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post #1 of 24 Old 11-04-2019, 01:07 PM - Thread Starter
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Newbie Spandex Screen Build - Advice Appreciated

I'm building a barebones (on the cheap) HT in my unfinished basement. I've been doing as much research as I can on this site (so much to learn!!) and after reading many posts by Mississippi Man (he is the Man!) I've decided on building a spandex screen and any advice would be very much appreciated.


I have some questions but first I'll give a few details:
Anticipated screen size: 120"W X 67.5"H = 138" diagonal, 16:9 ratio

Anticipated projector: Epson 5050UB


1. The width of spandex (at Spandexworld) is listed at 58"/60". That should be wide enough to stretch over my 67" frame, correct?
2. If anyone has a diagram for the frame construction of a previous 138" screen build that would be invaluable.
3. (see pic) The screen will be positioned in front of the two cement columns at the back so there'll be room to put some speakers. The space between the 2 columns is about 120", same as screen. Any suggestions on how to secure frame to ceiling/joists and/or floor?
4. If I used the screen calculator correctly the Fl should be 32.23 which is good for low ambient light. I'm expecting the space to be light controlled so am I correct in assuming the Fl is fine?
5. If I used the screen calculator correctly the seating/couch should be 14' from screen and the PJ should be 18'5". Is that right?
6. I have 99" clearance from the floor to the ductwork. How high off the floor should the screen be if I were to use a couch for seating? If I were to buy some HT reclining chairs, how high off the floor would the screen need to be so the chair or my feet (size 11) :-) don't block the screen when reclined?


Thanks in advance for any help!
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post #2 of 24 Old 11-04-2019, 02:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zzmac View Post
I'm building a barebones (on the cheap) HT in my unfinished basement. I've been doing as much research as I can on this site (so much to learn!!) and after reading many posts by Mississippi Man (he is the Man!) I've decided on building a spandex screen and any advice would be very much appreciated.
With a lead in like that, how could I ignore this Thread?

Quote:
I have some questions but first I'll give a few details:
Anticipated screen size: 120"W X 67.5"H = 138" diagonal, 16:9 ratio

Anticipated projector: Epson 5050UB
A most excellent choice for a largish Spandex Screen.

Quote:
1. The width of spandex (at Spandexworld) is listed at 58"/60". That should be wide enough to stretch over my 67" frame, correct?
Just barely....and you will have to do the stretching according to very specific instructions to avoid overstretching

Quote:
2. If anyone has a diagram for the frame construction of a previous 138" screen build that would be invaluable.
Your joshin'....right?




[quote]3. (see pic) The screen will be positioned in front of the two cement columns at the back so there'll be room to put some speakers. The space between the 2 columns is about 120", same as screen. Any suggestions on how to secure frame to ceiling/joists and/or floor?[QUOTE]

The standard practice is to construct a "H" frame...although you might be able to suspend the Frame directly off/between the two Columns

Quote:
4. If I used the screen calculator correctly the Fl should be 32.23 which is good for low ambient light. I'm expecting the space to be light controlled so am I correct in assuming the Fl is fine?
You probably did not.....a Spandex Screen is 0.7 gain and at 120" x 68" (138" diag)....even at 13'-.7" Throw the best you'd muster is 31 fl. which is still not bad. But if you used the Center point (18'-4") that would amount to being just 25 fl ....which again isn't terrible for a light controlled room. Anywho...Screen Calculators all vary in their preciseness...but your in the ball park.

Quote:
5. If I used the screen calculator correctly the seating/couch should be 14' from screen and the PJ should be 18'5". Is that right?
See...I told ya so! If I was setting things up,my "eyeballs" would be at 11' in the seating, and the PJ at 13'-10"

Quote:
6. I have 99" clearance from the floor to the ductwork. How high off the floor should the screen be if I were to use a couch for seating? If I were to buy some HT reclining chairs, how high off the floor would the screen need to be so the chair or my feet (size 11) :-) don't block the screen when reclined?

