Raised Panel Wainescoating – what they d
I’ve done a lot of reading on woodworking techniques, but when it comes to raised panel construction (wainscoting in my case) there’s a few questions I’ve never seen asked nor answered. I’m using MDF boards for the panels, rails, and stiles, construction is in New Jersey.
Should I prime and paint the panels prior to putting them in the rails or can I get away with painted once together. I’m concerned if I have paint build up on the edge of the panel, later I’ll have a hard time sliding it in. On the other hand I’m afraid if I paint it together I’ll get cracks where the panel and rail meet.
I was planning on back priming everything, its in a 2nd floor hallway, is this a waste of time
How much room for expansion should I leave when setting the panels into the rails and stiles. I understand the whole concept is to let the panel float inside the frame, but for a 12″ wide by 24″ high panel how much gap should I leave?
And finally, I saw in a recent FHB issue an article on working with MDF. For painting routed edges one suggestion was to use a wood paste filler with a stiff brush and the other was to spray lacquer. Are there any other success stories?
Many thanks to all who have taken time to read this.
From the finishing perspective, I'd certainly go with prefinishing the panels. The expansion contraction with MDF is slight enough to almost be a non-issue, but all it would take is a few hairlines for the whole job to look less than professional.
How much space to leave? If your groove is 1/4", I'd go down a sixteenth where the panel and rails/stiles meet. That gives you a little fudge factor. Assuming your walls are flat, that ought to be sufficient.
On the edges, I've tried a variety of methods of solidifying the core of MDF. My personal preference, after some experimentation, is to brush on drywall conditioner and let it dry. Your core has the same kind of fuzzy paper texture as damaged drywall. Then I mix up some Crawfords spackle in a cup with enough water to make it soupy and rub it on with a rag. When the slurry dries, it's filled any divots left, and Crawfords sands like a dream, and paints that way too. If you haven't used the DW conditioner beofre, check paint stores. Variety of names for it, but I use SW, it's a waterborne product, so looks milky going on, foams a little, then gets sucked in and tightens everything up. It dries fairly quick.
"The child is grown / The dream is gone / And I have become / Comfortably numb " lyrics by Roger Waters
Excellent advice. I can only agree with it, nothing to add. Paint it for sure before putting it up for the reasons given.
Thanks RW, that's exactly the insight I was looking for.
After experimenting with different sand paper types, I've had the best results using a small drywall sanding sponge, dry of course, with med/fine grit. What do you prefer?
Tim, here's one more thing that you may want to know about. Whether using them in your application is advisable I don't know. If you look hard enough through the wood working supply catalogues you'll find what we call speed balls. BB type neoprene balls that you slip in the rail and stile grooves to keep the panel centered in the oversized opening. This helps keep them straight and doesn't allow the panel to drop down in the frame or get cockeyed. With real wood panels it helps alot, but there's much more potential movement there. best of luck.__________________________________________
Remodeling Contractor just outside the Glass City.
You shouldn't have to sand much, and the risk after what I described is sanding through the spackle and back into the core, at which point you're fuzzy again. I'd use a thin (bendable) cork block for a raised panel contour, and 220 grit at the most. Again, the Crawfords I'm fond of since it sands so easily. The 220 on it will seem agressive. "The child is grown / The dream is gone / And I have become / Comfortably numb " lyrics by Roger Waters
Would you believe I can't find an online store or a location in or near to New Jersey that sells Crawfords spackle paste?
Crawford themselves had no information for my area, they pointed me towards their local distributor, who pointed me to a the only store they sell to in my area - and they never heard of Crawford.
I've called one Sherwin Williams in my area, they never heard of it either.
I can't believe I can't find it available in an online store.
Crazy. Well, Sherwin here acts like the stuff is manna, but no fear. It can't be the only good spackle out there. Just like there's multiple varieties of good paint, same has to be true there. Ask Sherwin what all their accounts swear by. They gotta have something in stock. So maybe it acts a little different. If it gets you to the same place, does it matter if it's a Mazerati or a Ferrari? Probably no. Good luck. Lunch is about done. Gotta jet. "The child is grown / The dream is gone / And I have become / Comfortably numb " lyrics by Roger Waters
Tim, not trying to butt in here. RW: Which Sherwin W's do you get the Crawfords at? I checked here in GI and they don't carry it. Checked with Diamond Vogel too, nada. I'll have my in-laws pick some up for me and deliver it when they visit. Don't need an exact address just a street. Thanks.
All 3 have it. 56th & 2 at the Alamo Center, the north store behind Target on 46th, and the commercial store, just off of West O on NW20th. That one might be easiest for them on weekdays since it's right next to where 77 hits I-80. The other 2 are open weekends. "The child is grown / The dream is gone / And I have become / Comfortably numb " lyrics by Roger Waters
Thanks for the information. Much appreciated.
Tim for a hallway you don't need to backprime.
With it being all-MDF (stiles/rails/panels) and with MDF having no cellular structure that causes a wood panels to expand more across the grain than with the grain, you really don't need much leeway for panel movement inside the grooves of the stiles and rails.
As to finishing the milled edges of the raised panels, I prefer the Bartley's paste pore filler, applied with an acid or flux brush. It's quick and easy to apply. It's not water-based, so it doesn't raise the "grain" of the MDF. It sands very quickly. It's a one-step process that will leave you with a glass-smooth surface to prime and paint.