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Friday, November 05, 2010

Raised Panels

I've been busy this week making raised panel wainscotting out of medium density fiberboard plywood (MDF) for the family room at the former Sundance Pre-School on West Shore Drive.  Still don't know if this is a good idea.
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On the one hand....
MDF is a stable material, with no voids like other plywood, and it routs and cuts very cleanly and crisply.  It doesn't chip like #2 pine,  requires virtually no sanding and you have the option of unlimited panel size.
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On the other hand....
It is heavy as hell.  Even a Mountain of a Man like myself has a hard time lugging the 97 lb. 4'x8' sheets around the work area.   And the sawdust that it exudes is fine and irritating.  A dusk mask and vacuum is crucial, but the sawdust still gets out of control.
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I haven't gotten to the point where I can evaluate the ability of the stuff to accept coats of primer and paint.  That will come soon though because I have all of the stock cut to rails, stiles and panels and hope to have all of the wainscotting assembled by the end of the weekend.
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I'm convinced that the raised paneling is a good idea though.  It lends a lot of character to a room and is worth the effort.   I had initially wanted to go with bead board throughout, but my daughter Kate thought that it looked cheesy compared to the raised panels.  I agree, but the raised panels are super labor intensive.
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Even with the router tables, and raised panel bit set that I invested in years ago, it is a time sucking activity.
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Ultimately, since raised panel wainscotting is so expensive, or such a pain in the ass to do from scratch as I am doing. it generally adds value to the property.
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That is my ulterior motive, but if I'm going to live there, I might as well be surroundied by the fine woodworking detail that I have become accustomed to.

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