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Glenn368
Craftsman Trim & Wainscoting - Where to begin?
Glenn368

Hello!

I'm looking for some advice. My wife and I love the look of craftsman trim and wainscot. We're in the planning stages of a project to begin our first room conversion to elevate the look and value of our home. From there there may be no stopping us. I've been looking for resources ****** but can't find anywhere that really gets into the nitty gritty of project planning, materials choices, and how-to instruction. Does anyone have any experience/advice/resources that they might be able to share to help us get started on this journey?

Thanks

A. Spruce
Re: Craftsman Trim & Wainscoting - Where to begin?
A. Spruce

There is no one site that is the be-all-end-all of information, you are only going to find snippets here and there. What you have to do is research each thing you want to do individually, gather the data you need, then do your project. For wainscot, I'd start by researching the style, which can be as easy as searching Google Images to find exactly what you're looking for. From there you can find how-to ideas. As for materials, you can use just about anything you want to accomplish the look you are going for. If you are painting the wainscot, then just about anything will do, if you are staining it, then you will need to be more selective in the materials you choose.

What I can tell you with certainty, wainscot height is run 32' to 36" from the floor, including the chair rail. The height you choose will be determined by wall height and furnishings.

What I would recommend is to lay out the framing in the wall and end all joints over a framing member. You also want your wainscot to have symmetry, so use care in how you lay out the grid pattern so that each grid, or portion there of, is uniform. I would use a combination of paneling adhesive and nails to attach it, keeping the bulk of the nails as hidden as possible if installing a stain grade material, that is to say, place nails behind rails and stiles and under trim as much as possible.

Material resources, use a lumber company that caters to woodworkers and cabinet shops, you will get your best quality and selection of materials here. Specialty trim shops will have a wider selection of trims than your local big box. With a router and a few bits you can make your own trim quite easily, should you not find exactly what you're looking for. Obviously, the greater your knowledge and tool supply, the easier your project will be, however, most things are not rocket science and can be done with basic tools, so a vast cache of either is not mandatory.

Good luck and keep us apprised of your progress. :cool:

dj1
Re: Craftsman Trim & Wainscoting - Where to begin?
dj1

"I've been looking for resources ****** but can't find anywhere that really gets into the nitty gritty of project planning, materials choices, and how-to instruction."

I don't know where you've been looking and not finding...but some info is out there. However, if you are looking for how-to Details (with Capital D), you might come up empty handed, cause many of the finishing projects are not for beginners. Without experience, be prepare to lose material, time and patience. Technically, this is how you gain experience.

If you are a fast learner, here is a handy suggestion: Think about hiring a finish carpenter to do ONE room, watch him do it while helping him, then do the rest of the house yourself. The money you pay him for his labor will be your "tuition".

All of us were not born with the knowledge we have - we went to "school of hard knocks", some went to vocational schools, we've made our mistakes, have thrown away good materials and accumulated knowledge along the way. That's the way it is.

Glenn368
Re: Craftsman Trim & Wainscoting - Where to begin?
Glenn368

Thank you everyone. We've settled on an style that we both fell in love with from an image. We do have some experienced help in the family that will be assisting in the formative stages (as suggested). I will say that I am particularly concerned about choosing my materials. A lot of folks out there are trimming with MDF and my gut tells me that this isn't a smart investment. I'm wondering what wood your might recommend?

Also, wondering about the wainscoting technique. We've settled on a flat panel design because we like the simplicity. Techniques vary. Would you recommend a 1/4" panel be placed behind the panels or will painting the drywall achieve a similar result. Again, here I think I know the solution, but wondered what the experienced folks here would advise.

Thanks!

