Vinyl 1 x 4's


Haven't been around much the past month due to a little rain we had on 12 July and 3 feet of water in the shop and about a foot in my walk-in basement. My office is (was) in the basement and it certainly got trashed. So far, 3 motors in the shop have been rebuilt and a couple of tons of "basement stuff" trashed. Note - sealed bearings do not stop water...8-(
At any rate, I'm in the process of rebuilding the office and went looking for some molding - colonial style. The borg's are outrageous right now on wood prices. A lot of places in upstate NY had flooding the past month or so and even finding materials to rebuild with can be difficult and damned expensive. I'm sure a lot of their stock has been diverted to Katrina rebuilding efforts and short supply etc. is driving the prices up.
Found some decent pine, colonial chair rail at a seconds place we have that was stain grade for .69/ft so I grabbed what I needed. Plan on painting it anyway so the blems don't hurt it for my application. I'm replacing the lower 30" of sheetrocked wall (that was ruined) with plywood beaded wainscoting. Need some colonial base and it's in short supply. The stuff left at the borgs is really beat looking and at $1.39/ft - I'll mill my own. Was planning on getting some rough-sawn poplar and making the base but I spied some 1" x 4" x 8' lengths of solid vinyl boards at $6 per board. I can't get a decent pine board at that price so I thought I would give it a try - besides it's water-proof for next time....;-)
I'll need to mill this down so the thickness matches the door and window casings and then route a colonial profile on the edge and should be good to go. But... I've never worked this stuff before and was wondering if it's hard on tools, any special precautions or other advice others may have that have milled this. I expect just standard woodworking practices should work well but thought I would ask.
Thanks,
Bob S.
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BobS wrote: ...

Yes, but...depending on the particular vinyl you found, it may not leave a good surface when you mill it. Many varieties are only completely solid on the surface and the interior is porous or honeycombed that when cut leaves a very rough surface at best.
If it is solid enough to mill, you'll probably find you'll need a good carbide or the mouldings will soon chew up a HSS bit. What litle I have used was supposed to be less abrasive than wood and actually recommended HSS, but my actual experience was that the HSS bits dulled very quickly and then cause scorch and melt marks.
It saws easily, but most has problems w/ mushrooming or similar around nailheads. The particular variety I used recommended against a finish nail, but for interior work I used one anyway to be able to set them although to get a really neat finish required pilot holes.
All in all, except for exterior house trim perhaps, I wasn't that thrilled and will probably continue to bite the bullet for real wood except for special purposes (such as where the water-resistance would really make a difference). Unfortunately, for a situation as you have described, by using the beadboard, saving the baseboard in the (hopefully never) next event will be very little consolation.
Wish my experience were better, you've had more than your share already...
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dpb,
Thanks for the excellent input and based on your real-world experience - it's going back in the am and I'll go get the poplar and mill it instead.
Thank you,
Bob S.
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