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Byline: Suzanne Bain

LAST week, we looked at the preparation required before cladding a wall in tongue-and groove panelling.

And this week, we're fixing that panelling to the battens you've attached to the wall.

You should have already decided on the pattern of your tongue and groove - ie diagonal, horizontal, vertical, zigzag - and have fixed the battens in place accordingly.

Now you're ready to fix the tongue and groove. One method is secret nailing, in which you drive panel pins through the tongue at an angle. To prevent the tongue from splitting as you do so, pre-drill the holes for the pins with a 1mm drill bit.

Bang the pins in using a pin hammer and then for the final 5mm or so, a fine pin punch. Make sure the pins sit just below the wood's surface.

Metal clips are another option. They fit into the groove and leave a small tongue through which you can bang a pin into the batten. For this method, you need to plane the tongue off the first board you're fixing and put that edge against the left-hand wall. The next board along will conceal the clips.

To fix tongue and groove vertically, again put the first board against the left-hand wall (this time with the groove side in the corner) and check that it's vertical, using a spirit level. Now bang your pins through the board and into the batten behind, ensuring they're just clear of the groove. You can then hammer pins in through the tongue (one for each batten).

Once this board is fixed, put the next one along in place. Use a small offcut of board (with the tongue removed) to protect the tongue of this second board while you carefully tap it into position (hammering the offcut not the board) and finally fix through the tongue with pins.

To cut a piece of tongue and - groove, first score where you want to cut with a craft knife and metal ruler and then use a hand saw, cutting at least a couple of centimetres in from the end of the board.

You could use a jigsaw instead - make sure it has a fine blade fitted - but you don't really need to. If your design calls for angles, use a combination square for 45 degree ones and a protractor and adjustable bevel for other ones. Smooth off all cut ends with fine sandpaper and wipe clean.

There may be times when you need to join boards (end to end). This should only be done over one of the battens, and remember to stagger the joints.

When you come to the final board in a row, fix it on top of the previous board with masking tape. Now take your offcut of board with the tongue removed, slide it along the wall and mark the line as you go on the final board.

This should enable you to get it exactly the right width, providing a nice neat finish.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Feb 7, 2008
Words:497
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