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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-08-2010, 02:48 PM Thread Starter
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Question Mixing solid wood and MDF

My son moved into my mothers house. Before we moved her to a rest home she had a power wheelchair and did some serious numbers on some of the doors and walls. My daughter in law wants a wainscot along about 20 feet (including some corners and adjacent walls) of hallway. As budget is pretty much a primary consideration, I was thinking pine for the rails and cap with MDF stiles and panels. Optimum budget wise would be all MDF except the bottom rail (concerns about moisture there).
Any comments or suggestions about this plan of attach. I'm a bit concerned about the different materials and the wood movement.

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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-08-2010, 03:44 PM
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HI John

I would do it all in MDF and use liquid nails to fit it to the walls with some small pins nails ( 1 1/2" to 2 " long type), paint or seal the bottom rail b/4 you put it in place, on the back side..or maybe use Poplar for the bottom rail...but don't use PINE...nasty stuff...to paint or clear coat.not to say anything about the knots that will free up over time..

Note ,,,,recoat the wall with some 1/4" thick drywall..b/4 you start the job.

========

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Originally Posted by jschaben View Post
My son moved into my mothers house. Before we moved her to a rest home she had a power wheelchair and did some serious numbers on some of the doors and walls. My daughter in law wants a wainscot along about 20 feet (including some corners and adjacent walls) of hallway. As budget is pretty much a primary consideration, I was thinking pine for the rails and cap with MDF stiles and panels. Optimum budget wise would be all MDF except the bottom rail (concerns about moisture there).
Any comments or suggestions about this plan of attach. I'm a bit concerned about the different materials and the wood movement.



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Last edited by bobj3; 12-08-2010 at 03:47 PM.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-08-2010, 05:19 PM Thread Starter
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HI John

I would do it all in MDF and use liquid nails to fit it to the walls with some small pins nails ( 1 1/2" to 2 " long type), paint or seal the bottom rail b/4 you put it in place, on the back side..or maybe use Poplar for the bottom rail...but don't use PINE...nasty stuff...to paint or clear coat.not to say anything about the knots that will free up over time..

Note ,,,,recoat the wall with some 1/4" thick drywall..b/4 you start the job.

========
Hi Bob - Thanks for the comeback. Poplar sounds like a good idea for the bottom rail. It's gonna be all paint and I had planned on painting or at least priming (ALL edges) prior to assembly anyway. Wasn't sure about the MDF to wood joints (rail to stile) though.
Liquid nails instead of wood glue for the joints too? I was planning on construction adhesive to stick the thing to wall.

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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-09-2010, 12:18 AM
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HI John

"wood glue for the joints too? " = nope ,just wood glue, you can wipe up/out the white/yellow glue but not the Liquid nails >..

=======

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Originally Posted by jschaben View Post
Hi Bob - Thanks for the comeback. Poplar sounds like a good idea for the bottom rail. It's gonna be all paint and I had planned on painting or at least priming (ALL edges) prior to assembly anyway. Wasn't sure about the MDF to wood joints (rail to stile) though.
Liquid nails instead of wood glue for the joints too? I was planning on construction adhesive to stick the thing to wall.



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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-12-2010, 08:21 PM
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John,
I am about 3/4 finished my wainscot project. I made all of mine from MDF except the baseboards. They are also MDF (pre-primed) but I decided to buy instead of make them. I was a little concerned about the bottoms too, but opted to paint anywhere that mop water could cause problems and I lifted everything off the floor the thickness of a 1 1/2 inch finishing nail. The gap isn't noticeable.
I would be concerned about mixing materials because painted wood will often still show grain, whereas MDF has none. They also will sometimes show a different sheen and reflect light differently.
I don't worry much about what I nail MDF with because patched nail holes don't show on MDF.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-12-2010, 10:38 PM Thread Starter
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John,
I am about 3/4 finished my wainscot project. I made all of mine from MDF except the baseboards. They are also MDF (pre-primed) but I decided to buy instead of make them. I was a little concerned about the bottoms too, but opted to paint anywhere that mop water could cause problems and I lifted everything off the floor the thickness of a 1 1/2 inch finishing nail. The gap isn't noticeable.
I would be concerned about mixing materials because painted wood will often still show grain, whereas MDF has none. They also will sometimes show a different sheen and reflect light differently.
I don't worry much about what I nail MDF with because patched nail holes don't show on MDF.
Thanks for the tip Chuck. Post a couple of pics if you can. Hadn't thought about raising the bottom rail off the floor. That would help smooth out any leveling issues also. Thanks.

