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Old 08-03-2013, 07:34 PM   #16
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Installing beadboard panelling as wainscotting


For some reason, I was thinking 35-38 inches was the accepted installed height of chair rail. After all the straight back chairs were supposed to hit it and not damage the walls. Right?

I have installed it the past, but that was years ago and I have slept many times since then. :-)

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Old 08-03-2013, 09:10 PM   #17
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Installing beadboard panelling as wainscotting


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For some reason, I was thinking 35-38 inches was the accepted installed height of chair rail. After all the straight back chairs were supposed to hit it and not damage the walls. Right?

I have installed it the past, but that was years ago and I have slept many times since then. :-)
That height sounds right to me. All I and others are hinting is that it will look stupid if you only use a level and especially in an antique home. The level and a plumb bob will give you perfectly straight lines to gravity. Horizontal and vertical. The home you are working on is no longer level and plumb, I promise.

Last total renovation I did? Walls, ceilings were perfectly square after more than 100 years. The thing leaned (polite way of saying it sank) 30 degrees to one corner over its lifetime. Had I placed beadboard or chair rail with level and plumb bob it would have looked beyond strange.

New chair rail at 35-38 inches set in their antique home along a perfect level line defined by gravity would have made my clients very upset.

Why are people so anxious to ignore measuring tapes these days?
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Old 08-05-2013, 07:45 AM   #18
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Installing beadboard panelling as wainscotting


I still use a level in an older home but adjust for out of level walls/floors accordingly as determined by level. it is what I call splitting the difference and not following the out of levelness exactly but making the end result somewhat level... find the low spot in the room up from the floor and make that your starting point for the wainscoat and cut the difference out from the bottom of your pieces in the rest of the room. if a wall is 1/2" out of plumb in corner figure 1/4" out for your piece or something similar to that...
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Old 08-05-2013, 08:30 AM   #19
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Installing beadboard panelling as wainscotting


Thanks Eplumber for the point about ripping it/matching it. It would be next to impossible (with my tools and skill level) to create a "seamless" appearance if I taper the vertical edge. I hadn't thought of that. And there is nothing I dislike worse than ugly carpentry. (Btw. is this considered "carpentry" or is "carpentry" exclusive to, like, making kitchen cabinets? Just a question.)

And while I'm on the subject of ripping, why does my circular saw buck when I am cutting? It scares the bejeezus out of me! I am cutting 1/4" plywood, didn't hit a knot. I'm definitely NOT using that saw to make any intricate cuts. Yeesh!

As for the height of the chair rail... rightly, I should not have titled my post to suggest I was using the beadboard as WAINSCOTTING. I should have said "wall covering". I'm not intending it to be a traditional wainscotting height.... there are no chairs in my bathroom (it is 6' x 6'), it is simply decorative. =)

Regarding the issue of level v.s. measure.... I haven't installed it yet, so I can't say for sure (although I did put up level wainscotting/chair rail/baseboard in a VERY unlevel bathroom before ~ off by 4 inches). But I live on a very hilly peice of property, and when I stand on a lean (one can't help but stand on a lean on my property) I still see a level horizon. I expect to see a level horizon.

I'm not grasping why I would want to measure instead of level. I mean, I understand the concept of what folks are saying, but my brain is resisting it. Again, I haven't installed it yet, so I can't be sure. But it seems to me that I want to see a level chair rail/wainscotting/baseboard when I walk into my bathroom no matter how out of plumb it is. What am I missing?

Thanks, Karen
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Old 08-05-2013, 12:09 PM   #20
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Installing beadboard panelling as wainscotting


@Karen...do you have your saw set so the cutting depth is slightly more than the thickness of the material you are cutting? That should help.

You could also use a sheet of foam insulation under the panel to support it and just cut into it as you make your cut.

Hope this helps.
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Old 08-05-2013, 01:17 PM   #21
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Installing beadboard panelling as wainscotting


Thanks Mike, I'll try that. Why would the blade being much deeper than the board make it buck ~ any ideas? Just curious.
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Old 08-05-2013, 01:24 PM   #22
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Thanks Mike, I'll try that. Why would the blade being much deeper than the board make it buck ~ any ideas? Just curious.
My thinking is the thin material will flex as it is being cut and with extra blade sticking out underneath, it will grab the material.
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Old 08-05-2013, 02:14 PM   #23
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Ah, makes sense. Thanks for the insight!
Karen
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Old 08-06-2013, 08:10 AM   #24
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Installing beadboard panelling as wainscotting


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Ah, makes sense. Thanks for the insight!
Karen

as mentioned, the blade a 1/4" to 1/2" deeper than cut material and make sure the middle does not settle after the cut is made binding the blade. you create an 1/8" kerf with the saw and if it is middle heavy the material can fall back into the 1/8" kerf and bind the blade. I use a block or 2x under the material following the direction of cut but not directly under the blade usually placed under the side that I am going to be using and let the drop (left over) fall off as it will.

a good set up for cutting ply is two saw horses, two 8' studs run from saw horse to saw horse and another 4' stud to put under the cut to keep the middle of piece up in the air while cutting. or even a piece of ply on top of 8' studs for a cut table and the 4' stud to put under the cut each time with a 4' level and framers square to help lay out the cut lines and/or a chalk line...

