Personal tools
log in | join | help

Maple Plywood Paneling How-To?

by Ron Skopitz last modified Jul 11, 2011 08:00 PM
Editorial Rating: 1 2 3 4 5
Average Rating: 1 2 3 4 5 ( 0 votes)



Maple Plywood Paneling How-To?

Posted by Ron Skopitz at December 20. 2004

Hello! I have (what I consider to be) a Mid-Century Modern home that is about 50 years old. The outside of the house is sheathed in 4x3/4 tongue-and-groove cypress beadboard. In an effort to bring the outdoors in the original architect/owner of the house used the same beadboard on several of the interior walls in the living room and kitchen.

This poor house has suffered from several generations of owners hell-bent on erasing any trace of the original modernist design, including multiple coats of paint on the beadbaord in hues of varying hideousness. The end result is that the bead-board walls now feel barn-like and dated.

My preference is to update the interior by replacing the beadboard with 3/4 maple plywood panels. I see these in many pictures of modernist homes and freequently in Dwell. I also notice that common practice seems to be to break these surfaces up into smaller panels that appear to be separated by a black spline of some sort.

Can someone point me to information or a document that describes how this is done? Is this tongue-and-grove? If so, are they purchased like that or fabricated? Is it done onsite? Or are these lines merely routed into the face? If so, how are the lines colored? Etc, etc.

The intent here is to do it myself :oops:

Any and all help is GREATLY appreciated!

Re: Maple Plywood Paneling How-To?

Posted by Mike Smith at December 21. 2004


I am compleating a project simular to what your talking about. I covered a wall in my house with 36x24 maple panels. I used a product called Panelclip, it's a simple aluminum z-clip. I butted the ends tight, but it still leaves a black outline like your talking about. You can also leave a 1/8 or 1/4 reveal by installing ebony stained maple behind the panel. I'm sure there are other ways to get this look, but this way I can easily remove the panels if one gets damaged. Good luck.


Re: Maple Plywood Paneling How-To?

Posted by Jeffrey Rous at December 21. 2004

I will be doing a similar project on a house we will be building this spring. ( if you are interested) I have come across several ways to do this. Instead of 2'x3' panels, we will be using 4'x8' sheets installed vertically in rooms with 8' ceilings. Because the house will be constructed with SIPs, we will be able to get away with using 1/4 plywood. I was thinking of using birth, but we are planning on using birch cabinets and I want to create some variation. For cost reasons, we might go with maple. Here ase some of the variations we are considering (most of these ideas come from either Lavardera or eamesdaedelus).
* butt joints with seams exposed
* butt joints with 2 wide battan over the seams
* butt joint with aluminum c-channel ( search aluminum extrusions ) between the panels. However, the shallowest c-channel I can find is 3/8 deep so it would stick out 1/8 proud of the plywood.
* aluminum t-channel bwtween the panels sitting with the top of the T against the wall(also at but the shallowest of these is 3/4. With these, you would see 1/8 strip of aluminum between the sheets. I also considered using angle since you can get them with a shorter leg than 3/4 and so they wouldn't stick out as far. The problem is that the two sheets of plywood would not sit flat. Two angles back to back would leave a seam in the aluminum.
* 1/4x1/4 bar stock between the panels. These would be flush with the plywood but would have to be held in with a combination of glue and friction. This is the method I am thinking of right now. The debate is whether to keep the full 4' width of the plywood or to cut them into 2'x8' strips.
* The coolest idea (thanks to Lavardera) is to use shelf standards between the panels. The Rakks 8' C style standards (with access slot since they would be mounted flush) look awesome (like a heavy duty c-channel) and you could then hang stuff or put a shelf anywhere you wanted in the house. I am going to do this in a few locations for bookshelves. However, in these areas I will be placing the standards every 2' to support shelves. They are sold at and cost about $25 for an 8' standard.

I am sure someone else will comment here, but I think 3/4 plywood is overkill. 1/2 would be more than stout enough and would match any drywall you may have. Especially if you are going to need two layers (to either leave a reveal between the panels or to attach the finish layer of panels), I would think about 1/4 first (which could be stained black where you will leave a reveal) and then another finish layer of 1/4.

I have not decided how to attach the panels. One option is to use really nice screws and washers and leave them exposed (will require care to space the holes similarly on each panel). A second option is to use the smallest square drive screws I can find and sink them far enough into the panel to cover the hole up with putty.

