Observations from Paneling

Like many things in life, there’s always opportunities for learning.

When I first started installing my own v-joint boards, I really didn’t have any experience.  I pretty much looked at how they fit together, and puzzled it out for myself.  Since then, I have learned a couple of valuable lessons, and today was no exception (I believe).

On of the biggest things I have come to realize and understand is that butt joints on the ends don’t have to look as crappy as my first ones did – simply beveling the ends before butting them together makes a world of difference to their appearance!  I never thought of that, or noticed it, previous to my having already done the sauna, and the upstairs bedroom ceilings.  Then I saw another carpenter starting on his own v-joint project, and mentioning that he had only JUST been taught to bevel the ends to make them look slick – by a more experienced carpenter than himself.  Gosh that really clicked for me.

So, I did that upstairs and it turned out looking really much improved.

Downstairs I began to think I had things down pat.  I still am a bit wondering about how things will work with me nailing through the 1/8″ board, but I remind myself that I’m using 2″ brad nails, so they really should be getting good purchase in my logs.

It wasn’t until today when I went to continue on the wall after a few days break that I noticed something that took me back to my first paneling upstairs and an unresolved question I had.

I noticed after doing the upstairs, that between my boards some rather large gaps had grown.  They weren’t completely open, but I could see the tongue portion of the boards between the bevels along their long edges.  It disappointed me a bit, but I chalked it up to my own inability to tighten up the joints, even though in the back of my head, I felt I had done a good job on that when I first installed things.

Eagle eyes can see the 1/16″ gaps between the beveled edges.

Anyway, looking at my wall from only a few days ago, I could see the tongue again in places where I was quite certain I had installed it tight.  That’s when it dawned on me.  The boards upstairs, as well as the ones I am currently putting on in the kitchen, were both stored outside the cabin and brought in as they were being installed – I’m assuming that they are more humid outside (at least at the moment), and so they are drying a bit once brought in.  The ones upstairs are perhaps more pronounced, as they were installed in December.  Hopefully the ones I’m installing right now won’t have much more drying to do.  In any case, I decided to take a break at that point, and bring in the whole lift so it has a chance to dry out and better match the expected indoor humidity.

Didn’t even look up from his lessons while this was happening – such focus!

He’s excited to have a good excuse to watch tv while eating now – perfect orientation!

It’s a good lesson.  I’ll likely have to remember this for future – and ensure that raw wood is brought into the cabin right away with a chance to match the temperature and humidity of the cabin for a week or two before installation.

Instead, I hit up the shovel again and piled more sand along the water line – which has its own interesting issue, but that, as they say, is another story…

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