Thanks in advance for any help!
Using either type seating, place the bottom of the Screen at no less than 22" off the Floor. 24" even better. If you can paint that ductwork Black...or wrap it with Black Velvet out 4' from the Column, then you can go to 26" height off the Floor.....
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Last edited by MississippiMan; 11-09-2019 at 03:51 PM.
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post #3 of 24 Old 11-04-2019, 02:23 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the awesome (and quick!!) answers Mississippi (you da) Man! :-)



Quote:
1. The width of spandex (at Spandexworld) is listed at 58"/60". That should be wide enough to stretch over my 67" frame, correct?

Just barely....and you will have to do the stretching according to very specific instructions to avoid overstretching
Would you suggest I go with a touch smaller screen to avoid problems stretching the spandex over the frame? If so, what size?


[quote]3. (see pic) The screen will be positioned in front of the two cement columns at the back so there'll be room to put some speakers. The space between the 2 columns is about 120", same as screen. Any suggestions on how to secure frame to ceiling/joists and/or floor?[QUOTE]

The standard practice is to construct a "H" frame...although you might be able to suspend the Frame directly off/between the two Columns
Do you have any examples/pics to illustrate how these two approaches might work? (I'm a carpentry newbie now too) :-)


Quote:
6. I have 99" clearance from the floor to the ductwork. How high off the floor should the screen be if I were to use a couch for seating? If I were to buy some HT reclining chairs, how high off the floor would the screen need to be so the chair or my feet (size 11) :-) don't block the screen when reclined?

Thanks in advance for any help!


Using either type seating, place the bottom of the Screen at no less than 22" off the Floor. 24" even better. If you can paint that ductwork Black...or wrap it with Black Velvet out 4' from the Column, then you can go to 26" height off the Floor.....


I'm going to spay that back wall and the entire ceiling in a flat black, so 26" from the floor it is.


Thanks again MM!
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post #4 of 24 Old 11-04-2019, 07:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zzmac View Post
Thanks for the awesome (and quick!!) answers Mississippi (you da) Man! :-)




Quote:
1. The width of spandex (at Spandexworld) is listed at 58"/60". That should be wide enough to stretch over my 67" frame, correct?

Just barely....and you will have to do the stretching according to very specific instructions to avoid overstretching
Would you suggest I go with a touch smaller screen to avoid problems stretching the spandex over the frame? If so, what size?
Oh no! I like the direction your heading. We got this, because I'm going to tell you exactly how to stretch it without any problem. If anything, we'll add the slight amount needed to come within 3/8" of the inside edge of each Column. I don't know exactly how wide that opening is, nor if it measures the same across the Top & Bottom, so everything is in flux, but I'm gonna "estimate Big" and use every bit of 120" and we can adjust downward if needed.



[quote]3. (see pic) The screen will be positioned in front of the two cement columns at the back so there'll be room to put some speakers. The space between the 2 columns is about 120", same as screen. Any suggestions on how to secure frame to ceiling/joists and/or floor?[QUOTE]

The standard practice is to construct a "H" frame...although you might be able to suspend the Frame directly off/between the two Columns
Do you have any examples/pics to illustrate how these two approaches might work? (I'm a carpentry newbie now too) :-)
Something wicked this way comes.




26"





Quote:
6. I have 99" clearance from the floor to the ductwork. How high off the floor should the screen be if I were to use a couch for seating? If I were to buy some HT reclining chairs, how high off the floor would the screen need to be so the chair or my feet (size 11) :-) don't block the screen when reclined?

Using either type seating, place the bottom of the Screen at no less than 22" off the Floor. 24" even better. If you can paint that ductwork Black...or wrap it with Black Velvet out 4' from the Column, then you can go to 26" height off the Floor.....



Quote:
I'm going to spray that back wall and the entire ceiling in a flat black, so 26" from the floor it is.

Let's make the best possible choice. 1st step is I need to know the available depth out from the rear "Nitch" to the face of the Columns
Also, has any choice of Speakers been made? Related to that, the 2nd step is choosing the type of Black Paint...or Cloth for the rear area behind the Screen.


As my impromptu diagram shows I'm thinking along the lines of a suspended screen that looks to have no attachment Top & Bottom. You might have already 85% built-in toward the ability to have what many must construct...an Acoustic Screen Wall

Quote:
Thanks again MM!


