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Discussion Starter #1
Based on the excellent advise in this forum, I just finished a constructing a white vinyl panel screen with integrated French cleat. Overall, the project went swimmingly and I ended up with a high-quality 98” screen with about ½ day effort (not done yet).


This thread describes my experience, complete with photos, hints and tips. Much of the information can be found elsewhere, across several threads, but I thought it might be useful to provide the information in one place. I’ve intentionally written the thread for an audience with very little construction experience.


Others with more experience may have alternative approaches, so of course please chime it. I’ll incorporate your advice and create

All told this process took me about 6 hours, although I could do it in less than four if I did it again. Hopefully this guide will save others time and headaches.


Many, many thanks to all who spent their time providing the information and tips that I followed through this process. I took the time to write this up as a way of giving back to the cause. I hope that this helps others and provides Mississippi Man some much deserved finger tapping relief
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Items Required (or handy) for the Project

The following list provides miscellaneous tools that are not necessarily project-specific that I found useful for screen assembly:


Clamps: The need to at least 2.5 inches deep. I had 10, but wished I had more.

e.g., I used the following: http://www.harborfreight.com/12-inch-bar-clamp-96214.html


Drill with misc. bits, remember to charge it, you’ll need as much juice as you can get.

4 ea. 2.5” grabber screws (for gluing backing)


4 ea. 1.5” grabber screws (for gluing backing)


Wood Glue

Permanent Marker and/or Marking Pencil


Speed Square (carpentry triangle)


Table saw, or other arrangements for ripping French cleat


Miter Saw, or other arrangements for cutting poplar backing and front frame.

This saw is ideal for cutting the 45 degree angles for the backing and frame, but other types of saws could work as well, with some extra measuring.


Saw horses (with several 2X4s for extra support) to allow space for clamps and avoid back pain when gluing screen to the backing


Rags and small bucket of water, for easy clean-up of excess wood glue that gets squished out during the gluing process


Beer


Other, project-specific items can be found in the “Home Depot” shopping list below.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Key Measurements


Screen: Cut the hardboard to 85” in length


Poplar backing: For a 2” border beyond the screen for frame backing you want 2 pieces at 52” in length (width plus 2” each side) and 2 pieces at 89” (length plus 2” each side)


Frame: To keep the exact dimensions, you need to accommodate a 3.25” border around the edges. To make subsequent miter cuts easier, you need to measure outside (longer) edges. Hence you need 2-pieces each of border material at 54.5” and 91.5”.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Home Depot Shopping Trip


On your way back to the wood grab a box of fairly small (100 count) ¾” screws for mounting the screen to the backing. Also, pick up whatever screws you want to use for mounting the French Cleat to the wall (assuming that you don’t have something on hand already) and any misc. items for the list above.


Gather the following materials and head for the saws:


2 ea. 1”X6”, Poplar boards of XX length (for backing)

2 ea. 1”X6”, Poplar boards of XX length (for backing)

1 ea. 1” X 6” Poplar Board of ~4’ in length for the French cleat that attaches to the wall

(Check to ensure that these are as straight as possible.)


2 ea. 3 ¼” wide, primed, composite baseboard of XX length for frame

2 ea. 3 ¼” wide, primed, composite baseboard of XX length for frame


¼” thick, white vinyl panel, cut to XX” (see below for the exact product used for this project)

(Inspect closely for damage and warping.)



Next, simply walk to the back of the store and ask the king folks at Home Depot to make the cuts to the specified dimensions, which may help with transport and will save you time later in the process.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Cutting the Frames (outside and backing)


My next step was to make all of the other cuts for the project (i.e., those that I couldn’t get done at Home Depot).

First, I cut the 45 degree angles for both the backing and the frame. If you have a miter saw, this is about a 15 minute job, especially considering that Home Depot has already cut the pieces for the outside lengths.


There are many online resources explaining how this should be done, for instance:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9ESrgOKAmo


If you do not own a miter saw, you could rent or borrow one or you could use just about any saw, you’ll just have to spend more time measuring, for instance:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tEk2w7yLtH4
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Cutting the French Cleat


Cutting the French Cleat is best done with a Table Saw. The idea, in this case, is to rip the top Poplar board and the extra wall piece at the same angle (typically 45 degrees, both others should work too).


Tip#1: When making these cuts, it is pretty important that you cut them straight. If you don’t have much experience working with a table saw, do look for online tips and do practice with cheaper wood before starting in on you expensive Poplar. I have quite a bit of experience and still messed up my first attempt, which turned one of my 6# wide boards into a 4” wide board.


Tip #2: Poplar is pretty hard and these are fairly long cuts, so this is definitely a situation where having extra hands is useful. For instance, my wife and friends helped by receiving the boards, keeping them level with the saw and by using a piece of scrap wood to help make sure the board remained flush against the guide as the boards were fed through the table saw.


I found the following guide to be helpful with regard to making the cuts:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zP6mP_bApGY


Tip #3: Consider cutting spacers to help with the mounting process (see screen assembly below).
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Preparing the Backing for Mounting


You’ll want to reinforce the wood glue with some screws, which will also help keep the backing flush against the vinyl panel while the glue sets. However, you don’t want to damage the front of the screen, so it is best to pre-drill numerous holes, staggering them from the inside to the outside edge (remember that you’ll have 2” “poking out” from underneath the screen) of the Poplar material.

Tip: Pencil in a line to indicate where the screen material ends. I didn’t do this and ended up wishing that I had. Sort of a “duh” revelation, but in my defense it was 95 degrees (in the shade) and I really needed a beer.


