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bergerdude 07-06-2010 10:01 AM

Choice: nicer chair rail w/splice vs no splice
Just wondering what everyone would do with this choice:

I have a small office with french doors on one side, and windows on the other but the other two walls are 10' by 14.5'. So actual linear materials is quite small, however,

I have nice chair rail but limited quantities ( my parents have left over from 20 years ago from their house which my wife really likes.)

The problem is the lengths are only about 8-9', so both walls will need a splice. I can go with this option, for $0.00

I can either go basic chair rail from the big box stores, which my wife is not that thrilled about, but longer lengths.

I can search for a mill/specialty shop and get a different, probably as nice profile for more $$.

Being chair rail, and the room being empty right now, I worry about the splices being very visible (even if done correctly). The chair will be white (typical new home...white trim.)

The office is painted already, just another factor.


oberkc 07-06-2010 12:25 PM

I would expect to be able to join two pieces of trim without being overly obvious, especially painted trim. Fill the joint and sand it to match the profile and paint. I should be near invisible.

Even if I were leaving it natural, I would not find the joints offensive. I actually like seeing well-done joinery, including in chair rails, crown molding, and baseboard.

bergerdude 07-06-2010 12:32 PM

Good point about filling the joint.

I've never done chair molding before, so there is a bit of apprehension with that too.

Do you think I would be able to fill the joint and sand without messing up the contours...or the painted wall??

I'm thinking of painting first before I nail it to the wall, then filling the holes rather than painting on the wall.

I guess I worry some about getting a tight fit in the corners and then having the joint pull apart while I'm focusing elsewhere.

wombosi 07-06-2010 04:17 PM

hey there bergerdude.

go with the splice man! for nice, free molding, come on.

cut a 30 degree scarf joint for the splice, nail one end up along your chalk line or laser line, then mark the other piece to length in place, then coat both mating surfaces with glue, and nail on the other piece. wipe away glue squeeze out with a damp rag.
(only trick is to make sure your scarfs are both cut in the same direction.)

you shouldn't have to do any sanding, except for a light scuff if painting the stuff, and the splice won't be noticeable to anyone but you.

this is a very manageable task for you. have fun.

oberkc 07-06-2010 06:13 PM

and consider a cope joint in the corners (I am confident a google search will find a good description). Take your time. You will be happy with the results.

Yes, I think you can do this all without messing up the wall. I would prime the moulding, first. Mask the wall for final coats.

bergerdude 07-07-2010 01:30 AM

Do I pin nail the scarf joint as well?
Do I put the cut in a certain direction away from view? or does it matter.

I'm really talking about 30 feet tops of $40 worth.
Is it worth the (possible) aggravation?

Thanks again for all the input...!

BigJim 07-07-2010 02:27 AM

bergerdude, there are some nice instruction videos on youtube, just type in what you want to see.

I have always installed moulding where the over lap would be if you were looking at the moulding from the most traffic area. Example, from the door you would want the trim to over lap the piece furtherest from the door.


oberkc 07-07-2010 06:30 AM

I think it is worth the effort. I find great satisfaction in re-using old material.

Put the scarf joint over structure (stud) and nail through it. I expect that you won't find these joints to be offensive, at all.

It is the corners that will give you more grief. Of course, new material will not solve this problem. As I suggested earlier, check out a cope joint. I have also found it useful to round off the sharp edge of the corner where it contacts the wall. Most of my wall corners have a slight radius.

wombosi 07-07-2010 07:50 AM

berger, doesn't matter where you put the splice or in what direction you make the bevel cuts, as long as they both 'go the same way.' you'll probably find it easier to have the first piece angling back (rather than sticking out and leaving a hole behind it) to put the second piece on top of it.

as mentioned, inside and outside corners are far more challenging.

if you decide to cope, make sure you leave the coped pieces long to give yourself room to redo them and practice. you'll need a coping saw of course.
if not, a protractor or bevel gauge will make quick work of mitering inside corners.

if you're going to be painting, it almost doesn't matter how sloppy the cope is, as long as the elements of the molding line up between the two pieces, just caulk and go.

i would try to brad nail the splice rather than pin, just a bit more substantial.

DangerMouse 07-07-2010 08:57 AM

All good advise above. Is the rail going to be painted the same color as the wall? If so, even easier.....
Good for you for recycling!!!! My whole dining room ceiling only cost me $40.00!!!
300 sq. ft. of recycled (Russian) birch panels from auction, ($10.00) a box of screws, ($10.00) and a gallon of poly! ($20.00) I still have enough panels, I could do the whole job again! But I'm using them in my magic boxes!
To see what I mean:
You have to consider the $$$ you're saving, the planet you're helping, and the quality you're getting!
(Cardboard (MDF) molding sux, and foam junk, IMHO.)


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