Repair gap between wood paneling

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Hi team,
I've unearthed some original tongue and groove wood paneling in my bathroom. After stripping old tile adhesive, sanding and priming, I'm now needing to repair them before more priming and a top coat.
I'd like some advice on how you think I should repair gaps between the boards. I was considering completely filling and then routing back out, or maybe trying to caulk them and shape the caulk. I'd see pros and cons to both.
Any advice appreciated.
IMG_20220801_183606.jpg
 
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I'd like some advice on how you think I should repair gaps between the boards. I was considering completely filling and then routing back out, or maybe trying to caulk them and shape the caulk. I'd see pros and cons to both.
Well, personally I think that planked wooded wainscotting in bathrooms isn't the greatest of ideas and I'd replace them, however...

Routing filler won't work (the filler will just crumble in places).

Trying to rout down to the floor level won't work, either, because the base of the router will limit how far down the wall you can get. And have you ever tried to route something fixed vertically to a wall? I've done it a few times - it isn't for the faint of heart or inexperienced router users

Routing to a straight line will require a guide batten to be fixed to the face of the wainscotting for the base of the router to run against - but if the planks aren't flat (i.e they are cupped and bowed) your router won't follow the original moulding lines and it will end up looking a mess

Routing will change the shape of the beads, because those weren't produced by routing and there isn't a router cutter which can replroduce that shape in situ on a wall

So, in my opinion routing really isn't really a feasible

If you are determined to re-use this wainscotting, then you need to thoroughly strip these to bare wood to see how good or bad they really are before making the final decision. It may be possible to clean the beads up using a home-made profile sander, rubber sanding profiles or by adding one of these kits (a Fein profile sanding kit) and some PSA (self-adhesive) sandpaper to a multitool. It will be a lot of work, though. After you've stripped them you may decide it isn't worth the effort, so maybe start with a small area first

The gaps can be caulked with paintable silicone (they are the bottoms of grooves, so it won't be that noticeable under a few layers of oil-based paint), but because it's a bathroom I'd avoid filler if at all possible simply because the wood is going to move with changes in moisture levels
 
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Thanks all!
I certainly won't be burning them. I've already stripped them to bare wood before priming; the quality of wood used 140 years ago is quite something.
I'll have a shot with the caulk which was my preferred option because of the flex, I imagine despite the tight grain that the wood will move around a fair bit with moisture.
If it doesn't work, nothing lost. If it does, I'll be delighted that I've been able to preserve another bit of the original house.
Thanks again,
Greg
 

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In my old house I tend to leave the wood with the slight gaps. If I 100% will them then the wood later on will move and flex with temperature and humidity changes re-ooening the cracks.
 
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You won't be able to retrospectively shape caulk (to begin with it shrinks back). You can apply 2 pack filler and laboriously sand that but it is very, very time consuming. When faced with those kind of jobs, I glue sandpaper to variously profiles of timber.

I kind of understand why you want to retain it but is it really "original"? It is pretty basic T&G and would be cheaper to replace if you want a decent finish.

Oh, and other than @JobAndKnock 's recommendation, I only know of one linear sander on the market (Festool LS130) but the price is silly for such as small job.

I have owned one for about 15 years and seldom use it.
 
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Oh, and other than @JobAndKnock 's recommendation, I only know of one linear sander on the market (Festool LS130) but the price is silly for such as small job.
Actually, there was also a Porter-Cable model (model 444 or 444VS), but they stopped production a few years ago. Only offered in the UK for a couple of years. Terrible tool - ran hot (so hot that it would be uncomfortable to hold), very noisy and so much vibration that more than 15 minutes use and you'd feel like you were developing vibration white finger:

Porter-Cable 444VS 001.jpg
Porter-Cable 444VS 002.jpg


Fortunately, they are no longer around unless you are keen (mad) enough to import one from the USA and run it off a 110 volt transformer
 
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There's only a couple of bits that need attention really, most of it can remain higgldy piggldy. I did buy the correct profile round over bit for my router, so could recreate the magic with MDF. But I'll be staying in this house for a couple of decades and will be pleased with my restoration efforts if it turns out ok. Will be sure to post a pic!
 
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I did buy the correct profile round over bit for my router, so could recreate the magic with MDF.
The shape you are trying to create is this:

T and G with a Bead.png


which AFAIK cannot be reproduced with a round-over bit (these sorts of profiles were run in a 4-sider or a 3-head match planer if it really matters - and before the widespread use of machinery in the 1850/60s this fancy match boarding T&G would probably not have been used in most of the UK because it involves so much hand planing effort (which is time consuming and consequently expensive) - about 5 or so and planes: namely a matched plane "pair" (for the T&G), side bead plane with a fence, fillister rebate plane and something like a rebate plane with a bevelled fence as a minimum

And BTW MDF is a terrible material to use in a bathroom - it has all the water-resisting characteristics of blotting paper. If you are repairing pine then use pine for your patches, at least then it will expand and contract at something near the rate of the original boards
 
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