Board and Batten Bedroom

Over the past few weekends, Anita and I have been busy updating our spare bedroom. We use the room as our home office but even that is a stretch since the only thing in there is our printer and WIFI cable box. We don’t even have a desk in the room so it’s been more of a holding area for the antiques she sells online and a table for packaging things up to ship.

She got tired of the drabby feel of the room and wanted to give it some style so she asked me if I could cut up some wood for board and batten trim work. I went out and bought two sheets of 1/4″ mdf and ripped 4″ wide slats for the top of the trim. We nailed the top boards about 5 feet from the floor.

Next I ripped 3″ wide slats and nailed two of them next to eachother in all four corners of the room. I knew the fit in the middle wasn’t going to be perfect due to the bow of the wall so, the gap in the middle was going to have to be filled with caulk.

Playing around with painters tape, we calculated the spacing in between the slats. We took the measurement between the two slats in the corner, minus the 3″ per slat and divided by the number of slats we wanted on the wall. It took a little bit of time to figure out how many slats per wall looked the best, but in the end, the slats on each wall were around 18″-22″ apart. Obviously, each wall had it’s own measurement so no two walls were the same. On a couple of walls, we had to fudge number a little bit so that the slat would miss an electrical outlet but, your eye will never see the difference.

After the slats were nailed up, I ripped some pine 1/2″ thick x 3/4″ wide and nailed a ledge on top of the top board. This finished off the trim with a nice clean look. We played around with molding at Home Depot trying to determine which molding would look the best, but in the end, simpler was better.

Once all the nail holes were filled, everything was lightly sanded. Then Anita caulked and painted the bottom of the walls an off white color.

She decided on a color called Carbon Copy for the top and applied a couple coats to the top side of the wall. The room has a lot more style now and it only took about $200 in material and paint to do. Now we finally have an office that looks like an office, except we still don’t have a desk or any other office furniture.

Wood Movement

Over the past few months, I’ve been making these Ohio signs and selling them in my wife’s booth. They’re a simple thing to make. Just cut the wood in the shape of Ohio, then glue and staple the pieces to a plywood back. Originally I used old pallet wood to make the signs, but the past few batches I made them with old fence boards.

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Last week, when I was helping my wife move things around in her booth, she told me that some of the signs had warped. Worried, I grabbed a few of the signs to look at them. Because we had such a hard cold spell, the antique store was kicking up heat to stay warm. Apparently, the dry heat sucked all the moisture from the signs making them bend up. Even the top of an old bench my wife was selling warped.

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When examining the sign, I realized I made two rookie mistakes. The first mistake I made was that I painted the wrong side of the fence board. I should have fastened the wood crown-down so that the board wouldn’t warp upward. The second mistake I made was that when I fastened the boards on the plywood, I spread glue all over the plywood back making the wood unable to expand and contract. Embarrassing to admit I know. When I first made these signs, I made them from old pallet wood that was a lot narrower than the wide fence board I used here. I thought my wood was dry enough to make them in the same process, but I was sorely mistaken.

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Wanting to fix the sign, I ripped apart the plywood back and removed all the staples from the wood.

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After cleaning the back of the pieces, I saw how the widest board on the sign was warping in conjunction with the others.

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I decided to shave off the high spot in the middle with my scrub plane so the warping wouldn’t be as noticeable when I remade the sign.

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Then, instead of spreading glue all over the plywood back, I laid a bead of glue down the center of each piece of wood so the wood could move. I then attached the plywood back to the pieces with 1/4″ crown 5/8″ long staples.

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With everything back together, I was happy how the sign laid flat again. I really don’t mind if the boards warp a little bit. After all, the sign is supposed to look old and rustic. I just don’t want the whole thing to curl.

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