Cutting Right Corners


QUESTION: I have remodeling work to do. I always seem to get everything right, until I get to the business of joining moldings at corners. Sometimes it comes out OK, sometimes it doesn’t, and I am not sure what causes either result. Is there something special I should know about making such joints? I am talking about moldings of the same pattern.

ANSWER: When joining moldings of the same pattern at corners, cut a 45-degree angle on each piece so the angles run in opposite directions to each other. Inside corners are cut so the edge next to the wall is longer than the outside edge. The outside edges should be longer on outside corners. To get the neatest fit, you should use a miter box. There is a different process when you want the moldings to cross each other, but it is a bit tricky, so you had better use the simpler method.

Q: In installing paneling on a poured-concrete wall below ground level, I expect to attach polyethylene sheeting to the furring. How much should the sheets be overlapped for a tight installation?

A: About 3 inches. But you do not want a completely tight installation since it is necessary for air to circulate behind the paneling. It is assumed there will be a space behind the paneling because of the furring strips. You need some method of getting the air to go behind the polyethylene sheeting. Do this by leaving a small breather space at ceiling level. This will work properly only if you also leave a breather space between lengths of the horizontal furring strips. Thus, when the air gets into the opening at the top, it will be able to move down and not be blocked by the horizontal strips.


Q: I live in a hot, dry area but want to build a house so that solar energy takes care of what small heating requirements we have in the winter. I have an architect helping me with the design. Is there anything special I should tell him?

A: No, because he should know what he is doing. An architect handling a solar-energy house should have complete knowledge of the requirements for the particular area in which the house is being built. For instance, a lot depends on whether the solar-energy system will take care only of the heating needs or whether it also will be used for cooling and domestic water heating.

The techniques of using varnish, shellac, lacquer, stain, sealer, bleach, remover, etc., are detailed in Andy Lang’s booklet, “Wood Finishing in the Home,” which can be obtained by sending $1 to Know-How, P.0. Box 477, Huntington, N.Y. 11743. Questions of general interest will be answered in the column.