Make or Buy?

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Make or Buy?

Post by SteveMaryland »

Front porch of my house has traditional tongue & groove (T&G) flooring, and the equally traditional T&G beadboard ceiling. After 95 years, both need replacement. Make or buy the material?

I want to keep the trad look. Estimated I need quantity of 90 8-foot pieces for the ceiling and 100 for the floor.

This is the wrong time to be buying millwork or lumber. Thank you Mr. President.

I looked at what the big boxes and a lumberyard offers and it is not much in the way of trad millwork.

I would like the floorboard material to be pressure treated. The beadboard material can be any decent SPF 1-by.

A Texas supplier sells these trad materials; they (see below) want about $3200 shipped. Ouchie, and a Texas-sized 18-wheeler delivery trailer can't get down my street anyway.

Going the homemade route, I designed sections for the beadboard and the floorboard (see below). Yes they are both hefitier in section than the trad sections but I want them to outlast me.

Big box will sell pressure treated 2X8X8 for my floorboard, and 1X8X8 knotty pine for my beadboard. So raw materials is about half the price of finished millwork from the Texas supplier, and I can get both from the local big box. I have heard that pressure-treated is brutal on cutters (?).

As for tooling, I own a Shopsmith - which makes such homemade millwork possible for me. I would need to buy a rotary bead cutter (see below) but I have a dado set and I think everything else tooling-wise.

But cutting long thin work is generally hazardous and I dread doing it, especially at this scale. And I have never used a bead cutter. How hazardous could it be??

Per your experience, is cutting millwork at this scale really worth the aggravation?
Has anyone here had large material deliveries sent to a depot rather than a residence?
Suggestions as to my design and fab specs for these 2 items are welcome.
BEADBOARD.JPG (52.3 KiB) Viewed 1413 times
FLOORBOARD.JPG (64.5 KiB) Viewed 1413 times
YELLAWOOD T&G PORCH FLOORBOARD.JPG (122.54 KiB) Viewed 1413 times
WOODLINE #7541 BEAD CUTTER.JPG (26.21 KiB) Viewed 1413 times
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Re: Make or Buy?

Post by garys »

Personally, I wouldn't make it myself. Some years ago I remodeled my kitchen. I bought rustic hickory cabinets and as the project progressed, we decided that all the wood in the kitchen should be matching rustic hickory. I made my own door frames and window sills to match, but when I got to finishing up with needing door and window molding, I didn't have the shaper bits to do the job so I searched the internet for someone to do them for me. Shipping costs made that impractical after paying the to do the job, but then I went to a local woodworking shop here and they made up what I needed for a very good price. We wanted rosettes at the door and window corners, so after shopping for them online, I bought a rosette cutter bit and made those myself.

I would check around you for local shops that might be set up to do what you need at a reasonable price. You just might find that you need.
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Re: Make or Buy?

Post by thunderbirdbat »

Have you tried a local lumber yard instead of the big box? There may be a local or nearby mill work or lumber mill that they work with that may be able to provide the finished lumber for you. Also check with local historical society as they may have a different source for the lumber as it is a traditional design you are after.

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Re: Make or Buy?

Post by edma194 »

How thick do the ceiling boards need to be? Do they have any backing or just nailed across joists? You can get good looking beadboard that is maybe only 1/4" thick. I've used that in several places in my house. Depending on the specifics you could nail them directly to joists or if you need more thickness attach them on a layer of plywood or firring strips.

There's also bead board plywood and panels, some more water resistant than others, and some better looking than others. Depending on condition much easier to install.

As for cutting this stuff yourself, it's a big job but doable. I used to take on projects like that. You're talking about passing 100+ 2X8x8's over your Shopsmith at least 4 times each to cut those grooves cleanly. Possibly more passes on each one to get clean cuts. I remember when I would scoff at that little workout. Now I wouldn't go near it. But sometimes if you have a good helper or two those boards go flying by.
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Re: Make or Buy?

Post by DLB »

I bet you already know this and have chosen for a reason... I looked at some commercial beadboard product at a local big box (the 'blue' one). I had in mind to use the other side, simple T&G. But, IIRC the profile puts one bead at the T&G joint and one in the center of the board. Contrasts with your profile which has comparable bead spacing but located away from the joint. It is a different look visually, especially if stained. I'm just wondering if what you have chosen matches existing or some other reason? What finish are you planning? (Note, I was not impressed with the millwork on the product.)

Do you have a planer? Having done most of my woodworking without one, I could foresee some challenges getting the T&G fit you want if thickness is inconsistent and you are cutting T&G on a table saw. Depends of course on the extent of inconsistency.

I've read the same thing regarding cutting PT being hard on tooling. I've worked with some, but just did crosscuts and only with a circular saw where the blade is disposable anyway. It was a mess, my PT was pretty wet (not moist, wet). KDAT, per your ad, is reportedly better.

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Re: Make or Buy?

Post by RFGuy »

IF you are going to mill pressure treated (PT) for this, then wear a good quality respirator and/or have excellent dust collection. Many woodworkers forget that PT lumber is highly toxic, similar to many exotic hardwoods. The chemicals used to make lumber pressure treated render the sawdust from them to be quite dangerous...
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Re: Make or Buy?

Post by SteveMaryland »

David (DLB), yes, the mfgd beadboard I have seen have the bead located right near the edge; this makes no sense to me but if there is a good reason for that I would like to know (maybe the edge bead is supposed to cosmetically make the board-to-board joint disappear).

I think that edge location (for the bead) would weaken the board. My current old beadboard has the bead near the edge, and it has several edge splits there. I expect my joints will line up well enough to make them cosmetically disappear and then only the beads will appear, equally spaced. At least that is my intent. I expect to finish the ceiling with dye + urethane spar varnish.

Also, no I don't have a planer - or a jointer. I get by with nailing a "cleat" on the board which fits the table t-slot and lets me cut a straight edge. I expect the 1X8 beadboard to be S4S which typically is pretty clean. I am hoping the 2X8 floorboard faces will not need to be planed - floor will be sanded after install.
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Re: Make or Buy?

Post by Hobbyman2 »

JMO ,, If time is a issue go BB, If not then enjoy the time and opportunity to use your craftsmanship and imagination . We remodeled our entry way with Hickory , did the tung and grove thing , bought rough cut lumber from a mill , let it dry for a year and milled it down to size on the SS and the planer , mill cut lumber may not all be exactly the same thickness so plaining may need to be done , that will increase the time involved. I will say that the end product was as good or better than any thing store bought , and a lot cheaper on materials , then again if time is a issue go with the BB , as to the tung and grove that wasn't a issue I used a 1/4 inch bit and the feather boards on the router table .
then there is the sanding .............. the good thing is , it looks the way you want it to . we used a mix of size from 1x6 - 1x8 boards at 10' , there was over 120 boards .
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Re: Make or Buy?

Post by lahola1 »

This may be too flimsy for your ceiling (1/4" thick) but it's a very good price. I used it for the walls of the sauna I built several years ago. ... 108&ipos=7
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Re: Make or Buy?

Post by davebodner »

You're in Baltimore. Take a ride down the BW Parkway and check out Smoots in Alexandria. They sell all the traditional woodwork and moulding. For instance, my old paper catalog lists 3 different widths of T&G in yellow pine. In the old days they would run any of their mouldings in an alternate wood as long as you paid the set-up fee; maybe they still do.

They're now part of the BMC lumber group, so maybe things have changed, but they at least used to be wonderful place.
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