Homemade shiplap

Hi friends! We've had several of you reach out to us on instagram asking how we make our own shiplap, so we figured we'd break it down for you. It's way more cost efficient than buying the boards at the store. Considering we're putting planks up in the den and every bedroom we needed A LOT and this makes the most sense for us. Because I wasn't outside for every second of this tutorial, I'm going to have B explain how to make them.

What you'll need:

2 people
Table saw (I use a Bosch 4100)
Dado blade (I use a Diablo 12 teeth stacked set)
Plywood sheathing
Tape measure
Hand sander (I use a Bosch orbital)
Oil based primer

The Process:

Well the process is definitely a bit of a workout but in the end the cost savings and unique product you get is worth every bit of it.

First, we picked a nice board that would give us the size and texture we were after. We decided on pine plywood sheathing in a 4'x8' sheet. One side is smoother and sanded, while the other is a little rougher with graining and knots. The wood is suitable for exteriors so we were confident that it would hold the long test of time installed in our home with whatever life has to throw at it.

Once the wood was delivered to our home we measured out 3 different widths we were going to use on our home: 3.75" wide for our ceilings, 5.5" and 4.75" wide faced randomly staggered for our walls. We set the table saw up for each width (accounting for extra to take dado cuts into consideration). The next part took a bit of time but we cut the sheets of wood down into the appropriate 3 widths and separated each into piles.

The next step was the most time consuming: dado cuts. Because we didn't just want straight cut boards on the wall and wanted to emulated what authentic shiplap is we added dado cuts on both sides of the board so the wood essentially locks into place when installed on the wall. We notched out a strip on the front of the board and also on the back on the opposite side. We adjusted the height of the dado blade and checked the fit on the wall. Took a few adjustments but once we got it right we were in it for the long haul. Every board was then ripped down with a dado cut on one side, then flipped and ripped down with a dado cut on the other.

Once all the boards were done we were ready for the next step: sanding. We got a huge pack of 80 grit sandpaper discs and quickly took our orbital sander over the front of each board to make sure that the boards had all their rough spots sanded and loose splinters knocked off. We didn't go crazy here and briefly went over each board without spending a lot of time on each board. For these to go on the wall and presumably be touched and brushed agains we wanted to make sure we weren't in the long hall for splinters.

Once each board was cut, had dado notches on both sides and lightly sanded we were ready to store them inside for a little while for the moisture to get out of the boards. By putting wood on the walls with a higher moisture content than our home, over time they would eventually shrink some and the seams would gap out more than what we wanted.

After the boards had acclimated it was time to prime them. Each board was laid out and a preferred side was selected. Sometimes the rougher side was selected, sometimes the smoother. Sometimes we picked the side that had knots as well. We tried to keep it random but also tried to use the side that would work best. Once that side was selected we laid the boards out and painted the dado cut site with oil based primer. Oil based primer is important because the stains won't show over time once we paint the boards. Priming these parts now make painting much easier later as the gaps will be small and harder to get a paintbrush in to prime once installed.

Stay tuned for our post about how we installed the shiplap and please let us know if you have any questions!

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