All this being said, I need to find out more about panelclips. Wulftred, do you have a source?

Re: Maple Plywood Paneling How-To?

Posted by ian maclean at December 21. 2004

mike has the idea. if you want to make your own clips or french cleat you could do it with some thin wood or baltic strips. you can level the part on the wall, then measure for the part on the panel. if it needs adjusted, just move the one on the panel a bit.



Re: Maple Plywood Paneling How-To?

Posted by Jeffrey Rous at December 21. 2004

Not only does this place have z-clips, but it has a bunch of other interesting extrusions too. The French Cleat idea looks great, but for me, the less careful cutting of wood I need to do, the better.

Re: Maple Plywood Paneling How-To?

Posted by Mike Smith at December 21. 2004

The place I went through is;

They were more than helpful with my questions, and the price isn't that bad.

I would suggest using no less than 1/2 for the panels. You need something for the skrews to fasten into. Also, being a remodel its very likely the walls are not perfect, and 1/4 wood (much like sheetrock) will show every imperfection. These clips are 1/4 thick so that leaves you with that airspace behind the panel. 1/4 wood would bend every time someone leaned on the wall, not mention the seams would be harder to align.

The best part of using the panelclips is that the fastening system is hidden, and like I said before the panels are easily removed if something damages them. Take the time to plum your wall with either furring strips of plywood.


Re: Maple Plywood Paneling How-To?

Posted by Ron Skopitz at December 21. 2004

Hello all,

Wow -- thanks for the great ideas! I really like the shelf standards (and so will my writer/book-aholic wife!!). I'll definitely look into some of these.

To answer the 3/4 question, it's mainly because the paneling that is on the wall is already 3/4, so I think that will help make everything line up.

Thanks again!


Re: Maple Plywood Paneling How-To?

Posted by S Jong at December 21. 2004

I like this idea and have a big blank wall that I'm thinking about doing this to. But I have one question when using the panel clips. If the wall you're working on has 2 interior corners at the ends and the panels are going to be floor-to-ceiling, how do you get the upper panels in without leaving a gap at the top? Don't they drop down into position? And with interior corners, you couldn't slide the panels in place. So how would this be done?

Hey Rous, what about using the H-channel from Paramount Extrusions #5575 or #5460. You could fasten the H-channels directly to the walls. Build up the back of the panels with strips, then slide them in place.

Re: Maple Plywood Paneling How-To?

Posted by Jeffrey Rous at December 21. 2004

I thought about it, but, my first thought was that there would be trouble when you got to a corner. Now, that I think about it, it might be feasible using angle 4096, in the corner.

I also have been looking at Self Mating (Yikes!) Case Section extrusion 2632. I could put one on each side of each panel and then just butt them together. Again though, corners would have to be joined with 4096. Of course, this solution requires twice as many pieces of aluminum.

another thought or 2 or 3 or...

Posted by Bob at December 22. 2004

my impression is that maple plywood is only veneered on the exterior faces not on the edges so if you do or do not wish the edges to be visible (and how much of them should be visible) should factor into the desired installation/joint method that you choose.

ALSO consider how you will cut the receptacle boxes light switches into the panels as well as the condition where the panels abut any windows.

when i'm able to engage in such a project, i am leaning towards pre-drilling the holes and using exposed fasteners - perhaps screws with washers at regular intervals along the perimeter about 2-3 from the edges so you get the four fasteners forming a square in each corner where 4 pieces meet. the spacing of the fasteners would be something i'd experiment with in the field.

Re: Maple Plywood Paneling How-To?

Posted by Mike Smith at December 23. 2004


The clips are designed so that the panels drop down into place. This means a 1/4 gap at the top panel and the ceiling. If you go with a 1/4 gap and a reveal it will look like part of the design. I butted my panels flush, but the ceiling is 15ft so its not noticeable.
The only thing about inside corners is if the ajoining walls are out of plum, this would mean scribing the panels or fixing the walls.


Re: Maple Plywood Paneling How-To?

Posted by Matt Kent at July 11. 2011

Timber panelling is becoming a popular option for home remodeling and new home builds. The choice of timber and or plywood means you have one challenge, that is the color and hue of choice that suits the remainder of your interior themes.


Powered by Ploneboard




Website migration, maintenance and customization provided by Grafware.