It’s ‘Wainscot’ not ‘Wainscoat’… and How To Install It


Our bathroom got a makeover over the past few weeks thanks to the heroic painting efforts of misses weekndr and my own do-it-yourself inspiration.

We installed wainscoting in our bathroom and used the opportunity to choose a new paint color, one that “complements our skin tones” as the wife notes, and lightens up the place. Before I get into it, let me ask: is wainscoting the most controversially mispronounced word in the home improvement dictionary? While it does technically coat the walls, it’s not pronounced that way! Take a listen if you don’t believe me.

wainscot-4Why Use Wainscot?
The wainscoting solved a few problems for us. First, there was a rotted area around the trim where the wall meets the bathtub shower insert, which needed to be ripped out and replaced. Second, I’m not so good with drywall seams, especially when patching a small section of a painted wall, so instead of sweating over the details, I covered up my drywall patch with 1/8-in. thick masonite beadboard, purchased at Lowes as a 4×8 sheet.

wainscot-5How to install it
The first step after the drywall is complete is to attach square baseboard trim to the wall. I used 4-in.-wide maple trim. Next,  cut the beadboard panels into strips (I cut the panels in thirds making each 32-in. tall) and adhere the panels to the wall with liquid nails. A few shots from the pneumatic nailer will hold them in place as the liquid nails dries.

To conceal any gaps that might appear between the baseboard trim and beadboard due to inconsistencies in the plumb and level of the floor or wall, attach a decorative quarter-round trim over that corner joint. This also adds some additional flair to the baseboard trim.

Finally, I nailed a molded chair rail along the top edge. I butted the trim right up against the beadboard and sealed the joint with silicon puddy. You can also overlap the trim if you need to conceal major gaps along the joint top (as seen in photo) or go one step further and cut a rabbet along the edge of the chair rail that hangs over the beadboard.

crown complete

wainscot-2You don’t have to be extremely precise with the miter joints and transitions. As the old saying goes, ‘without puddy, paint, and glue, what would a poor carpenter do?” With that advice in mind, fill all the nail holes, seams, and edges with a latex or silicon caulking and sand smooth. Then apply a coat of primer and a few coats of top coat paint, and Voila!


Build a Bed… at 1/8th Scale

bed model

Good bye futon frame, we’re getting our first-ever grown-up bed. This week I’m going to start building a mission-style bed for the homestead and I decided to build a model in 1/8th scale to make sure the proportions are right. It’s made from scaps of white oak and assembled with a hot-glue gun. The mattress is cardboard.

The girls have already commandeered the cute little model for a Barbie bed. At least she’ll get to rest in style.

The design is pretty much classic arts and crafts. I based it on a Morris chair that we keep in our room. Quarter-sawn white oak, through mortise and tenon joinery (although I have a few tricks up my sleeve with that), corbels Head Board Inlayand slats for the headboard and footboard.

Since the bed is all right angles and square parts it should be relatively easy to build so I’m going to throw in some inlay for the headboard. I found some nice clipart on Google to put together the two options at right. I’ll let the misses have the final word (as usually). I’m leaning toward “SLEEP” over “PEACE” (as usual).

Home Remedy: How to Treat a Rash from Poison Ivy, Oak, and Sumac

Poison Ivy (Toxicodendron). Photo by Martin Labar

If you are allergic to poison ivy, oak, or sumac, and you acquire a rash after being exposed to one of these wicked plants, there are a variety of home remedies and doctor-prescribed treatments that claim to help you through these itchy times.

As a regular victim of poison ivy (east coast) and oak (west coast) I rely on the good old-fashioned pink stuff, Calomine lotion, to reduce the itch and dry out the rash as it heals. I only wish the marketing wizards at Calomine would come out with a tan-skin-colored version. When seriously exposed, I’ve used a doctor-prescribed steroid ointment. And I’ve tried countless home remedies including but not limited to: washing with gasoline or bleach, and smothering with over-the-counter natural ointments.

Aside from high-powered drugs, which have their side effects, none of these treatments prevent an itchy ride. Here’s what you can expect if you’ve been recently exposed.

Day 1: Exposure to plant.
Day 3: Rash begins to appear in highly exposed areas of your skin
Day 5: Rash has spread to all exposed areas and beyond. The itchiness really intensifies around this point so be prepared for some sleepless nights. And DON’T Scratch!
Day 7: Just as a fever breaks so does the itchiness of an allergic rash from poison ivy, oak, or sumac. About now the itching will retreat and your wounds will begin to heal.
Day 12: Unless you developed serious blisters, your new skin should be grown in by now and looks as good as new. Oozing blisters may leave some lingering scars.

Five Ways To Prevent Poison Ivy, Oak, and Sumac
The best treatment for poison oak, poison ivy, or poison sumac is prevention. If you can repel the oils of these irritating plants before they penetrate your skin you’ll never find yourself scratching an itchy rash.

  1. Know how to identify the plants that are native to your area. Look here to see which plants grow in your area and to find pictures of their leaves. Once you can identify these plants you can begin avoiding them.
  2. Apply Tecnu to your skin BEFORE going out into an area that may have poison ivy, oak, or sumac. I try to do this whenever I work in my backyard since I know very well that poison ivy lurks about.
  3. Walk on open trails. Avoid underbrush and overgrown paths.
  4. Wear boots, socks, pants, long sleeves, and gloves when trouncing through areas that may have these plants.
  5. After exposure to these plants, remove the above listed clothes in an orderly fashion and immediately place them in a plastic garbage bag for washing.

How to Raise Tadpoles Into Frogs


We’ve been running a home biology project on our back deck over the past few weeks. The kids scooped up a cup of tiny tadpoles from a small pond at their friends’ house and they’ve been living in a glass goldfish bowl outside night and day, rain or shine.

We captured some tadpoles a few weeks ago and have been watching them grow from tiny-tailed dots to four-legged froggies.

We captured some tadpoles a few weeks ago and have been watching them grow from tiny-tailed dots to four-legged froggies.

Their transformation from tiny-tailed dots into four-legged froggies is near short of amazing, and something that I’ve never really witnessed before. Weeks after we found them, the two taddies photographed above each have a tail, and one also has two hind legs and two front arms.

Mrs. Weekndr has been doing all the hard work to keep these little guys fed and watered. They started out eating lettuce scraps and whatever other organic matter that fell into the bowl. Now that they’re getting more frog-like we’re introducing goldfish flake food to their diets. As for water, we mix in clean water every few days, replacing about 20 percent of the tank water.

There used to be three tadpoles in our tank, an even bigger one, but he went MIA while we were away on our 10-day trip out West. We like to think he grew his legs and jumped off during the monsoon rainstorms and is living happily in our backyard puddles.

UPDATE: One taddie reached frog status and was released recently into the wilds of our front yard. Good luck little guy!