Saturday, June 30, 2012

Wails And Laminations

After getting a good look at the three pieces of shiplap siding I removed from the dormer, I decided it would be best simply to replace them. Not only did one piece have the entire overlapping part missing from the bottom, but they were all water-damaged and quite badly hacked up. Moreover, they have clear evidence of the original body color on them, so I'd like to stabilize the paint to slow further degradation and keep the pieces in the growing archive of building elements I'm assembling that will stay with the house in order to provide documentation of its history going forward.

This decision was made easier by the fact that I have several hundred board-feet of new shiplap in stock from the construction project. There is but one little problem with it: while the facing profile is an exact match, it is 3/16" thinner than the original. We did this so it could be milled from stock lumber, thus saving us a great deal in material cost. 

This is no problem, because all I need to do to make them match with the existing shiplap is shim them out with 3/16" plywood. Well, actually it turned out to be a bit of a problem because all Home Despot had was 5 mm plywood, but since that is only about a quarter of a millimeter thicker than 3/16", I figured I could work with it. At this point in the project, I'm in damn the torpedoes mode.

I could simply have cut a triangular piece of this plywood to fill the entire area behind the shiplap, but I decided instead to cut out individual pieces and laminate them to each piece of shiplap. I did this for two reasons: first, the new shiplap tends to split when cut in short lengths, because it is thinner and made from less dense wood than the original. Laminating the plywood with epoxy onto the pieces will significantly strengthen them. Second, the plywood is not rated for exterior use, so I want to coat the back side with epoxy as well to protect it. This is easier to do with individual pieces that are already epoxied on the front.

This is not a complicated procedure, really, but since I've never done it before (with the exception of the tiny trim piece on the window casing), the setup required a lot of careful planning on my part so I didn't screw it up.

The first thing I did was to rip a strip of the needed width from the piece of plywood. I did this with my handy-dandy circular saw and a plywood blade.

It was then a fairly simple matter to cut pieces from the strip to fit the back of each piece of shiplap exactly. Here's one of the completed pairs.

I've found from experience that it's always a good idea to dry-fit glue setups before applying the glue to make sure that everything is going to go together nice and tight. This minimizes scrambling to make adjustments while wet glue is setting.

Thus prepared, I mixed up a batch of LiquidWood, and after letting it sit for 20 minutes to get the reaction going well, I brushed an even coat on the mating surface of each piece and clamped everything together.

As I said, I'd never done laminating on this scale before, so as you may have noticed I ended up having to use more clamps on the two smaller pieces to offset the hydraulic pressure of the epoxy pushing the pieces apart. I ended up using every usable clamp I have. Except this one:

And so the pieces sit as the epoxy cures.

* * *

"Did someone say 'dinnertime'?"


  1. What a whale of a project. Looks like you clamped down the problem!

    1. Trotter, you pulled a double nifty! Buen trabajo!


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