Question about wooden wall paneling

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Question about wooden wall paneling

Postby Sienna » Mon Mar 07, 2005 10:40 am

What type of wood is standard wall paneling like the pictures below? Where can it be bought?
Image
Image

Thanks

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Postby designmatters » Mon Mar 07, 2005 12:10 pm

Sienna,

Great pictures!

Since those panels are plain & solid, they're probably just a veneered plywood. You can find plywood veneered in all sorts of wood, or just the veneer itself.

It's hard to tell from wide pictures like those exactly what type of wood they are, but perhaps if you took them to a supplier they can help you out. I don't know where in So Cal you are, but in West Los Angeles I recommed House of Hardwood on Sepulveda & Olympic, and Anderson Plywood, on Sepulveda & Washington.

Good Luck!

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Postby tikiyaki » Mon Mar 07, 2005 12:19 pm

Those panels look like Lauan. looking at the grain, I don't think they're birch, they may be oak.

Having just done alot of my house in unfinished birch and oak paneling, then doing a Luaun door, I wish I would have done all Lauan paneling, because I think it looks so much better, is alot cheaper and takes the polyurethane alot more easily in my experience.

The best way to go is 1/4" 4x8 sheets. It's fairly easy to do.

You can find it anywhere that sells lumber.

Oh...great house , by the way ! :-)

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Postby tikiyaki » Mon Mar 07, 2005 12:23 pm

actually, the more I look at the photos, the more it looks like oak to me...

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Postby Sienna » Mon Mar 07, 2005 12:34 pm


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Postby johnnyapollo » Mon Mar 07, 2005 1:40 pm

Doesn't look like Oak to me - I'd go with Butternut (lighter walnut variation - usually found in the UK) or US Mahogany. It's def a veneer of some type - too much figuring for the typical lauan (I don't believe lauan was used much if at all on period doors/paneling - depends on the construction date). You can probably achieve the same effect using Birch plywood and stain. Pre-treat the wood so that the stain spreads more consistently.

-- John

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Postby Joe » Mon Mar 07, 2005 2:41 pm

the two most popular panels (an appropriate in my opinion) is slab birch and slab Philippine mahogany. Mahogany can be swapped for Luan today. Both Luan and birch are quite affordable through most plywood vendors. For finishing Luan, search this site for past threads explaining the best ways. Searching the Eichler Network is good too. In my home, I have 50 year-old birch cabinets in my kitchen, which dictate color schemes in the living area. I recently changed out the interior doors of my home with new slab birch doors and found that amber shlack gives the birch a nice finish and matches the 50 year-old patina of my cabinets. I will be paneling several walls in my home with birch in the next few weeks. as for my doors, I sprayed on one coat, gave it a light sanding, then sprayed on another coat. The turned out great! Inexpensive too!

The image you are posting is from Minx's Cliff May in Pomona. I looks like stained or aged birch. Cliff May homes are know to have used some birch panels in Long Beach and Texas.

Be sure to go with slab panels, not the stuff with lines in it. Oak is a no-no. Too '80s.

For some great images, check out the following books

luan/mohagany in Eichlers:
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/ ... k_code=as1

Birch in Neutra homes:
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/ ... k_code=as1

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Postby SDR » Mon Mar 07, 2005 3:59 pm

There's no doubt in my mind that the wood in the photo is mahogany, clear finished. I'm not sure I've seen any luan, a relative of mahogany but a little coarser in texture and much lighter in color, that appeared with a clear finsh to be the color shown here. (I imagine luan could be dye-stained to appear similar to this). Most of us have seen luan in use as the basic material for inexpensive flush doors, over the past 45 years -- birch is the preferred alternative, nowadays. I've worked with a lot of mahogany over the years, and the color and grain appearance in the second photo is right on.

Most stain commonly in use is pigmented, as opposed to dye. Pigmented stain has particles of solid color-bearing material in it; these usually obscure much of the reflecting aspect of the wood grain -- notice the light-and-dark quality in the second photo. As you move past the piece, light and dark sections "trade places." The French term is chatoyance (Americanized sp), literally, "cat's-eye-ness." Dye stains typically don't interfere with this appearance, as they are truly transparent.

The color of the mahogany has deepened relative to when it was first installed, due mostly to its exposure to daylight. This happens rapidly on unfinished samples of some woods, especially fir, cherry and mahogany. Walnut, on the other hand, can lose color after prolonged exposure.

