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How to Install a Dowel Feature Wall or Bar

How to Install a Dowel Feature Wall or BarTimber feature walls are a relatively inexpensive and DIY friendly way to bring warmth and interest into a space.Whether you’re looking to spruce up the back of a bar or island, or cover your entire wall in timber paneling, we’ve got you covered!
 
Before starting any project, it’s always important to ensure you have the correct materials and have measured your space properly. Make sure to take note of any obstacles you might need to cut around, such as power points or plugs.
 
Tip: We recommend building this structure inside the room you intend to install it in, as due to its size it can be difficult to relocate once assembled
 
Materials
  • Half round timber dowel
  • Plywood board/s - roughly 12mm thick
  • Nails
  • Wood glue
  • Construction Adhesive (liquid nails)
  • Wood filler
 
Tools/Equipment
  • Nail Gun
  • Saw - Ideally a circular saw
  • Sandpaper 
  • Caulking gun
  • Ear protection
  • Dust mask 
  • Eye protection / goggles
 
Step One - Measure your Space
 
Before purchasing any of the materials for your job, it is best to measure up your space. Large areas such as bars/walls may need to be broken up into smaller, more manageable, sections to save on material costs and time. Multiple plywood boards can be stacked beside one another to create a cohesive finished product.
 
Ensure that you have also measured and marked any obstacles you may need to cut around in the future (such as power points etc).
 
Step Two - Choose Your Materials
 
With so many different timber dowels to choose from, it can be hard to decide on the right one for your project. Victorian Ash or American Oak are popular choices, but if you’re looking for something a little more exotic, we’ve got a handy timber guide available to help you choose the right species for your project.
 
We sell half dowels in a variety of different sizes, however recommend either the 30mm or 40mm options for the best coverage.
 
To work out how many lengths of dowel you’ll need for your project, use the following formula:
 
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Alternatively, to work out how many lineal meters of dowel you’ll need for your project, use this formula:
 
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If your dowel does not come in set lengths, we recommend ordering 10% extra to account for wastage.
 
Step Three - Cut your timber
 
Once you’ve chosen your timber and measured out your space (and triple checked your measurements), it’s time to start cutting. Firstly, measure your plywood and mark any obstacles you’ll need to work around. Then, using a circular saw, trim down your board/ boards. If you’re having trouble making long, straight cuts with the saw, you can clamp a board along the length of the plywood to use as a guide.
 
Once you’ve cut your plywood, it’s time to trim your dowel. Some timber species are available in set lengths and will already be cut to size, but others (such as victorian ash) may require trimming or joining to ensure all the lengths are the same size.
 
Step Four - Attach your Dowel to the Plywood.
 
Once your timber has been cut to size, it’s time to attach your dowel to the plywood board. We recommend using a combination of timber glue and nails for extra security. Firstly, apply a generous amount of glue to the flat side of your dowel, and line up the edge with that of your plywood board. Once you are satisfied and have checked that all three edges are flush, use a nail gun to secure the dowel to the board.
 
Using the first piece of dowel as a guide, continue to follow this process with the rest of your lengths of dowel.
 
Step Five - Finishing Touches
 
After attaching the dowel to your plywood board, set it aside to dry (drying time will vary depending on the type of wood glue used).
 
Once your board has dried, fill any nail holes or imperfections with a matching wood filler. It is important to choose the appropriate filler to ensure the wood colour and texture stays consistent. 
 
Sand back your wood filler and wait for it to dry before applying any timber finishes. Depending on your preference, you can then apply either a lacquer, wax, stain or paint to your feature wall.
 
Step Six - Secure the Plywood to your wall/surface
 
Once your stain, paint or finish has dried, it is time to hang your plywood. While nails/screws can be used for this job, the easiest way to secure this structure to your wall is using construction adhesive. These adhesives can be applied using a caulking gun, and should be applied liberally. Ensure your wall or surface has been sufficiently cleaned and dusted before beginning this process.
 
Once construction adhesive has been applied to the backside of the plywood board, press it tightly against the wall or surface, and wait for it to adhere (time will vary depending on the adhesive used). This process may need to be repeated several times if multiple boards are being used.

Completion! 

Once you have finished staining, painting or finishing your timber, it's time to take a step back and admire your hard work!