Sawright!
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post #5 of 24 Old 11-05-2019, 07:29 AM - Thread Starter
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[QUOTE=MississippiMan;58776800]



Would you suggest I go with a touch smaller screen to avoid problems stretching the spandex over the frame? If so, what size?
Oh no! I like the direction your heading. We got this, because I'm going to tell you exactly how to stretch it without any problem. If anything, we'll add the slight amount needed to come within 3/8" of the inside edge of each Column. I don't know exactly how wide that opening is, nor if it measures the same across the Top & Bottom, so everything is in flux, but I'm gonna "estimate Big" and use every bit of 120" and we can adjust downward if needed.

I just remeasured the opening of that back AT space. I measured it previously at 122" using an electronic measuring gadget. This time I used a real measuring tape and it was between 117.5" at the floor and 118" just under the insulation/plastic.




[quote]3. (see pic) The screen will be positioned in front of the two cement columns at the back so there'll be room to put some speakers. The space between the 2 columns is about 120", same as screen. Any suggestions on how to secure frame to ceiling/joists and/or floor?[QUOTE]

The standard practice is to construct a "H" frame...although you might be able to suspend the Frame directly off/between the two Columns
Do you have any examples/pics to illustrate how these two approaches might work? (I'm a carpentry newbie now too) :-)
Something wicked this way comes.




26"







Using either type seating, place the bottom of the Screen at no less than 22" off the Floor. 24" even better. If you can paint that ductwork Black...or wrap it with Black Velvet out 4' from the Column, then you can go to 26" height off the Floor.....



Let's make the best possible choice. 1st step is I need to know the available depth out from the rear "Nitch" to the face of the Columns
Also, has any choice of Speakers been made? Related to that, the 2nd step is choosing the type of Black Paint...or Cloth for the rear area behind the Screen.


The depth of the niche is 17". The paint I was going to use was just a flat black from Benjamin Moore (same as ceiling). If you look at my pic of the basement on the right hand side you can see the dark gray blanket(s) that I intend to use to cover both side walls. My intention was to also cover the front of the two columns with the same but I'm still a little undecided behind the screen itself. I plan on painting the floor with a black cement paint. I could also use that on any exposed cement behind the screen. And I was just going to spray the plastic up to the ceiling with the flat black.



As my impromptu diagram shows I'm thinking along the lines of a suspended screen that looks to have no attachment Top & Bottom. You might have already 85% built-in toward the ability to have what many must construct...an Acoustic Screen Wall


I really like your idea of the suspended screen which I think would look very cool. :-) If I understand your drawings correctly I would screw 4 boards onto the front of the cement columns and they would jut out behind the screen. And I would then attach one half of the french cleats to those. Then I would just attach the screen with the other half of the french cleats to that. If I have that all correct the blankets would cover the column and boards nicely. My only concerns with that is that hopefully the two columns are close to flush so the screen wouldn't be crooked and I'd have to be very precise with the column side cleats so that the screen is level. But I guess that's where a little McGuyvering would come into play. :-)

I have an SVS subwoofer in my living room that I'm going to put down there. But because the niche is only 17" deep I'll probably have to put that in the niche on the left side of pic. And I have an old (but barely used) Cerwin Vega center speaker that would go behind the screen and I plan to purchase two tower speakers of some kind that will go behind the screen as well.


Thanks!!
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post #6 of 24 Old 11-05-2019, 10:24 AM
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If the assembly is made correctly, the Screen's front edge should be flush with the Columns' forward edges at each side. The Screen Frame should be wide enough that there is just 1/8" to no more than 1/4" spacing between the Frame and the sides of the Columns. If everything is painted Black (Wood Cleats) it should be impossible for anyone to see anything but what appears to be the Screen suspended in Mid-Air between the Columns.

Unless they get up to within a Nose's distance and then yeah....they might say, "I can see something back there..."

If they do,tell them to leave and never return, and go back to enjoying the fruits of your labor.



Now for my own take on the Right & Left Mains.....