Jack
Re: Craftsman Trim & Wainscoting - Where to begin?
Jack

Almost all craftsman trim I have seen have been oak. I personally would not have MDF in my house or shop. JMHO For flat panel wainscoting you can use Oak veneered plywood. Here are a couple of resources.

http://www.houzz.com/craftsman-trim

http://www.familyhandyman.com/carpentry/trim-carpentry/how-to-install-craftsman-trim/view-all
Jack

A. Spruce
Re: Craftsman Trim & Wainscoting - Where to begin?
A. Spruce
Glenn368 wrote:

Thank you everyone. We've settled on an style that we both fell in love with from an image. We do have some experienced help in the family that will be assisting in the formative stages (as suggested). I will say that I am particularly concerned about choosing my materials. A lot of folks out there are trimming with MDF and my gut tells me that this isn't a smart investment. I'm wondering what wood your might recommend?

Also, wondering about the wainscoting technique. We've settled on a flat panel design because we like the simplicity. Techniques vary. Would you recommend a 1/4" panel be placed behind the panels or will painting the drywall achieve a similar result. Again, here I think I know the solution, but wondered what the experienced folks here would advise.

Thanks!

With all things, the sky is the limit as to what you can do and how you go about doing it. You can paint or wallpaper the panel sections of the wainscot, if that is the look you are going after. If you want a more formal look, then you will need to install a panel, then trim to achieve the desired effect. You have not said whether you plan to paint or stain the material, so your choices are many. If you go with paint, I'd use birch or alder, as these take paint very well and remain quite stable. I agree with Jack when it comes to MDF, it is a poor choice for most things for a variety of reasons. If you are going with a stain grade, then choose a wood grain/species that you like. Soft woods will be easier to work with than hard wood, but not excessively so.

If you can be more specific, including showing us a picture of what you have in mind, we can be more precise in the advice we offer.

dj1
Re: Craftsman Trim & Wainscoting - Where to begin?
dj1

Oak is a wonderful wood for this. More expensive but worth it. MDF will not look as nice nor last as long.

Sombreuil_mongrel
Re: Craftsman Trim & Wainscoting - Where to begin?
Sombreuil_mongrel

Hi,
Don't limit yourself to common chair rail height wainscot; when you are in the craftsman mode, all bets are off, they were particularly fond of wood, so wainscotting could run 5 ft tall or more; sometimes they stopped it a foot short of the ceiling and had a decorative stenciled or wallpaper frieze.
The hard part will be finding an oak veneer plywood for the foundation that does not look like 2000's oak veneer plywood, or the effect will be off. Oak plywood with the standard grain repeating over and over announces exactly what it is at a glance.
The best look might be to try to get riftsawn veneers and use quartersawn lumber for the dividers and moldings. Use white oak if you can afford it, that's what they used exclusively a hundred years ago.
http://www.roberts-plywood.com/oak.html
Casey

Glenn368
Re: Craftsman Trim & Wainscoting - Where to begin?
Glenn368

Thank you everyone for your help! This is all great information. We do plan on painting the trim/wainscoting. I think that we will go with oak. I too despise MDF, but my wallet sometimes screams at me. I think that an oak plywood was what I was considering for the panels. I had not thought about the repeating pattern possibility on the veneer. I will try to buy the right stuff and avoid any complications.

I am very much thankful for the help everyone!

Cheers :D

A. Spruce
Re: Craftsman Trim & Wainscoting - Where to begin?
A. Spruce
Glenn368 wrote:

We do plan on painting the trim/wainscoting.

If you are painting, then there is no point using expensive oak, stick with birch or similar "closed grain" material. Oak has an "open" grain, meaning the grain has large voids that do not take paint very well without a lot of prep and effort. Stick with a soft wood, as it will be easier to work with, sand, and prep for paint.

Glenn368
Re: Craftsman Trim & Wainscoting - Where to begin?
Glenn368
A. Spruce wrote:

If you are painting, then there is no point using expensive oak, stick with birch or similar "closed grain" material. Oak has an "open" grain, meaning the grain has large voids that do not take paint very well without a lot of prep and effort. Stick with a soft wood, as it will be easier to work with, sand, and prep for paint.

Great advice. Much appreciated. My bank manager approves. ;)

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