Oak Paneled Ceiling

Risky business for this first time woodworker.

SHOP OWNER: Jim Shaver
LOCATION: Oakville, Ontario, CANADA

    It was a good many years ago when I was first temped by a magazine article to take up my first woodworking project. The cover of the December 1993 issue of The Family Handyman featured a wood ceiling. The enclosed article made it sound simple. It detailed the tools needed and the construction process. From that point, I was hooked. Since I did not own a single woodworking tool at the time, nor did I have any developed skills, I felt that I would take a risk and come what may.
    My first task was to scale our family room and draw out each of the design squares. Finding the center of the room was critical. I began scaling the size of each square so that the room looked balanced when it was completed. I quickly was able to conclude that two-foot squares were going to be the best fit. The perimeter squares would have some variance since full sized squares wouldn't quite fit along the walls.
Oak Paneled Ceiling

    Then came the room layout. With all the chalk lines and layout marks, the ceiling became a big upside down illustration of angles and information. It was not easy laying it out upside down, but the time spent measuring and marking it all out was well worth it during the assembly process.
    Next came prefinishing all the oak. I bought what I estimated to be correct, solid oak 1 x 2s, and 1 x 4s, " oak sheet ply, 5/4square oak stock and oak trim moldings. I finished them using Minwax Cherry stain in my back yard over the course of a week. It was an amazing sight to see all that wood; all the while, the neighbors were wondering what on earth I was doing.
Oak Paneled Ceiling

    Then came the fun part, the assembly. I needed to borrow a chop saw and a pneumatic nail gun. The ceiling design starts out with 2 x 4s faced with the oak. Following the layout markings, I attached the 2 x 4s using four-inch screws secured into the ceiling joists. Once the 2 x 4 layout was complete, I framed the inside edges of each square with 1 x 2 oak. After that, I faced of all the 2 x 4s with solid 1 x 4 oak.
    With the solid oak installed, using construction adhesive, I attached the two-foot squares of " oak ply to the ceiling. The friendly folks at my local Home Depot cut and ripped 4' x 8' sheets of " oak ply for me into the 35 squares I needed.
Oak Paneled Ceiling

    Once the sheet stock was in place, I installed corner blocks that I made using 5/4 oak stock. There are four per square, and in two instances, 5 per square. The corner blocks are two-inches long with two 22-degree faces cut on each block to give a simple finished look. With the corner blocks in place, I installed the finish molding between them. The molding, which I purchased from a local supplier, was 1 inch tall.
    After completing all the squares, I installed a small trim molding around the perimeter of the room. The finished look is very pleasing and we enjoy the room very much. It's always nice to sit back and look at it. Over the past eight years, it has not changed, but it is always a point of conversation when friends come to visit.
    All the preparation work took me about 40 hours of work, the assembly took me about 26 hours. This is the first and only woodworking project my father ever saw me make, and he really enjoyed it. Since then, woodworking has become part of my life and I enjoy the results it brings to my family.

. . . Jim Shaver



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