Got it. The less seams, the better. But I assume the board you are using has some pattern that can help hide them? If it is smooth board, its going to be very tough to make look good. I always assumed when it looked smooth it was just a chair rail nailed over drywall/plaster and that there wasn't a specific board. Link to the board you are interested in buying?

    So it begs the question....why such small sheets and not 4x8? 4x8 sheets look pretty common on the home depot website for this type of board.

    Lastly, you can use the table saw to rip longer boards with help from a friend and some measuring. If you want to rip a 4 foot board down to 36 inches, but your saw only goes to 27, set the fence at 12 inches and adjust an 1/8th (so 11 7/8) inch for width of the blade (since you are cutting into the measuring side). That, or a a circular saw with a guide as noted above. I would buy a circular saw, you'll use it a ton. Kreg makes guides, but clamps and straight board works great.

    https://www.kregtool.com/shop/cuttin...t/KMA2685.html I have this one but only works up to 24 inches. Sometimes this is a lot easier than trying to muscle a mega board onto the table saw - use to rip sheet wood on the long side. The only reason I bought this is that I trust it more than having an 8 foot long piece of wood that is perfectly straight.
    https://www.kregtool.com/shop/cuttin...t/KMA2700.html This one will work for any width cut, but will max out at 50 inches in length - use to rip sheet wood across the short side. I didn't buy this one because I can trust a 4 foot board to be straight enough.

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    Last edited by JettaJayGLS; 09-14-21 at 09:47 AM.
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    Angry Gumball RandyO's Avatar
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    Re: Help with carpentry questions

    I recently did some nice clean rips with my Skilsaw, clamped my fence to the plank, and also clamped my plank to the sawhorses, so nothing moved

    if you don't have a circular saw, I recommend a worm drive rather than a sidewinder, they cost a little more, but have more torque for harder woods, and have the ability to use a post & beam attachment

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    Backwoods lobster boy number9's Avatar
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    Re: Help with carpentry questions

    First off, thanks for all the replies. This is the look I'm shooting for:



    I may be using the wrong terms (wainscoting instead of beadboard).

    Quote Originally Posted by nhbubba View Post
    As a rule, saws come with rather bargain basement, jack of all trades blades. For clean finish work you may want to invest in a higher tooth count "finish" saw. It will make much cleaner cuts. Relegate the "stock" blade to cutting 2x4's and construction lumber where nobody cares what the cuts look like. In fact I bet you'll find the stock blade is basically a low-tooth contractor blade. Basically for framing.
    This is true for both table and circular saws.
    The blade won't help so much with straight, but instead with how clean the cut is. A rough framing blade will cause a lot of tear-out.. which will look like ass. You can mitigate that some by putting painters tape down on your cut-line as well. Using a sheet of foam or some other sacrificial surface underneath helps too.
    This was helpful, thanks!

    As for a guide. The guide can be anything straight. The more accurate you want the cut, the straighter the guide needs to be. Some people use a 2x4. But if you are like me and do your shopping at lowes or HD, that isn't very straight. Some people get a length of aluminum box. The factory edge of another sheet of the beadboard could work too. Just something to run the edge of the circular saw up against to keep it running straight as you cut.
    I have a couple of pieces of steel that might work.. I think I also have some unused baseboards which will probably be easier. Factory edge of a beadboard sheet is a good idea but they're so thin that I'd need to stack a couple on top of each other, which would make it harder to guarantee straightness?

    Thinking this through, if you can plan the cuts such that you put the factory edge against your chair rail and hide your cut under the baseboard trim then you can get away with just free-handing off a chalk line or something. Also lets you be a bit less concerned with tear-out.
    I'm ripping the boards vertically, i.e. parallel with the vertical lines on the board itself. That means there's nowhere for me to hide

    Do not nail the hardboard to the wall. It will look like ass, not hold, and the hardboard will bow and flex as the temperature and humidity changes.
    All the videos I've seen show nailing it and gluing it.

    Quote Originally Posted by nhbubba View Post
    Oh, and clamp your saw guide to the work. Don't fasten it.

