Wood Panelling and How to Do It

Preparation of Wood Panels

Before fixing, panels must be conditioned to room temperatures. This is done by bringing them into the room where they are to be fixed and leaving them to stand, loosely stacked, against the wall for two days, to acclimatize them both to room temperature and humidity.

Planed 19mm x 50mm timber is best used for battening, as unplaned timber may vary in size. Space the vertical battens at 400mm centres. Horizontal battens provide additional fixing points. Add five to ten per cent of the run of battening for cutting wastage.

Close-fitting 400mm horizontal battens are used where conditions are absolutely dry. If there is any likelihood of moisture, batten widths should be reduced to 305mm to allow a free flow of air at the back of the panels.

The uprights must be truly vertical. Hollows and irregularities in the wall surface must be corrected to prevent panel surface distortion. Concave irregularities can be corrected by blocking out the recesses with small slivers of hardboard or plywood between the wall and the battening. Convex irregularities can be overcome by shaping the rear of the batten or flattening the wall.

Where gaps are not being left between horizontal battens, fix a top and bottom batten, 25mm to 50mm down from the ceiling and upwards from the floor or skirting, checking these with a spirit level. At each end of walls, fit vertical battens; those at door openings may need trimming to fit architraves.

Battens may be fixed with screws or masonry nails. Walls may have to be plugged to accommodate screws, which should be of a non-rusting type. Battens should be fixed at intervals of 380mm.

Work from one end, partly fixing each vertical batten at 400mm centres, and check that each is upright before fixing finally. Place intermediate horizontal battens at intervals of 320mm above each other.

With light fittings or power points, first fix a square of battening around them, so that the panel can be fixed once a hole is cut out for the switch or point.

Selecting panels

Before fixing, arrange the panels along the wall to get the most pleasing effects. Where the veneer is a natural wood surface, colour may vary from sheet to sheet. At this stage, the most economical way of using the panelling can be worked out and the most attractive graduation of graining and colour chosen.

Cutting edges and bevelling

Panels should be cut with a 8-10 point hand saw with the face side upwards. First, score the panel surface with a sharp marking knife. This will prevent splitting.

Use a metal straight edge and take care not to allow the knife to slip or you will mark and mar the panel face. Hold the saw at as flat an angle as possible as this will ensure a smooth cut.

A power saw can also be used; set this so that it projects not more than 50mm below the thickness of the panel. With a hand-held power saw, cut the panel face side downwards; with a bench saw, the panel is cut face side upwards.

When cutting with either a hand or power saw, it is a good precaution to cover the cutting line with masking tape, to ensure a split-free edge.

Where a panel has to be cut and butted against another, use a sharp plane with a fine set to impart a bevelled edge. Plane away from the panel edge to prevent splintering. Colour match this edge to the next v-groove with a dye or colourizer.

10. November 2011 by admin
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