The bookmatching apparent in the pieces shown -- the mirror-image of the same grain and knot patterns, with a seam between, identifies this as sliced veneer, the normal surface for plywood panels. The left door is composed of one pair of leaves; the right one of another, different pair.

The only grain configuration (among the domestic hardwoods) that could be mistaken for this one is walnut; it could be dye-stained to appear like this. Oak (red and white) has a coarser and more linear grain (I call it "tweed-y") when rift-cut -- plain-sliced oak has a pronounced wavy striped look -- and its knots are very different in appearance; there would be no chatoyance apparent .

Thank you for your patience with my pedantry!

SDR

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Postby Sienna » Mon Mar 07, 2005 4:38 pm


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Late to the party...

Postby Chimay » Mon Mar 07, 2005 10:24 pm


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Re: Late to the party...

Postby Sienna » Tue Mar 08, 2005 8:13 am


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Luan paneling

Postby Chimay » Tue Mar 08, 2005 9:01 am


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Postby Joe » Tue Mar 08, 2005 11:47 am


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Postby Sienna » Tue Mar 08, 2005 12:40 pm


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Postby egg » Fri Mar 24, 2006 11:16 pm


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Postby robbhouston » Sat Mar 25, 2006 4:41 am

Regarding using lauan, it is very beautiful wood....I recently replaced several damaged interior doors (which I believe were birch) with lauan slab doors ($20 each), shellacing them with Bullseye Amber Shellac. They look real nice and blend well with the rest of the original doors...

Image

Joe's right about going thru and finding the grain details you want. At one point, I think I had every lauan door they had in stock lined up comparing wood grain!

Lowes and Home Depot also have 4'x8' birch veneered panels in 1/4" (good for paneling) and 3/4" thickness. I recently re-finished an old beat up 80s looking oak table by taking it apart, painting it black, and topping it with 3/4" birch, finished in amber shellac. Birch looks great with that finish. I rolled the edge of the panel black...

Image

Image

Image

Image

A 4'x8' 3/4" birch veneer panel is $38 at Home Depot. I didn't price 1/4", but it's likely about half that.

--Robb

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Postby Stephen » Mon Mar 27, 2006 7:40 pm

Wow, what an awesome thread. I don't know how I missed it earlier. A couple of my thoughts on wood and wood paneling.

To me, one of the greatest things about working with wood is how the same piece of wood can be finished in so many different ways to produce a different effect.

I know doing the "orangey-patina-ed" look is really popular on this board, but I'm very partial to the look of clear, satin-coated birch. This method seems to preserve and accentuate the dramatic tone variations. It's like getting the light and dark meat in the turkey. Plus, I think this look appears modern, up-to-date, and fits in very well with the California mood. It also works really well with other woods, both light and dark varieties.

Image

It's like maple with a dark side...evil maple.

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Postby SDR » Mon Mar 27, 2006 8:58 pm

You're right about birch being (in some instances at least) "light and dark meat". . .not normally found in other species (where much lighter wood is normally the fairly limited amount of outer "sap wood," usually cut off and discarded like the fat from a roast or a steak). *Evil* maple -- I like that !

Do you mean the "Guernsey cow" variety of (Red ?) birch panels and doors, in which major warm-brown patches intrude (?) on the lighter wood. This might be reminiscent of those cow-hide (horse-hide ?) pieces of MCM furniture, like the rarely-seen Eames LCWs or the Corbu lounge. . .or else they look (to me) like big random cloud patterns. I've seen some examples of this wood on LL.



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Ditto.......

Postby podboy » Fri Apr 21, 2006 6:12 pm


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Postby egads » Sat Apr 22, 2006 4:27 pm


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Postby egg » Sun Apr 23, 2006 12:13 pm

egads-

Thanks for the insight. That helps me alot.

I was just recently at the lobby of the Valley Ho in Phoenix and admiring the dark wood paneling they have in there.

A question about the "bevel"- when you say bevel, do you mean a slight gap between the edges of each panel? So that the end effect is a grid on the wall?

If so, do you just put spacers in between, and have the drywall visible through the seam, or how does that work, and how do you keep them straight and even?

I looked very closely at the Valley Ho wall, and I couldnt see any nail spots. Looked like they had 1/4" paneling there- perhaps they just glued it.

One other question- I assume you finish the panels by applying wood conditioner, and then varnish, and THEN mount them to the wall, correct?

