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Distinterior

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I'm on a job at the moment where I need to make a length of curved skirting board. The radius of the curve is about 1200mm and its finished length will be about 1400mm.

I have removed quite a few lengths of original timber from the kitchen as there was a walk in pantry originally and the house was built about 1900. The timber is only softwood, as are the original skirting boards but it is nice quality wood and I would really like to utilise it if possible. It is likely to be very dry as it's been in situ for nearly 120 years.....

The finished size of the skirting needs to be about 85mm high x 22mm thick with a slight aris around to match up with the original shape.

My question is, what thickness should i cut the thin strips to if I laminate a load of strips together in a former? I have a bandsaw, planer thicknesser and all the necessary tools etc. The skirting is going to be stained and finished along with the newly sanded and finished original softwood wooden floorboards. ( not by me but a specialist timber floor refurbishment company)

Is there a rule of thumb for the thickness of the strips in relation to their height and the overall thickness of the curved skirting and the radius....?

Thanks, Tim.

Edit. And I assume normal PVA glue will suffice to glue the thin strips together...?
 

Distinterior

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Yes,...That was one of my concerns Phil..!

Often the issue gets raised where timber for a particular project has too high a MC, but in these circumstances, a higher MC would be preferable.

What thickness would you suggest for the laminations...?
 

Trevanion

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5 x 5.5mm pieces should bend enough for that kind of curve. You might even get away with 3 x 7.3ishmm pieces if you don’t want so many laminations.

Possibly worth machining then down to their sizes and just gently spraying them a little with a bit of water and leave them to soak it in if you think that they might have a brittleness problem.

You MIGHT even be able to kerf out the back of the existing boards without breaking out the showing surfaces and it will conform to a very gradual curve.
 

Distinterior

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Thanks Trevanion.

I had briefly considered kerf cutting, but discounted it due to the fact that the skirting is going to be stained and finished as opposed to painted.

I've just tested a couple of bits of the timber I would like to use with a moisture meter and it reads about 12 to 13 % on a freshly cut end......Higher than I had expected considering its age and how long it's been in the house.

The grain pattern and colour of the wood is so much nicer than a modern day softwood, the angular rings are much darker and tighter together...
 

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Distinterior":xtlc9iod said:
I had briefly considered kerf cutting, but discounted it due to the fact that the skirting is going to be stained and finished as opposed to painted.
I was on about stopped kerfing, without breaking through to the showing faces, it’s not as effective as kerfing straight through the piece but it does give it a little flex to go around a moderate bend.
 

Distinterior

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Trevanion":3vy5ktz5 said:
Distinterior":3vy5ktz5 said:
I had briefly considered kerf cutting, but discounted it due to the fact that the skirting is going to be stained and finished as opposed to painted.
I was on about stopped kerfing, without breaking through to the showing faces, it’s not as effective as kerfing straight through the piece but it does give it a little flex to go around a moderate bend.
Ah,... I see what you mean.

Well, I have plenty of the timber so, I'll try the lamination route first as, you may have guessed, I've never done it before so would like to give it a go.

Does a MC of 13% seem okay to bend at 5.5mm thick x 80mm high..?

The timber in the picture is about 3 3/8" x 1".
 

MikeG.

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I'd be kerfing that, without a shadow of doubt. In fact, I've got to skirt around a curved shower in my bathroom, and it will be kerfed. I'll just make sure it doesn't break through at the top (a stopped kerf, if you like).
 

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Distinterior":2vl8jt9b said:
Is there a rule of thumb for the thickness of the strips in relation to their height and the overall thickness of the curved skirting and the radius....?

Thanks, Tim.

Edit. And I assume normal PVA glue will suffice to glue the thin strips together...?
There isn't really any rules, the fewer laminations then the more the spring back and less stable the finished job. I make plenty of laminated components both for furniture builds and for yacht fit-outs, most of my individual lamination layers are in the range 1.5-3.0mm. That's not to say that's "right", more that I put a big premium on achieving ultra stable pieces with little or no spring back.

Regarding glue, I only ever use a UF glue (such as Cacamite) or occasionally I'll use epoxy if the job demands it. PVA will creep and doesn't offer much open time. Laminating is a slow and meticulous job where you don't need the hurry up from rapidly curing adhesive!

Personally I think lamination is too much faff for a skirting board (don't forget you'd also need to make the former), I'd either kerf or I'd build up the curve from shorter sections and then cut it from the solid.
 

Distinterior

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MikeG.":1bt7ib1z said:
I'd be kerfing that, without a shadow of doubt. In fact, I've got skirt around a curved shower in my bathroom, and it will be kerfed. I'll just make sure it doesn't break through at the top (a topped kerf, if you like).
Okay,....So If I go with the stopped kerf option, how deep should I make the cuts and how much material should I leave un-kerfed at the top...? Bearing in mind the finished thickness will be 22mm and the height about 80mm and I will be making the kerf cuts on my RAS with a 250mm dia blade x 3mm thick kerf....
 