Last edited by hand drive; 08-06-2013 at 08:15 AM.
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Old 08-06-2013, 10:53 AM   #25
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That's very helpful thank you! So, when you are cutting something that wide (obviously you can't walk through the plywood to stay close to the saw), do you cut towards the middle then go to the other side and cut towards the middle again. Leaning and stretching seems unsafe (I'm only 5'4") but I'm just wanting to learn the proper way to do things.

Cheers, Karen
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Old 08-06-2013, 04:10 PM   #26
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Installing beadboard panelling as wainscotting


If I were you, I would get a piece of stock (3/4 thick board or plywood) that is straight and a pair of C clamps. When you have your panel measured, clamp the board to the panel as a straight edge guide and let the shoe of the circular saw follow it. You'll get a much nicer, straighter cut than trying to free hand cut along a line. I never saw in from both sides. I push the saw through the cut as far as possible, let it coast to a stop, then walk around and pull the saw the rest of the way. If your panel is properly supported and you use a guide, it should not bind. Set the blade depth so that it just cuts through the stock. A couple of reasons. Your saw blade strikes the material at a much steeper angle. You get the maximum number of teeth doing the cutting, so the gullets between the teeth keep the cut cleaner, and you have the minimum amount of blade behind the cutting teeth dragging on the sides of the cut. A circular saw will buck far sooner if it is set too deep. As soon as the saw wanders slightly off of a straight line the rear of the blade will contact the sides of the stock and try to lift out of the cut.

Finally, be careful. I'm convinced that a hand held circular saw is the most dangerous tool that I use. All the power of a stationary saw, but all under hand control and I can't even see the bottom of the blade.
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Old 08-06-2013, 04:32 PM   #27
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Finally, be careful. I'm convinced that a hand held circular saw is the most dangerous tool that I use. All the power of a stationary saw, but all under hand control and I can't even see the bottom of the blade.
I grew up when radial arm saws were the rage. You could crosscut, rip and do even cut mitres with the things, as you can with some chop saws. The one where I designed and built landscape stuff was huge. Carbide tipped blade about 36 or 48" in diameter, three phase so it seldom faltered with power and would not kick back often.

People forget where there fingers are in relation to any power saw blade.

Most dangerous I ever used? Chainsaw. Heats up if you don't lube the blade and when you are making it by the pieces you cut and not the hours you work? You race it.

I agree with you though. I don't understand why anyone would trust a battery powered circular saw. The corded ones are bad enough but at least stay torqued and work if the blades are sharp. Many a great carpenter has lost a finger on a table saw too though.

The other problem with DIYers is most think they can never dull a blade. There is nothing more dangerous than a dull blade. People buy a knew one if the same that came with the saw is still on it or ship it out to the sharpener to be trimmed and retipped if carbide. And use blades that match the works.

The saw blades that come shipped with saws are usually the last ones you should be using for your tasks.
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Old 08-07-2013, 12:21 AM   #28
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You guys rock!
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Old 08-08-2013, 03:35 PM   #29
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If that chair rail is not set level and the beads in the panels are not plumb, it's going to stick out like a sore thumb.
Far more then an inside corner cut at a slight taper.
I can just walk into a room where the DIY measured from the floor up or from the ceiling down and see that's it's off.
Do not expect you to, but I often use my self leveling lazar level when setting chair rail and wainscot.
Installing it horizontal makes it look like the old Car siding.
Nothing wrong with it as long as the rooms shorter then 8' or you use 2-1/4 X 3/8 T & G strips not panels that are only 8' long.
I see where you're coming from, but being inside a room where you can't see the horizon, your eyes start to find other references for what constitutes level. Your inner ear won't tell you if a chair rail isn't level with gravity. Consider the image below...which one looks better? Of course, every job is different, and there are times when level-with-gravity is best. You're right that there are some instances when a noobie measures by the ceiling and everything looks out of whack.

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Old 08-08-2013, 04:01 PM   #30
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I see where you're coming from, but being inside a room where you can't see the horizon, your eyes start to find other references for what constitutes level. Your inner ear won't tell you if a chair rail isn't level with gravity. Consider the image below...which one looks better? Of course, every job is different, and there are times when level-with-gravity is best. You're right that there are some instances when a noobie measures by the ceiling and everything looks out of whack.

Great simple illustration!

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