



Wainscoting Layout 



I used to scratch my head a lot whenever I laid out wainscoting panels.
I’d figure out the panel size and start measuring across the
wall, but I’d always end up off by an inch or more, so I’d
start over and circle the new marks, so I wouldn’t confuse them
with the old ones. I’d get a little closer on the second try
but still be off by a 1/2 inch or more. The third time I’d get
even closer. The fourth time…you get the picture? On long walls,
I’d end up with marks inside circles, stars, squares, octagons,
pentagramseverything imaginable. Sometimes I’d have to spray
the wall out with fastdrying white primer and start over.
But I don’t scratch my head anymore over wainscoting layout
because I now use a calculator.
Simplify the Math
To calculate the layout of the panel spacing, always begin with
an estimate of the panel sizethat’s the easiest way to determine
the number of panels. Once the number of panels has been determined,
the exact size of each panel is easy to figure out. But remember one
important rule: There is always one more stile than there are panels—if
there are seven panels, then there must be eight stiles (unless the
wall you’re working on never meets another corner).
The wall in the above illustration measures 96 in.
[Figure A], so the first thing to do is subtract that extra stile3
in.
{96"3"= 93"}
For this example, we’ll plan on panels that are 10 in. wide,
with 3in.wide stiles. So divide the length of the wall by 13 in.
(that’s the combined width of the panel AND the stilethe math
is a lot easier if you combine the two measurements into a single
unit). The result is 7 1/8.
{93"*13"= 7.15}
But you can’t use that number because it’s unevenyou
must have an even number of panels. So round that result up or down
to get an even number. In this case, it’s a lot closer to 7
panels than it is to 8.
Now you’re ready to get the EXACT size of the panels. Divide
the length of the room (minus the last stile) once more, this time
by 7the number of panels. The result is 13 5/16. Since the stiles
are 3 in. wide, that means the panel width is exactly 10 5/16 in.
{96"3"= 93"}{93"*7=
13 5/16" 3"= 10 5/16"}
To locate the beginning of each stile/panel unit, you could just
add that dimension (10 5/16 in.) to itself as you measure across the
wall, but notice what happens if you do (See Figure A). The last mark
comes out pretty close to 3 in. away from the wallalmost enough
room for a full stile, but it’s not PERFECT.
{13 5/16" + 13 5/16"( x7)......=
93" 3/16}
Using a Construction Master Pro Calculator
Pretty Close isn’t good enough for many of the jobs I work
on, and besides, if I’m using a calculator, the layout should
be precise, after all, the reason I invest in new tools is to speed
productivity and ensure accuracy.
The steps for using a Construction Master Pro Calculator are exactly
the same BUT, once you’ve divided the length of the wall by
the number of panels and the result shows in the LED display (93 /
7= 13 5/16 in.) STOP!!
With the result13 5/16still showing on the display, simply press
the “+” button and then the “=” button. But
STOP THERE! The second layout position is now in the LED display.
Notice the difference? The position is 26 9/16 in., NOT 26 5/8 in.!
The reason for the difference is simple: The calculator REMEMBERS
and adds the exact amount of the result (93/7= 13.28), not the rounded
number that appears on the calculator screen (13 9/16).
Now, DON’T PRESS THE ‘+’ BUTTON ANYMORE! OR THE
CALCULATOR WILL ADD 26 9/16 TO ITSELF.
Just press the “=” button again and that exact quotient
will be used to arrive at the PRECISE location of each succeeding
stile—and the differences are dramatic for any caring carpenter:
39 7/8 in.; 53 1/8 in; 66 7/16 in.; 79 11/16 in.; and 93 in. EXACTLY!



















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