Thursday, January 20, 2011

More progress

Got some of the trim up in the front room today. It looks way better.

First I wanted to change out the blade on my miter saw. I love my saw - picked it up for $50 off of Craigslist. It's not a compound one, just a standard Ridgid miter saw. I forgot a crucial saw changing rule, which is that saw screws are counter-threaded - left is NOT loose. No matter how much WD-40 you put on, and how much torque you put on the wrench, left just won't loosen the nut. A frustrated Google solved that problem, and righty loosey got that nut right off. The new blade cuts that oak trim like butter. <3 a new blade.

Yesterday I'd worked out in my head the order I needed to do stuff in. It was a little backwards from normal new construction trim, but it was logical. First, door trim around the entrance to the kitchen. Put up the sides by measuring the short (inside) point, level them, then you can measure long-to-long for the top piece - it's much easier to measure and cut long-to-long than short to short.

Next, I put up the chair rail on the long wall. It's about 17', but there was just no way I could get a 17' piece of trim home, so I bought two shorter pieces. I cut the 11' piece of chair rail straight on one side (where it roughly butts up to the stone wall), and angled on the other side. Then, since I had the door trim up, I could just cut an angle on the second piece and hold it up to mark the flat cut against the door trim. It's always preferable to hold something up and get the mark that way, if you can - measuring properly then marking properly is hard for everybody.

Then I cut the two short pieces of chair rail for the walls beside the hall entrance. I cut them to length at a 90 degree angle, then set the blade at at 22 angle and nipped off just a tiny bit - it looks better than a flat cut or a 45 terminating at that outside corner. I've got some pictures of it, and I'll edit them in so you can see what I mean.

The two short pieces of chair rail needed to line up with where the old trim had been - that way the line of the chair rail all around the room will be at the same height. Once I had those pieces in place, I just laid in the 1" flat trim that goes vertically along the outside corners. Once I had THAT in, I could measure the remaining holes and cut the new wainscoting.

It's one of those (frequent) times when I wish I had a table saw. It's really hard to cut a perfectly straight line on a 4' wide piece of material with a circular saw! I flipped each piece around so that the factory edges are at the top and out sides, and the jaggedy Funder-cuts are at the bottom and in the corners. The baseboard will hide the bottoms, and a little caulk fixed the corners right up.

I chipped off one corner of one piece, but I got it glued back down. When the glue sets, I'll carefully caulk it and I think it'll look ok - it's near a corner. I also glued the join on the 17' wall, with my snazzy Gorilla Glue. There's a small seam visible, but again, I think caulk will fix it.

I got a lot of the trim caulked and most of the nails filled. The new wainscoting is glued to the walls, then held on with paneling nails I scavenged off of the old wainscoting. Paneling nails have little rings down their length, to hold better. They're just another minor expense that I thought I could avoid, and I'm glad I did. I only needed about 20 nails.

The nails on the rest of the wainscoting aren't set, they're just flush with the wall, so I left the new pieces that way too. I might set them anyway... I won't decide til I get one coat of paint on. I don't think you're supposed to set paneling nails?

Tomorrow mid-day I'm going riding with a friend, but I need to paint some more when I get back. I'll do a little more detail on trim work then too. I've got a post on painting tips mostly ready to go. It's surprisingly hard for me to write generic tips posts! They don't flow right, not like describing stuff I've done. And I constantly wrestle with not wanting to put up a huge post where you'll get bored halfway through, so I know I'm skipping over stuff here. As always, holler if you want more detail on something.


  1. I learned a trick for long perfectly straight cuts a while back... it's such a shame it took so long for me to learn it that I'll mention it here. You may already know it, so if you do just chalk this up to good intentions and ignore...

    You can clamp a 2x4 or other straight edge to your work, measuring how far from the blade you have to set it from the line. Voila - perfectly straight cuts, whether using jigsaw or circular saw. As straight or straighter than on a table saw, and it works for wide pieces that you can't use a table saw easily on.

    I wish I had known that when cutting paneling for our old basement...


  2. That's a great tip, Ron! Thank you - I'll remember that next time I need to cut a sheet of something.

  3. We can trade. I have a table saw, need to get a circular. :) And bless you Ron, great tip!