    There are also a ton of videos about building your own DIY track-saw on the yootoobes. Check those out if you are interested in doing a project so you can get started on this project.
    I'll check them out, thanks!

    Quote Originally Posted by MattR302 View Post
    If you remove the baseboard trim, you can install the beadboard so it’s level all around the room. If the floor isn’t flat, you’ll end up with gaps between the bottom of the beadboard and the floor. Reinstall the baseboard trim in front of the beadboard and it will hide the gaps.
    Ahh gotcha. I was not planning on removing the baseboards for this project... not sure if I want to do that?

    Quote Originally Posted by JettaJayGLS View Post
    Stock photo of what you're going for?
    Not a carpenter, but a big DIYer with vast knowledge of what you can do with both a table saw, circular saw, and circular saw guides.
    I just posted one at the top of this comment

    Quote Originally Posted by JettaJayGLS View Post
    Got it. The less seams, the better. But I assume the board you are using has some pattern that can help hide them? If it is smooth board, its going to be very tough to make look good. I always assumed when it looked smooth it was just a chair rail nailed over drywall/plaster and that there wasn't a specific board. Link to the board you are interested in buying?
    The board has a repeating pattern where I could potentially hide a seam. Even if I buy a circular saw to cut a 36" section and avoid the need to create a seam because my saw is too small, I'm going to have seams in other places where the walls are so big that they require multiple sheets. Should I cut size the sheets appropriately so that the seam falls into this pattern?

    I can't find the exact board I'm using on Home Depot's website, but this board is very close. The difference is that mine is smaller; we preferred the size of these boards for some reason. The 4'x8' sheets are more common though.

    Lastly, you can use the table saw to rip longer boards with help from a friend and some measuring. If you want to rip a 4 foot board down to 36 inches, but your saw only goes to 27, set the fence at 12 inches and adjust an 1/8th (so 11 7/8) inch for width of the blade (since you are cutting into the measuring side). That, or a a circular saw with a guide as noted above. I would buy a circular saw, you'll use it a ton. Kreg makes guides, but clamps and straight board works great.
    I think I'll end up buying a circular saw and maybe a guide anyway. But, I'm not sure I understood the bit about setting the fence at 12".. it's like you were missing a sentence at the end?

    https://www.kregtool.com/shop/cuttin...t/KMA2685.html I have this one but only works up to 24 inches. Sometimes this is a lot easier than trying to muscle a mega board onto the table saw - use to rip sheet wood on the long side. The only reason I bought this is that I trust it more than having an 8 foot long piece of wood that is perfectly straight.
    https://www.kregtool.com/shop/cuttin...t/KMA2700.html This one will work for any width cut, but will max out at 50 inches in length - use to rip sheet wood across the short side. I didn't buy this one because I can trust a 4 foot board to be straight enough.
    Yeah, I think I'll get one of these things.

    Quote Originally Posted by RandyO View Post
    I recently did some nice clean rips with my Skilsaw, clamped my fence to the plank, and also clamped my plank to the sawhorses, so nothing moved

    if you don't have a circular saw, I recommend a worm drive rather than a sidewinder, they cost a little more, but have more torque for harder woods, and have the ability to use a post & beam attachment
    I don't even know what a post & beam attachment is..

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    Last edited by number9; 09-14-21 at 12:03 PM.
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    Re: Help with carpentry questions

    Quote Originally Posted by number9 View Post

    I don't even know what a post & beam attachment is..

    looks like a mini chainsaw, allows you to cut beams a foot or more thick in one cut
    Help with carpentry questions-prazi-beam-cutter-jpg

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    Re: Help with carpentry questions

    Quote Originally Posted by RandyO View Post
    looks like a mini chainsaw, allows you to cut beams a foot or more thick in one cut
    Help with carpentry questions-prazi-beam-cutter-jpg
    That looks like a biscuit joiner and a chainsaw had a lovechild. I want one

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    Re: Help with carpentry questions

    Quote Originally Posted by number9 View Post

    But, I'm not sure I understood the bit about setting the fence at 12".. it's like you were missing a sentence at the end?
    Lets say you have a board that is 48 inches wide, and you want to cut it down to 36 inches. If you set the fence at 12 inches, you are left with 36 inches on the other. This isn't exactly true. Normally, the width of the blade is compensated for, so your 12 inch side will be 12 inches, but your 36 inch side will be slightly shorter due to the width of the blade. The blade should be ~1/8th inch thick. So you are left with a clean 12 inch side and the other side is 35 7/8.

