Step 4: Finish the field

Photo of man attaching glued board to the wall, interlocking with the groove of the board below it.
Photo Kolin Smith
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Once the first course is in place, measure the length of the wall before installing each row and, using a miter box and handsaw, cut the boards to fit. Many boards have a rabbet on either end so they can interlock with the next board in the row. If possible, use the off-cut of one board to start the next row, so the two boards interlock. Dry-fit each row before installation.

Apply a zigzag bead of adhesive to the back of the board. Tip the groove of the board over the tongue of the last row to fit them together. While the adhesive is still wet, check the board for level and make adjustments as necessary. Nail the board in place.

Continue installing boards in this manner until the back wall is covered. Then install the cedar on the sidewalls, allowing the back edge of the boards to cover the cut ends at the corners. Be sure that sidewall rows line up with the rows on the back wall, or the mismatched seams will appear crooked at the corners.
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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