Patching Wall Paneling
According to an Internet article Blackbeard was one of the boldest and most notorious pirates sailing the waters of England’s southern colonies in the early 1700’s. Occurring during “the Golden Age of Piracy,” his activities and those of his fellow buccaneers are an integral part of America’s colonial history. His infamous deeds spread his name to both sides of the Atlantic. In fact, his name can still be found in history books, archives and public records in Great Britain, France, Spain, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and North & South Carolina.
It is believed that Blackbeard was born into an intelligent, well-to-do family. He could read and write and corresponded with merchants. Apparently this is why he was known to be comfortable with governors as well as ruffians. He fought in Queen Anne’s War from 1702-1713. After that he signed on with a pirate crew out of New Providence in the Bahamas. He proved to be a fierce and able pirate, and was given command of his own ship in 1717 which he named the Queen Anne’s Revenge.
Blackbeard made up his appearance to enhance his reputation. He wore pistols, daggers and a cutlass in a belt about his waist. Across his chest he wore a sling that held six pistols, all primed, cocked and ready to fire. He was tall, had a powerful physique and a bushy black beard from which he took his name. Before battle he would braid his beard into tiny pigtails, tie them with colored ribbons and twist some of the braids behind his ears. Immediately before battle he would light several long, slow-burning matches and tuck them under his hat, allowing wisps of smoke to curl up around his face. So here we have a famous pirate and he never wore an eye patch! We thought all pirates wore eye patches.
Blackbeard may not have worn a patch, but he probably had a full time crew making patches to his fleet of ships immediately after each of his escapades. You know, to repair cannonball holes, sword slashes and musket-ball penetrations. Can you imagine how busy he must have kept his carpentry and cabinet crew?
You may not be a pirate, but chances are you will someday have to make a patch to paneling, siding, a door or cabinetry. When that need arises you will need to know a few things that will make light work of the task. There are four basic steps:
- Cutting the patch
- Cutting out the damaged area
- Installing backing for the patch
- And finally, installing the patch itself
Locating and cutting the patch is probably the hardest part of this project. Matching wood grain can be tricky at best. Keep in mind that perfection may be achieved in some instances but wood isn’t wallpaper and the grain in the area of the damage may be difficult to duplicate. In any event, get as close as you can. Cut the patch slightly larger than the damaged area. The cut doesn’t have to be straight, but the edges must not be chipped.
Use the patch as a template and mark a line around the damaged surface. When you have completed making a cutout of the damaged area the line should be visible. Remember, the line was made using your patch. That automatically makes the hole too big if the line is cut out. Leave the line. A very accurate cut can be made with an electric multi-tool. You know – the kind used for building models and working on crafts. Anyway, take your time with this part of the project. If a neat hole is cut to the exact size required the finished product will be magnificent – even if there is a difference in the texture of the patch.
With the patch and hole ready to go the next step is to provide something for the patch to be mounted to. Here, small pieces of wood can be glued around the opening of the hole that will accept the patch. For wood patches yellow alphatic carpenter’s glue is best. Pretty much any size piece of wood can be used. Glue the backing pieces onto the existing surface so that half of the wood is behind the panel and half is under the patch. Spring clamps provide more than enough pressure to hold everything in place.
Once the backing is solidly in place the patch can be installed. Careful here. Dirt and debris on the back of the patch or the front of the backing may prevent the patch surface for flush alignment with the surface to be repaired. As in most cases – “cleanliness is next to Godliness.”
Finally, use a colored putty to disguise the joint around the patch. Unlike Blackbeard at least you won’t have to make a patch under water.