Step 2: Scribe the first board

Image of hands using a compass and level to mark the gap between the baseboard and the first row of cedar in order to create a level first course.
Photo Kolin Smith
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Begin at the back wall. If the baseboard or floor at the bottom of the wall is sloped, you will need to scribe the first cedar board to that slope so that all the subsequent courses stay level. Hold cedar board, tongue side up, at the bottom of the wall. Position a level on top of the tongue and level the cedar.

Open a compass or scribe to match the largest gap between the cedar board and the baseboard or floor, then lock it in position. Run the point of the scribe along the baseboard, letting the pencil draw on the cedar board.

This will transfer the slope to the wood. Clamp the board securely to a work surface. Using a jigsaw, rip the board along the scribe line. Dry-fit the board to check the cut.
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    Tools List

    • studfinder
      Stud finder
    • two-foot level
      2- or 4- foot level
    • pencil compass
      Compass or square
    • torpedo level
      Torpedo level
    • jigsaw
      Jigsaw to trim cedar planks
    • pneumatic brad nailer
      Pneumatic brad nailer and compressor (rents for about $55 a day)
    • caulk gun
      Caulk gun
    • miterbox with saw
      Miter box and handsaw to cut molding
    • coping saw
      Coping saw to fit molding at the corners

    Shopping List

    1. TONGUE-AND-GROOVE CEDAR PLANKING

    Order online or through home centers. Choose lengths that will eliminate the need for joints, or use smaller boards for a patterned look



    2. CEDAR MOLDING

    to cover gaps at the top, bottom, and corners of the closet. Most manufacturers make cove molding to act as crown and to cover gaps at the floor. Optional corner bead will hide seams between walls



    3. 18-GAUGE BRAD-POINT PIN NAILS

    for use with a pneumatic brad nailer



    4.CONSTRUCTION ADHESIVE

    to give additional wall adhesion and keep boards from bowing