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Distinterior":2z3d78gb said:
Okay,....So If I go with the stopped kerf option, how deep should I make the cuts and how much material should I leave un-kerfed at the top...? Bearing in mind the finished thickness will be 22mm and the height about 80mm and I will be making the kerf cuts on my RAS with a 250mm dia blade x 3mm thick kerf....
Put as small of a diameter blade as you possibly can in the RAS to maximise material removed, set the blade just above the table about 0.5mm and if you can put a stop on the arm of your saw to stop the blade just before it exits the top of the material, do that, it will save a lot of time.
 

Distinterior

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custard":18g4zei1 said:
Distinterior":18g4zei1 said:
Is there a rule of thumb for the thickness of the strips in relation to their height and the overall thickness of the curved skirting and the radius....?

Thanks, Tim.

Edit. And I assume normal PVA glue will suffice to glue the thin strips together...?
There isn't really any rules, the fewer laminations then the more the spring back and less stable the finished job. I make plenty of laminated components both for furniture builds and for yacht fit-outs, most of my individual lamination layers are in the range 1.5-3.0mm. That's not to say that's "right", more that I put a big premium on achieving ultra stable pieces with little or no spring back.

Regarding glue, I only ever use a UF glue (such as Cacamite) or occasionally I'll use epoxy if the job demands it. PVA will creep and doesn't offer much open time. Laminating is a slow and meticulous job where you don't need the hurry up from rapidly curing adhesive!

Personally I think lamination is too much faff for a skirting board (don't forget you'd also need to make the former), I'd either kerf or I'd build up the curve from shorter sections and then cut it from the solid.
Thanks Custard.
All useful insightful information there.

I had considered the time factor in making the former, but I understand and appreciate it is a bit overkill for a section of softwood skirting board. I'm just looking to achieve the best finish I can on the job as a whole.
 

Distinterior

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Trevanion":gsstccxc said:
Distinterior":gsstccxc said:
Okay,....So If I go with the stopped kerf option, how deep should I make the cuts and how much material should I leave un-kerfed at the top...? Bearing in mind the finished thickness will be 22mm and the height about 80mm and I will be making the kerf cuts on my RAS with a 250mm dia blade x 3mm thick kerf....
Put as small of a diameter blade as you possibly can in the RAS to maximise material removed, set the blade just above the table about 0.5mm and if you can put a stop on the arm of your saw to stop the blade just before it exits the top of the material, do that, it will save a lot of time.
....0.5mm from the table surface...???!!!!!! That seems really thin Trevanion...? for material of 22mm thick. When I've done kerf cutting in the past on other materials such as softwood, MDF, and plywood, I've only made the kerf cuts about 2/3rds the depth of the wood.....

How far apart should I make the kerf cuts?

This skirting is also going to need to be fixed in position by means of counter bored holes, screws and rawlplugs then have wooden plugs glued in and sanded off....

I do have a way of putting a stop on the arm of my RAS.
 

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Distinterior":2qba8m01 said:
....0.5mm from the table surface...???!!!!!! That seems really thin Trevanion...? for material of 22mm thick. When I've done kerf cutting in the past on other materials such as softwood, MDF, and plywood, I've only made the kerf cuts about 2/3rds the depth of the wood.....
Yes, usually it would be thicker on a regular kerfed piece but since there will be a lot of meat still left on the cuved part of the cut you need every bit out you can really!

Distinterior":2qba8m01 said:
How far apart should I make the kerf cuts?
Double width cuts with about 3mm of material left behind, so sort of 6mm gap, 3mm left, 6mm gap and so on.

Distinterior":2qba8m01 said:
This skirting is also going to need to be fixed in position by means of counter bored holes, screws and rawlplugs then have wooden plugs glued in and sanded off.....
You will still have a bit of solid material on the top of the skirting to get a half decent fixing in, but I would recommend something like pinkgrip on the back of it to help keep it stuck.

I would definitely do a test piece first just to make sure it works on the material before doing the real deal, It works alright on fresh skirting but not so sure about the older stuff.
 

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Distinterior":26pxc15x said:
how deep should I make the cuts
Not quite as deep as I made them when I did a similar job :roll:. I cut too deep and the result was skirting that was like a threepenny bit (showing my age there) rather than a smooth curve. Sorry, but I don't recall how deep I cut. I suggest you do some tests, and creep up on it to get the result you want.
 

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Just4Fun":37q7f3l5 said:
creep up on it to get the result you want.
That's what I'd do.

I'd start by leaving 1/4"- 3/8" of un-kerfed wood (in other words a bit more than you think appropriate), try it for size, then cut a bit more away until it folds neatly around. Alternatively you could get close with your mitre saw, then add a bit more kerfing with a tenon saw to get the final fit you want.
 

Jonathan S

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Last summer I had a fit out that needed curved skirting and was about to make a steam box but tried kerf cutting and it worked fine.... No screws....loads of polymer and dead manned it to the wall overnight....photos of both sides of the bendy wall.


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