I would place them outside the Screen so that you can have as wide a Front Sound Stage as possible. Visual Cosmetics aside, collapsing them in toward the center will reduce the scope of your aural imaging and lessen the impact when sounds travel from right to left across the Center. You don't have a lot of space.....but that shouldn't keep you from thinking your sounscape isn't spacious, so I'd place the Sub directly centered under the Screen, and spread the Right & Left speakers to the outside...with the Right set as deep into it's shallower corner and angled slightly inward, and the Left in the same manner and distance from Screen Center. Do that and the sound effects will be much more epic than it can or would be if the speakers are 3'-4' closer to each other and must be directed straight forward out of necessity.

In truth, it's only the Center Channel you should be concerned with...being able to center it side to side and top to bottom within the screen's area. Or as close to that as you possibly can. But of course all the above flies in the face of current popularity trends, where hiding everything behind the Screen seems the absolute status quo.

Well those of us who are old enough to know better.....well, we know better. Unless you simply just don't have the space needed to optimize speaker placement, consigning speakers to a "homogenized" existence solely to be able to cram them all behind a 120" wide area is almost criminal. Yet it is done...all the time. And recently, all because of Acoustic Transparent Screens.

Ces't la vie.

At least some do build out entire AT Walls....but they usually do have more than 120" width to work with.


Digest a bit, and I'll come back later with a suggestion on Wall covers and fill-in behind the Screen.

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post #7 of 24 Old 11-05-2019, 04:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MississippiMan View Post
If the assembly is made correctly, the Screen's front edge should be flush with the Columns' forward edges at each side. The Screen Frame should be wide enough that there is just 1/8" to no more than 1/4" spacing between the Frame and the sides of the Columns. If everything is painted Black (Wood Cleats) it should be impossible for anyone to see anything but what appears to be the Screen suspended in Mid-Air between the Columns.

Unless they get up to within a Nose's distance and then yeah....they might say, "I can see something back there..."

If they do,tell them to leave and never return, and go back to enjoying the fruits of your labor.



Now for my own take on the Right & Left Mains.....

I would place them outside the Screen so that you can have as wide a Front Sound Stage as possible. Visual Cosmetics aside, collapsing them in toward the center will reduce the scope of your aural imaging and lessen the impact when sounds travel from right to left across the Center. You don't have a lot of space.....but that shouldn't keep you from thinking your sounscape isn't spacious, so I'd place the Sub directly centered under the Screen, and spread the Right & Left speakers to the outside...with the Right set as deep into it's shallower corner and angled slightly inward, and the Left in the same manner and distance from Screen Center. Do that and the sound effects will be much more epic than it can or would be if the speakers are 3'-4' closer to each other and must be directed straight forward out of necessity.

In truth, it's only the Center Channel you should be concerned with...being able to center it side to side and top to bottom within the screen's area. Or as close to that as you possibly can. But of course all the above flies in the face of current popularity trends, where hiding everything behind the Screen seems the absolute status quo.

Well those of us who are old enough to know better.....well, we know better. Unless you simply just don't have the space needed to optimize speaker placement, consigning speakers to a "homogenized" existence solely to be able to cram them all behind a 120" wide area is almost criminal. Yet it is done...all the time. And recently, all because of Acoustic Transparent Screens.

Ces't la vie.

At least some do build out entire AT Walls....but they usually do have more than 120" width to work with.


Digest a bit, and I'll come back later with a suggestion on Wall covers and fill-in behind the Screen.

The AT wall is 117"-118" wide, so the screen should actually be a couple inches bigger than the opening. This should still be fine I presume and the screen will then be just slightly in front of the opening and it should hide everything right behind it, which would actually be better mai oui?


With respect to speaker placement I'll be following your sage advice. I'll need to build some kind of shelf over the sub where I can place the center speaker. With regards to speakers, I have 2 more speakers on adjustable floor stands which I was going to place at ear level on either side of the couch (let me guess - wrong place?) lol and I was also going to buy 2 or 4 atmos speakers depending on whether I end up with a 7.1 receiver or if I can find a deal on a 9.2. With an open ceiling would atmos speakers not work or they'd be ok. You probably don't come across that question very often. lol
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post #8 of 24 Old 11-06-2019, 05:40 PM - Thread Starter
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Spandex has been ordered.
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post #9 of 24 Old 11-07-2019, 03:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zzmac View Post
The AT wall is 117"-118" wide, so the screen should actually be a couple inches bigger than the opening. This should still be fine I presume and the screen will then be just slightly in front of the opening and it should hide everything right behind it, which would actually be better mai oui?

