Friday, April 22, 2011

Do a Little Jig

Hi everyone! This is Dave. Rachel wanted me to post about the beadboard and shelving we installed in the kitchen.

The beadboard paneling was not only intended to look nice on it's own, it was also a fantastic solution to the fact that the drywall paper was ripped up and would need to be refinished if we just added shelving and raised the cabinets over the fridge.

Beadboard / Paneling:
Your beadboard project will be a success if you can't tell where the seam between panels is located.
- Always have the vertical seam between your panels be at a stud. That means you may have to cut off up to 15" from your 48" board width, but it's worth it. If you don't cut your panels to land on a stud, your vertical seam can open up over time depending on the humidity in your house.
- Make sure your panels are level. I forgot to do this. I just placed it on the countertop and nailed away but, fortunately, it was level. If it's not level, your panel lines will not be vertical and it will cause big problems as you add more sheets.
- The particular beadboard we used was not pressboard. Our application was a kitchen, so we wanted something that could withstand a moist environment. We found a board that is essentially layered plywood which will hold up better over time. That said, there were a considerable amount of bumps and roughness at the lap joint that I had to clean out with a chisel to make sure when I overlapped sheets, one didn't get pushed out farther than the other (and give away where the seam is!)

- Caulk is your friend, but don't over do it. It's much easier to come back and add more caulk than try to remove excess caulk.
- Be liberal with panel glue.

- Nail effectively but don't over-do it. You'll have to come back and fill all your nail holes.
- A Roto-zip is a worthy investment if you do a lot of projects like this, but not absolutely necessary. We bought it at our last house for cutting out the drywall around outlet boxes. It was worth its weight in gold for that application. Cutting out for outlets and switches it definitely a time to remember the "Measure twice, cut once" axiom. If you don't get that hole close to your outlet box, that's a sheet of paneling down the drain. Don't be afraid to cut it a little small if you don't mind enlarging it as necessary to fit around the outlet. Don't forget to make sure your circuit breakers are cut off to all your outlets. Most modern homes are required to have at least two breakers for your kitchen countertop area.

Brackets / Shelving:
We decided to make our own brackets. We were struggling to find a bracket we liked the look of but that was also stout enough to support kitchen shelving. The few that we did like cost over $6 a piece. So, in the end we decided to make our own; we were able to customize the look, ensure they were strong enough, and the brackets ended up being about $1.50 each. Because we were making 12 brackets, I decided to make the jig seen below:

To make the jig, I made one bracket the hard way: clamped the pieces, glued and screwed them together. This involved a lot of time and energy to get the bracket to look right. Once I had my bracket "template" I set it down on the piece of plywood you see above and nailed small blocks of wood in enough places to hold the three pieces of the bracket while I screwed them together. It took me over an hour to make the first bracket and the jig, but once that was complete I was able to assemble each bracket in less than 5 minutes. Life was good.

We used 3" screws to attach the cleat to the studs and 2" screws to attach the brackets to the cleat. We countersunk all the screws. This allowed us to apply wood filler over all of them so all the fasteners are hidden but the bracket is still firmly attached.

The shelves are 3/4" thick pine boards. The choices are pretty slim when looking for boards 9+ feet long and 12" wide, but this worked out well. We bought the "fancy," select pine, as it has fewer knots. We then applied poplar 1" x 2" trim (same material as the brackets) around the perimeter of the shelves to (1) provide the shelves with more presence, and (2) help remove some of the cupping of the 12" wide boards.  The wood for all the brackets and shelves ended up being costlier than we thought, but when you consider all the money saved by having no hardware (hinges, knobs/pulls) it's still solidly more cost effective, not to mention quicker, than building traditional cabinetry.

The Lettered Cottage


  1. Hi Dave! Great tutorial. We are in the middle of a kitchen remodel using lots of beadboard, it's a wonderful thing! We sure do adore your sweet wife and appreciate her showcasing all of the hard work you all do to make such beautiful homes!

    Heather from At The Picket Fence

  2. Beadboard is definitely great. We've learned to love it and all the sheetrock sins it can hide. Thanks for being so sweet to Rachel/us and encouraging her blogging.

  3. I would love to add bead board to our kitchen...thanks for the tutorial!


  4. So impressive! You've added so much beauty to your home - thanks for sharing your progress!