On a visit to New Orleans, my wife, Sheryl, saw a friend's new house where she covered a bedroom wall using reclaimed wood from homes destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. She liked it so much that she wanted to do something similar at our house. Sheryl decided that we could redo one of our powder room walls. She found a product called Stikwood.
Stikwood is a thin strip of wood with adhesive backing. Since we are wine fans and live near Napa Valley, Sheryl selected Stikwood made from reclaimed wine barrels. Each piece of reclaimed barrel oak spent years playing an important part in the wine making process, and the complex colors and aromas are captured in the Stikwood.
Our powder room wall is 92 inches by 40 inches which translate to about 26 square feet. The Stikwood stock comes in 16 square foot packages, so Sheryl ordered two of them. Sheryl got it as part of a Labor Day sale with free shipping and 20% off, so the cost was $481.
When the Stikwood arrived, we laid it out on the floor.
The on-floor arrangement allowed us to mix/match by swapping in pieces from both of the boxes. At 2 inches in height, we needed 46 rows to fill the wall. Once we had an assortment laid out, we grouped the remaining pieces by color so we could select easily fill-in pieces to add variety to the wall as went row by row.
Before attaching any wood to the wall, I painted the wall with a primer that was close to the color of the wood.
By darkening the wall color, if there were any tiny spaces between the Stikwood pieces, the exposed wall sliver would not stick out like a sore thumb. Unfortunately, I decided to make the painting process easy and did not cut in close to the side walls and ceiling. This proved to be shortsighted in that sometimes I would inadvertently cut the Stikwood piece was just shy of the wall's edge.
The Stikwood instructions suggest that you snap a reference line, lay your first piece level, and then work up and down from there. Ignoring the directions, I tried starting at the very top, but the ceiling was not level. As a result, my strategy was to follow the directions and start about one and a half inches from the top so that I could custom trim pieces for the top row. Cutting a 2-inch piece to 1-and-one-half-inches ensured that enough backing adhesive will still be on the piece. I painted the top of the wall white to match the ceiling. Any exposed slivers at the top would look like part of the ceiling.
Once I started, I got it down to a process.
- Add a full 30-inch strip by removing the backing paper (which exposes the adhesive) and sticking it to the wall.
- Grab another 30-inch strip and add blue tape to its face at around the 10-inch mark.
- Hold the piece up to the wall and mark the exact length needed with a pencil.
- Use a T-square to mark a straight line on the blue tape.
- Cut the piece to its proper length using a jigsaw.
- Hold the cut piece up and make sure the fit is good.
- Remove the backing tape and apply to the wall.
- Go back to step 1 and use the 20-inch piece in step 2.
The blue tape helped keep the face from splintering when cut. The cut piece had no pencil mark since that was done on the blue tape. For my test piece, I tried cutting it with a hand saw, but it splintered badly. I went to my local Pagano's Hardware, test piece in hand, and asked what type of saw would cut the Stikwood best. The extremely helpful employee took me in the back ("employees only"), and we tried cutting my test piece with two types of thin-blade hand saws. They both did a reasonable job, but the two of us agreed a jigsaw would be better. So I bought a jigsaw for $40.
After attaching the 45 rows, all that was left was the top row. Sheryl and I bought some poster board so I could make a template. I held the straight edge of the poster board to the ceiling and then pushed the poster board into place. This made a crease that I then traced with a pencil. I used the template to trace the pattern on a Stikwood piece using blue tape.
It took a few tries, but I eventually cut a piece to fit. For example, my first piece had a knot that caused it to split. After cutting a piece with no problems, I then realized that I had placed the 30-inch template on the left side. I had been alternating the 30-inch and 10-inch pieces, so I actually needed a template for 30-inch piece on the other side. Doh! I made a new one.
Since this was my second template creation, I found it was better to keep the straight edge of the template at the bottom and vary the top to follow the uneven ceiling line. So my need to make a new template proved helpful. The improved template kept any tiny slivers at the top instead of between the top row and the second row. I finished the template process by making a 10-inch template for the left side.
Here is the finished wall.
Next step - re-install the toilet. I removed it, so I did not have to try to work around it when adding the Stikwood to the wall.
Instructables is an Autodesk community where people share instructions on how to make things. For example, some come for cooking recipes. Others are looking for guidance on how to do something out of their comfort zones, e.g., a mechanical engineer by day who wants to learn how to spot weld at night. Our CEO, Carl Bass, told me that the most popular instructable ever is How to Kiss (like I said, mechanical engineers looking for help outside their comfort zones). I have created my first instructable for this process.
- Blue painter's tape
- Foam roller
- Paintbrush and/or paint roller
- Poster board
- Stikwood stock
- Tape measure
It's a 12-step program that took about 7 hours.
Wine barrels are alive in the lab.