You have that right...and the diagrammed solution can easily be adapted by simply moving the Wall Cleats forward to where they are flush with the outside columns

Quote:
With respect to speaker placement I'll be following your sage advice. I'll need to build some kind of shelf over the sub where I can place the center speaker. With regards to speakers, I have 2 more speakers on adjustable floor stands which I was going to place at ear level on either side of the couch (let me guess - wrong place?) lol

Nope...you have that right also.



Quote:
....and I was also going to buy 2 or 4 atmos speakers depending on whether I end up with a 7.1 receiver or if I can find a deal on a 9.2. With an open ceiling would atmos speakers not work or they'd be ok. You probably don't come across that question very often. lol

Actually, in budget-oriented basement conversions it comes up frequently. It can be difficult to make the right choice however, and if not, correct placement can be affected. You must in the least choose wisely.


Quote:
Originally Posted by zzmac View Post
Spandex has been ordered.

Ok.....simply expand the screen's frame accordingly but build it along the same design parameters. I'm here to assist if beckoned.

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post #10 of 24 Old 11-07-2019, 06:41 AM - Thread Starter
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[QUOTE=MississippiMan;58786918]
Quote:
....and I was also going to buy 2 or 4 atmos speakers depending on whether I end up with a 7.1 receiver or if I can find a deal on a 9.2. With an open ceiling would atmos speakers not work or they'd be ok. You probably don't come across that question very often. lol


Actually, in budget-oriented basement conversions it comes up frequently. It can be difficult to make the right choice however, and if not, correct placement can be affected. You must in the least choose wisely.


Knowing I have an open ceiling now but maybe in 2-3 years I'll begin to finish the basement would you suggest going with some atmos speakers (with the future in mind) or just go with normal ceiling speakers now and worry about atmos speakers later?


Quote:
Originally Posted by zzmac
Spandex has been ordered.


Ok.....simply expand the screen's frame accordingly but build it along the same design parameters. I'm here to assist if beckoned.



I'm a little confused why you said to expand the screen frame accordingly as the size isn't changing. The AT space behind the screen is not quite as wide as I originally thought. (Maybe that's the mixup?) :-)


I'm very curious to hear your suggestions on wall covers and fill-in behind the Screen.


Thanks once again Mississippi Man for your help. It's very much appreciated. I find it incredible when I run across people on the internet from time to time who are so generous to everyone with their time and knowledge. You deserve a medal as well as a lot of praise!!

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I am curious what color of spandex you have ordered? Was it white and grey in concideration before you ordered? Thank you.
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post #12 of 24 Old 11-07-2019, 10:07 AM
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@zzmac



I'll revise and repost a bit later.


And...............wow.


No one has ever given me a Medal before.


Beer...Wine...A Restaurant Gift Card....yeah. But those get consumed and passed.


A Medal............I'll wear that proudly.


Thank you.

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post #13 of 24 Old 11-07-2019, 12:15 PM - Thread Starter
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I bought the black and the white spandex,
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post #14 of 24 Old 11-09-2019, 10:13 AM - Thread Starter
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....and I was also going to buy 2 or 4 atmos speakers depending on whether I end up with a 7.1 receiver or if I can find a deal on a 9.2. With an open ceiling would atmos speakers not work or they'd be ok. You probably don't come across that question very often. lol


Actually, in budget-oriented basement conversions it comes up frequently. It can be difficult to make the right choice however, and if not, correct placement can be affected. You must in the least choose wisely.


Knowing I have an open ceiling now but maybe in 2-3 years I'll begin to finish the basement would you suggest going with some atmos speakers (with the future in mind) or just go with normal ceiling speakers now and worry about atmos speakers later?


Quote:
Originally Posted by zzmac
Spandex has been ordered.


Ok.....simply expand the screen's frame accordingly but build it along the same design parameters. I'm here to assist if beckoned.



