Finishing Up the Barn Board (For Now)


Note the white haze, which is actually crystalline borate.

On a steamy summer Friday, I reluctantly traded happy hour for a date with my three season room. First, I examined the boards for any signs of bugs and lucky didn’t find any, but I did see a lot of white haze and crystals. The nice gentleman at Quality Borate warned me of this possibility because of the “thinness” of my boards (3/4″), their species (pine), and their moisture content (bone dry). Basically, I must lightly dampen the boards until all the borate crystals dissolve into the wood. It’s purely for aesthetics.

Undeterred, I began putting up the boards. You’ll note the gap at the bottom, which was caused by haphazard measurements and a loosey-goosey disposition. I kept thinking the trim would cover everything up but I didn’t think about the pitch of the room. The measurement at the house was nearly 2″ shorter than the measurement closest to the yard. The installers pitched the floor since it was likely an outdoor slab at one time. By the time I got to the end of that wall, it looked a bit wonky. I was able to go back in and patch a few sections with scrap but I should’ve measured and cut each board individually instead of cutting them all at once and hoping for the best. Rookie mistake.


First wall up but a bit short.

I called it a night knowing I had reinforcements coming the next morning (i.e. my father-in-law). We made quick work of the second wall within an hour. Unfortunately, that sinking feeling settled in when I realized my plan of wrapping the whole room in trim and not wanting to overbuy meant I was out of material with a fair amount of work left. It wasn’t a lot but it meant I had to go back to the supplier and work with what he had. I  gave my father-in-law instructions on what to do (patch, electrical, wait, etc.) and set out with my wife to pick up a second batch of wood. We scored a few more boards from the same barn but not enough 10-footers to wrap the room like I wanted. Instead we scored some white oak fence posts for the trim. We also scored more critters. Grrr! I sent my help home and spent the rest of the afternoon sanding and treating the wood.

My second batch of lu

My second batch of lumber

I examined the wood the next morning and saw no signs of life in the boards. My next task involved a bit of head scratching to layout the material for the best yield. This is where years of Tetris helped. I laid everything out and we got to cutting. We utilized every tool in the shop that day: track saw, table saw, jigsaw, block plane, chop saw, hand saw, chisels, nail gun, and a great new edition – the 13 x 13 foot canopy (read lifesaver when the rain started).  There are very little pictures of the last day due to the pending rain storm and wantonness to get things done. Here are some shots of how it looked at the end of the day.

We’ve been enjoying the room for about a month and love it. I have some final touches to incorporate such as the following:

  1. Misting/washing the boards to remove the white haze.
  2. Applying a vinegar/steel wool solution to the exposed, freshly cut trim edges. This should help blend them in with the rest of the pieces.
  3. Installing 2″ black wrought-head nails to the trim for holding power and aesthetics
  4. And then, down the road, finishing the rest of the room. The remaining painted 2 x 4’s look awful with all this great work in the rest of the space.

I’ll publish an update when I do items 1 – 3 but item 4 won’t happen for a LONG time. In closing, I have one request: please leave a comment describing what you think I should do with the leftover wood. Most of the pieces are 2 – 4 feet long with widths of about 4 – 10 inches. I’d appreciate it.


About Shawn Nichols

Heady. Phishy. Woodworker
This entry was posted in Home Improvement, The Big Reno, Three Season Room and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Let me know what you think...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s