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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-18-2010, 12:12 AM
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Default Wainscot on the cheap

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Originally Posted by jschaben View Post
Thanks for the tip Chuck. Post a couple of pics if you can. Hadn't thought about raising the bottom rail off the floor. That would help smooth out any leveling issues also. Thanks.
Hi John,
Didn't mean to take so long getting back to you. Been shoveling snow the last couple of days. I too needed to fix up some walls and didn't want to spend much. The written description is as follows:
The panels are 1/4" mdf cut 32" high. The rails, stiles, and chair rails are cut from 3/4mdf. Rails and stiles are 3" wide. Missing from the pictures are the trim blocks separating the rails which will sit a little proud as I dropped the top edge of the rails about 3/16" below the top of the stiles.
I dressed the stiles and rails with coves stopped about 1" from the intersections of adjoining pieces. The chair rails are a bottom piece 1 1/8" wide with an ogee profile and an upper piece 1 5/8" wide with a bullnose. The 4" baseboard overlaps the 1/4" panels about 1/4" because the top edge of the baseboard is narrower than the mdf. I used scrap to shim the bottom. I rabbeted the rails and stiles to overlap the panels as well and this was the one screw-up. I didn't have a piece of the baseboard and made a wrong assumption about the thickness. The baseboards sit about 1/32" proud of the stiles. I would only make a 3/16" thick rabbet if I had it to do over again and leave a hollow behing the center of the stiles.
The wallpaper is a paintable paper and the same paint was used for the panels. The wallpaper was one of the cheapest I found but this was offset somewhat by the amount of paint it sucked up. I did 34' of wall and used 3 sheets of 1/4" with a little left over and just over 1 sheet of 3/4". I don't remember what the baseboard cost but it wasn't that expensive. I don't know of a cheaper way to fix a beat-up wall and still give it a little class. Any other questions just ask. By the way, the spots in the one picture must be on the lens.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-18-2010, 08:57 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks Chuck. Came out looking pretty good Gave me a couple of ideas on how to handle what I see as some problem areas coming at me too. I'll likely go with 1/2" for the panels and raise them as she doesn't want flat panels. Bead board may be an option but I've already got a panel raiser. Have two corners with very short legs, 6" to 9" or so. May go with very narrow, 1 1/2", stiles and a very narrow flat panel in those spots. Pictures also showed me how to get the cap rail around the corner.... duhh... kinda obvious thinking about it.
Thanks again

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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-18-2010, 10:11 PM
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Glad to help John.
The wall you are looking at is a trailer wall that moves with the frost. I am in Northern Alberta. It went to -52C March two years ago with the wind chill. I have one door that opens well in the winter and another that opens well in the summer. I didn't have much faith in trying to make a continuous chair rail, which is part of the reason that I broke up the lengths so much. It also made it easier and cheaper.
As I was writing the post, I noticed an ad at the bottom of the screen for wainscotting that showed the style I think you are describing. I associate it with New England/Shaker architecture from about 150 years or so ago. I was thinking today that it would be possible to recreate that with a veining, v-groove, or plunge type beading bit. I personally find it too "busy". I am more of a minimalist. Each to his own as the saying goes. There is no right or wrong here, all of the styles I have seen have been around for a very long time. The good part about sharing ideas is getting to pick and choose what turns you on. When you do yours send me pics. I might use some of yours somewhere else.
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