    To compensate, set the fence at 11 7/8. That will leave you with two pieces: one 11 & 7/8 and the other 36 inches.

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    Angry Gumball RandyO's Avatar
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    Re: Help with carpentry questions

    Quote Originally Posted by nhbubba View Post
    As a rule, saws come with rather bargain basement, jack of all trades blades. For clean finish work you may want to invest in a higher tooth count "finish" saw. It will make much cleaner cuts. Relegate the "stock" blade to cutting 2x4's and construction lumber where nobody cares what the cuts look like. In fact I bet you'll find the stock blade is basically a low-tooth contractor blade. Basically for framing.
    This is true for both table and circular saws.
    I got a 100 tooth for my miter saw (12"), cuts thru the sugar maple for my workbench were like glass, original blade was a 36 tooth, I have an 80 tooth for my circular saw (10¼")

    I like my worm drive 10¼" so much, I'm gonna toss my sidewinder 7¼ and replace with a worm drive

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    Backwoods lobster boy number9's Avatar
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    Re: Help with carpentry questions

    Quote Originally Posted by JettaJayGLS View Post
    Lets say you have a board that is 48 inches wide, and you want to cut it down to 36 inches. If you set the fence at 12 inches, you are left with 36 inches on the other. This isn't exactly true. Normally, the width of the blade is compensated for, so your 12 inch side will be 12 inches, but your 36 inch side will be slightly shorter due to the width of the blade. The blade should be ~1/8th inch thick. So you are left with a clean 12 inch side and the other side is 35 7/8.

    To compensate, set the fence at 11 7/8. That will leave you with two pieces: one 11 & 7/8 and the other 36 inches.
    Ohhh, I got it, that makes sense now. Thanks for posting; I wouldn't have taken the width of the blade into account when doing it that way.

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    Re: Help with carpentry questions

    You want to rip on the existing seam in the wainscot/beadboard/whatever-the-fuck pattern that is pressed into the hardboard. You want the seams to fall on the pattern. All your cuts obviously need to fall on the pattern or be buried in a corner. Caulk will hide a lot of mistakes.. in the corner.

    Now I wonder if you can't score with a utility knife and break it, like wallboard.

    At this point I can't remember how I cut mine when I did this.

    Now I'm interested in how folks nail this stuff. Must just be tacking it until the glue sets. I can't imagine a narrow head finish nail holding this stuff for long.



    Jay is saying you can set the fence so the fence is against the off-cut. The keeper part will be to the far side of blade. That would work too.

    I still say invest in a circular saw. It is way safer and less of a pain in the ass than trying to cut sheet goods alone on a home-owner sized table saw.

    I suspect that you and I have no use for a post and beam attachment. Don't even bother googling it.
    I have a "sidewinder" that I paid <$100 for eons ago. I beat the bag out of it and it still works.
    I'd consider a nice brushless cordless unit for home-gamers like us before a worm-drive. We aren't framing for a living.. so whatever. Don't get me wrong, I dream about buying a worm drive. But I haven't got enough need to justify the $.

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    Awesomeness, Inc. MattR302's Avatar
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    Re: Help with carpentry questions

    For vertical seams, put the factory edge against each other. Put the cut edges in the corners. And when you do the corners, take a minute to think about the viewing angle which you will mainly see the corner, and think what will look better in terms of which side to attach first.
    For example, for this corner:
    _|
    If you’re looking at it from the top, you’re looking right at the gap.
    If you’re looking at it from the left, the gap is still there, but it’s not as obvious.