I'm a little confused why you said to expand the screen frame accordingly as the size isn't changing. The AT space behind the screen is not quite as wide as I originally thought. (Maybe that's the mixup?) :-)


I'm very curious to hear your suggestions on wall covers and fill-in behind the Screen.




Back to the frame - Should I add quarter round around the whole perimeter of the frame? And if so, with that added to the frame will I still be able to stretch the 60" material over the 67" & quarter round frame? Thanks again!!!




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Mississippi Man?
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post #16 of 24 Old 11-11-2019, 08:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zzmac View Post
Mississippi Man?

Yes?


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post #17 of 24 Old 11-11-2019, 08:40 AM
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....and I was also going to buy 2 or 4 atmos speakers depending on whether I end up with a 7.1 receiver or if I can find a deal on a 9.2. With an open ceiling would atmos speakers not work or they'd be ok. You probably don't come across that question very often. lol

Knowing I have an open ceiling now but maybe in 2-3 years I'll begin to finish the basement would you suggest going with some atmos speakers (with the future in mind) or just go with normal ceiling speakers now and worry about atmos speakers later?

If you choose the right Speakers, going with Atmos now can only be to your advantage. Speakers with "Enclosures" that feature Position-able Woofers / Tweeters would be best. Your in the UK/CAN? The best choices might not be immediately accessible to you direct, but there are ways to get 'em to you.

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Spandex has been ordered.

Ok.....simply expand the screen's frame accordingly but build it along the same design parameters. I'm here to assist if beckoned.

I'm a little confused why you said to expand the screen frame accordingly as the size isn't changing. The AT space behind the screen is not quite as wide as I originally thought. (Maybe that's the mixup?) :-) [/QUOTE]

Yes it was....but it doesn't present any issues. The Frame can be set Flush to each side, or slightly overlap. Probably easier to overlap about 1" on each side.

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I'm very curious to hear your suggestions on wall covers and fill-in behind the Screen.


Simple inexpensive Black Blackout Curtains hung on non-pull Travis Rods can cover a layer of Sound absorptive Insulation

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Back to the frame - Should I add quarter round around the whole perimeter of the frame? And if so, with that added to the frame will I still be able to stretch the 60" material over the 67" & quarter round frame? Thanks again!!!
When a Frame is built "On Edge" no Quarter Round is needed

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post #18 of 24 Old 11-11-2019, 09:21 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks Mississippi Man!!!!
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post #19 of 24 Old 11-14-2019, 05:16 AM - Thread Starter
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Quick noob question: what size and length screws do you recommend for the frame itself?
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post #20 of 24 Old 11-14-2019, 12:00 PM
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Quick noob question: what size and length screws do you recommend for the frame itself?
The recommended way of assembling the frame is to use a Kreg jig to make pocket hole joints (just google it). Using that method, the size of screw is determined by the thickness of the wood. You can buy the jigs anywhere (Lowes, HD, Amazon, local hardware store). But the screws are specific for the jig, so be sure to buy the right screws (i.e. the Kreg screws needed for your thickness of wood).

There are several different Kreg jigs you can buy. There is one that is only about $15 that would work, but is a little harder to use because you have to manually clamp it on the piece of wood you're drilling into. The one I got was about $100.
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post #21 of 24 Old 11-14-2019, 01:56 PM - Thread Starter
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I already have the pocket one but I haven't used it for a few years. The wood is 1X3 poplar but I'm just vnot sure of the correct length to buy.
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post #22 of 24 Old 11-14-2019, 04:51 PM
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i already have the pocket one but i haven't used it for a few years. The wood is 1x3 poplar but i'm just vnot sure of the correct length to buy.

1.25" #8

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post #23 of 24 Old 11-15-2019, 07:04 AM - Thread Starter
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1.25" #8

Thanks for that Mississippi Man. Before I read your post it dawned on me that Kreg has a screw calculator.
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post #24 of 24 Old 11-15-2019, 02:54 PM
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Thanks for that Mississippi Man. Before I read your post it dawned on me that Kreg has a screw calculator.

Well your all set then! Just be sure to set the depth of the Kreg Drill Bit's depth collar for the appropriate screw length. If you drill the Pocket Hole and you can see any vestige of the drill's tip breaking through, set the collar at a slightly shallower depth.

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