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Postby Joe » Sun Apr 23, 2006 1:01 pm

I just paneled my island in my cliff may with birch, shellacked it. I just butted the ends up, no seem. look great. I sheetrocked first for fire safety and strength, since it's a floating island.


3/16 or 1/4 inch panels are fine.

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Postby egads » Sun Apr 23, 2006 2:48 pm

If the wall is flat enough, butt seams will work. So oddly enough, even though you are covering the walls, they might need a skim coat of drywall compound. Especially if the sheets are thin. When i say bevel I mean that the edges of the panels themselves are slightly knocked off. There is no gap. I have to look for the bevels.

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Postby moderns-r-us » Sun Apr 23, 2006 3:40 pm

You drywalled your island?

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Postby SDR » Sun Apr 23, 2006 4:05 pm

Flatness of both the panels and the wall -- at the points where the panel seams will fall -- is very helpful, in reducing the number of nails it will take to achieve a flat seam. Thicker plywood paneling *if it is flat at the edges* will ordinarily require fewer nails to produce a flat seam.

While a no-bevel joint is ideal, the chamfering or bevelling of the mating edges is a good strategy for disguising minor variances in the planarity of the seam.

If glue (ie, panel adhesive) is used, and the wall opposite is not too far away, a strategy for achieving flat seams is to use spring sticks and a flat caul at the panel edges, to force the panel flat to the wall while the adhesive sets. With enough spring sticks (a kind of clamp, made of scrap plywood or lumber) and cauls (3/4" ply or flat 1x or 2x), a nail-less job is possible.

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Postby egg » Sun Apr 23, 2006 5:43 pm

OK- I think I get it.. the problem is that the edges of the sheets kinda ripple or get buckley and then when you butt them up to each other, they dont look right. Am I correct on that?

I can see how hitting it with a bunch of nails could help flatten them down, but then again, you'll have a bunch of nail holes to deal with.

But I'm not sure I'm clear on how beveling the edge fixes the problem- does it basically knock down the high spots so the ripple of the edge isnt obvious?

how do you get that done to the sheets of paneling?

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Postby SDR » Sun Apr 23, 2006 6:04 pm

Yes, that is what I mean.

The beveling is very minor, and is easily accomplished with a fresh piece of 150-grit sandpaper wrapped around a flat block of wood. A few consistent strokes at a 45-degree angle along the vertical edges of the panels; you don't want to sand too far into the first substrate layer of the plywood. This can also take care of minor splintering or denting of the edges of the panel.

This will only ameloirate minor differences of flatness at the seam; the best advice is to reject any ripply panels. The nails to use are ordinary finish nails; set them carefully with a small nail-set and wax-stick the holes after finishing, as suggested. Prefinished ring-shank finish nails are also made for this purpose; they are available in a couple of different brown shades. These are for the thinnest panels (nominal 1/4"), as the head stays on the surface; setting a finish nail in a thin panel may end with the nail pulling through the back of the panel.

The old random-plank-effect prefinished panels had black grooves; this was where the black ring-shank nails were placed. The standard pattern for these panels placed grooves at 16 and 32 inches from each edge, perfect for hitting the studs behnd the sheetrock. All nailing should be into studs wherever possible; otherwise panel adhesive is recommended. Al things being equal, thicker panels will require fewer nails to stay flat to the wall. 1/2" plywood, carefully selected for grain and flatness, is a good choice. (Always reject the first and last panels from a "unit" [40" factory stack] as they are normally warped. Many units have groups of panels that match each other -- they are "sequenced." This produces the perfect match you are looking for.)

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Postby egg » Sun Apr 23, 2006 6:40 pm

Ah great- thanks for that clarification.

I assume you do you beveling before you do your varnish/shellacking.

Does the wax stick alone give you the sheen over the nail head, or do you go back with a small brush and dab more varnish on top?

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Postby SDR » Sun Apr 23, 2006 6:54 pm

Do the beveling, if you choose to, before installing the panel.

The wax stick is applied with the corner of a small putty knife or similar instrument -- the material can be heated with a hair dryer to "move" more easily -- and the excess smoothed off with a dull knife, the repair being polished with a soft cloth. Except for high-sheen finishes, the wax usually matches the finish well -- the area of fill is very small, after all.

Colors can be mixed if necessary, though many wood colors are available. Mineral spirits ("paint thinner") used sparingly will clean off excess wax without damaging finishes, though it can melt into the repair. More wax can be added at will.

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