Chapter 4: The Problem With Glue

In my previous entry, I was coping with the frustration of having some of my panels peel off the wall where I had glued them. Rather than lose my mind and start throwing things, I quit for the day - after going to the hardware store and getting a tube of a different kind of glue. I re-glued the panel that had come down and left.

Today, I went back over and assessed the situation and, sure enough, the panel had come down again. What was happening was that the glue was curing onto the wall and the panel, but then breaking apart between them. Sure enough, it was too cold, and the glue had been freezing and failing to cure properly. Nowadays glues are all fancy proprietary trade secret mixes, so it's hard to know how they will behave ( I suppose I could read the directions, but that would be cheating! - anything polyurethane or silicone-based is going to room-temperature vulcanize using the heat of its own reaction. Unless it's too cold. The "goop" that I used to attach the j-channel 'cures' as solvents evaporate out of it; it's a completely different process. It's also a much more expensive glue. As "old school" ~Staffdancer suggested, screws would have been a better option. I'd considered screws but wanted to avoid the dust of drilling into cinderblock, and the risk of trying to mount something right on top of one of the screws (that'd ever happen, right?!) - there's nothing worse than trying to install a cabinet-mount by drilling into a piece of steel you installed a few days before...

Some Good News

While I was mounting the panels the first time, I had my reddi-heater blazing away. As it happens, the panel that fell down was the first one I installed. It, and the second, probably went up before the temperature in the room had gone up very much! Sure enough, the other panels are stuck on fairly well! So, I re-glued the fallen panel (using the same cold-weakening stuff as before) once the room was good and hot. I'll see how it worked tomorrow.

Rosie The Riveter

Drill with forstner bit, oak screw-plugs, cut panel slices, etc. (large)

I decided I'd try 4-inch wide "bolt panels" with the "rivet heads" 4 inches apart. The trick was to make the scale seem right for the heads, and to be just unsubtle enough to be visually noticeable. So I cut a 4-inch strip on the table-saw, eyeballed it, decided it would work right, and ripsawed half a panel into strips. I marked and drilled one of the strips with holes 3/4" from the edge, 4" apart on both sides, to use as a quick marking template - just stick a sharpie in the hole and presto! (I hate to measure things!) Then drill the holes with a nice clean edge using the forstner bit, put glue on plug, put plug in hole - repeat!

Visual Rivet Panel test(large)

I think it looks pretty darned good! Imagine it painted battleship grey with a steel metallic wash over it, for full effect! It's also pretty darned monotonous to glue all those plugs and insert them. It took me about an hour and a half to make 6 rivet-panels. A bit of music helped. But it was getting tiresome playing Rosie The Riveter!

Switch Plate (large)

I took a break after a while and made a switch plate for the lightswitch.

What's Next?

The next interesting problem for my rivet-panels is the corners of the room (2 "innies" and 2 "outies") I think I have those licked. Today before I quit for the day, I cut two thin strips of oak and glued them together in a right-angle shape. For the corners, I ought to be able to just glue the wallboard into one of those right-angle pieces; it'll hold everything together and the oak strips ought to be thin enough that they're the same distance off the wall as the wallboard. This is going to be one area where a little thinking will pay off a great deal in terms of time savings.

My 'rivet' supply is not large enough. I originally bought 2 bags of 100, and I'm most of the way through them and haven't even finished the walls. The foam overhead pieces and bulkhead will all need "rivets" too. So I went on and bought 6 more bags of plugs. Somewhere, someone is thinking "WTF is this guy doing? Making chairs for an army?"

A few minutes after I clicked "submit" on my amazon order, my mail beeped and I had an email from Rejuvenation.Com - the gas-light fixture has shipped!! In the next couple of days I will figure out how to handle the corner rivet-panels and I'll install the light fixture. Hopefully my additional "rivet heads" will come soon! After that: paint. Then, install cabinets. Then sinks, plumbing, and electricity. But there's a lot of fractal detail in each of those simple-sounding phrases.

(Chapter 5)