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    Re: Help with carpentry questions

    Quote Originally Posted by nhbubba View Post
    You want to rip on the existing seam in the wainscot/beadboard/whatever-the-fuck pattern that is pressed into the hardboard. You want the seams to fall on the pattern. All your cuts obviously need to fall on the pattern or be buried in a corner. Caulk will hide a lot of mistakes.. in the corner.

    Now I wonder if you can't score with a utility knife and break it, like wallboard.

    At this point I can't remember how I cut mine when I did this.

    Now I'm interested in how folks nail this stuff. Must just be tacking it until the glue sets. I can't imagine a narrow head finish nail holding this stuff for long.



    Jay is saying you can set the fence so the fence is against the off-cut. The keeper part will be to the far side of blade. That would work too.

    I still say invest in a circular saw. It is way safer and less of a pain in the ass than trying to cut sheet goods alone on a home-owner sized table saw.

    I suspect that you and I have no use for a post and beam attachment. Don't even bother googling it.
    I have a "sidewinder" that I paid <$100 for eons ago. I beat the bag out of it and it still works.
    I'd consider a nice brushless cordless unit for home-gamers like us before a worm-drive. We aren't framing for a living.. so whatever. Don't get me wrong, I dream about buying a worm drive. But I haven't got enough need to justify the $.

    the big difference I noticed with a worm drive is a lot less/zero wondering of the blade, not a big deal cross cutting 2x4s, but very noticeable on a long rip, even with a fence

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    Backwoods lobster boy number9's Avatar
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    Re: Help with carpentry questions

    Quote Originally Posted by nhbubba View Post
    You want to rip on the existing seam in the wainscot/beadboard/whatever-the-fuck pattern that is pressed into the hardboard. You want the seams to fall on the pattern. All your cuts obviously need to fall on the pattern or be buried in a corner. Caulk will hide a lot of mistakes.. in the corner.
    Got it, thanks! This was really helpful.

    Quote Originally Posted by MattR302 View Post
    For vertical seams, put the factory edge against each other. Put the cut edges in the corners. And when you do the corners, take a minute to think about the viewing angle which you will mainly see the corner, and think what will look better in terms of which side to attach first.
    For example, for this corner:
    _|
    If you’re looking at it from the top, you’re looking right at the gap.
    If you’re looking at it from the left, the gap is still there, but it’s not as obvious.
    I have one external corner right when you enter the room, and I thought about which to put where from a viewing angle. Didn't think of it for the internal corners though!

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  22. #22
    Fast is contagious JettaJayGLS's Avatar
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    Re: Help with carpentry questions

    Can't you miter it? Even though its thin, it should still help.

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  23. #23
    Burns retinas nhbubba's Avatar
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    Re: Help with carpentry questions

    I don’t have any outside corners. Only inside. I’m no help there.

    I did have several edges again openings or doorways with no edge molding. I decided to trim those out with quarter round. Fwiw.

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  24. #24
    Backwoods lobster boy number9's Avatar
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    Re: Help with carpentry questions

    Quote Originally Posted by JettaJayGLS View Post
    Can't you miter it? Even though its thin, it should still help.
    Yeah, I tried that once, but as luck would have it the first miter fell right in the pattern of the beadboard so it looked all fucked up. It actually looked like the blade had burned the wood.

    I think I'd be better off cutting a perfect 45° miter first from a large piece, and then cutting the other edge of board to the correct width?

    I just bought a 60-tooth table saw blade from Home Depot (it was about $60!) and the difference is night and day. Even cutting a mitered edge it looks perfect

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    Last edited by number9; 09-14-21 at 05:40 PM.
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  25. #25
    Awesomeness, Inc. MattR302's Avatar
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    Re: Help with carpentry questions

    Quote Originally Posted by number9 View Post
    I think I'd be better off cutting a perfect 45° miter first from a large piece, and then cutting the board to the correct width after that?
    That’s usually the best way to do it, but in this case you have to check and see how it affects the pattern at the other side

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