Next, you’ll need to counter sink the each hole from the back of the screen. This is necessary because the ¾” screws will barely go through the Poplar, so there is not purchase without a little extra length provided by the counter sink holes. Also, it just creates a cleaner look.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Assemble the Backing Frame

My next step was to assemble the frame that will serve as the backing for the vinyl panel.


First, lay the entire frame out so that all of the pieces are near each other. Depending on where you’re doing this, a ground cloth or tarp underneath the work area will save on clean-up later.

Working one corner at a time, use you speed square to check that the frame is square then pre-drill 2-3 holes from the side of the frame through both pieces that abut to make the corner. These will help “clamp” the corners together once the wood glue is applied.


Once all of the corners have been predrilled, prepare for gluing them together by assembling materials and doing the following steps:


1) Get a bucket of water and rag for “run away” glue

2) Get a drill with screwhttp:// www.avsforum.com/t/1418515/building-a-vinyl-panel-screen-musings-and-observations#driver bit

3) Place 2-3 screws of appropriate size next to each corner

4) Get a piece of cardboard for a palette and something to apply the wood glue


Working one corner at a time, apply a generous amount of glue to the edges of both pieces, them clamp them together by screwing into them from the sides.

Tip: It is handy to have an extra set of hands here so that someone can hold the pieces together, flushly, while they are being screwed together.

Finally, crack a cold one and get the materials together for attaching the backing while you wait for the glue to dry.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Attaching the Panel to the Backing Frame


Others likely approach this differently, but I used saw horses to keep the frame elevated to a comfortable height and to provide sufficient space on top of and on the bottom of the frame to accommodate the clamps. I also used a few 2X4s that I had on hand to provide additional space between the saw horses. Once all of this was assembled, I covered the saw horse and 2X4s with an old sheet to protect the front of the screen.


Place the screen, face side down on top of the protected work surface.


Ensure that the screen is centered within the frame. In my case, I cut some “spacers” with scrap wood while I had the table saw out to make this easier. Once the screen was in the right place, I traced the inside edge of the screen with a permanent marker to make it easier to get back in place during the gluing process.


Next, I glued the screen to the backing frame. Here is another area where I would have done things a little differently and actually changed course a couple of times during the process as I “learned while doing”.

Tip: Remember that you are adding glue to a pretty large area and will be working against the clock to get the screen properly clamped to the frame before the glue sets. To make this happen as smoothly as possible, this is another area where an extra set of hands are useful. Also, spend the time to put all of the materials where they will actually be needed. For instance, prepare the clamps so that they are correct size to slide into place and secure with a couple of “quick twists”, then place them around the screen (but set one clamp aside for the screwing process, see below).


Next, lift the frame off the screen and have one person apply wood glue to the inside of the frame while the other person applies it to the back of the vinyl panel. Do this as quickly as possible and keep a water bucket and rags handy for the inevitable spills.


Lift the frame and place it onto the screen using the trace as your guide. Clamp the screen in place and check for drippings underneath the screen to avoid the potential of damaging the screen surface.

Tip: Pre-cut some cardboard pieces to place between the clamp and screen surface. I thought of doing this, didn’t, and ended up wishing that I had.

Working around the frame, hand tighten (avoids damaging the screen surface with screw pimples) the screws through the pre-drill holes. As I did this, I found it handy to add a clamp to the immediate vicinity first, which helped ensure that the screw brought the panel toward the frame as opposed to pushing it away.


Finally walk around the screen checking to see if the screen is flush with the frame, adjusting clamps as needed to bring the pieces together


Now the screen is assembled and ready for painting, store is someplace safe (I covered mine with the same protective sheet because I’m not going to get back to it for a couple of days). In my case,

I plan to use the French cleat system as a convenient temporary mount to hold the screen in place against the masked outside wall of my garage for painting purposes.


(More later as I complete the final steps of my project)
 

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Nice guide so far. I like the idea of using the french cleat. I hadn't thought of that and was going to screw the entire frame directly into the wall, but this way I think I can avoid that and ultimately get an equal result.


Besides cost, what are the tradeoffs of using this board for the screen versus Sintra? I'm curious, because I plan to build mine this week. I'm using a pocket jig to assemble the frame and was going to glue (for support) and screw in around the edges a Sintra board, but if this works just as well, I can probably save a good amount of money (a 5x10 Sintra board is $125 locally).





Also a suggestion. Try uploading the pictures to a host such as imgur. It's not fun downloading each image individually to see what you are doing
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1have2much3time  /t/1418515/building-a-vinyl-panel-screen-musings-and-observations#post_22187561


Nice guide so far. I like the idea of using the french cleat. I hadn't thought of that and was going to screw the entire frame directly into the wall, but this way I think I can avoid that and ultimately get an equal result.

Besides cost, what are the tradeoffs of using this board for the screen versus Sintra? I'm curious, because I plan to build mine this week. I'm using a pocket jig to assemble the frame and was going to glue (for support) and screw in around the edges a Sintra board, but if this works just as well, I can probably save a good amount of money (a 5x10 Sintra board is $125 locally).

Also a suggestion. Try uploading the pictures to a host such as imgur. It's not fun downloading each image individually to see what you are doing
I


If your needing a 100" diagonal or less size screen, Thrifty White Hardboard is a real inexpensive substrate ($12.00 @ 4' x 8') As for Sintra, that's not a bad price if it's a 6mm thick sheet. Try pricing 3mm and you'd see about a 40% drop in price.. But it would need a backing to hold the thinner material flat.


StreamLover makes mention of "Vinyl" as well as "Hardboard", and with no direct mention or link to exactly what lies Glued on top of the Hardboard / Frame, it's a bit confusing. One thing I noted, he said the material is 1/4" thick. That's "real" thick for anything "Vinyl" so I'm wondering if he meant 1/8", and if not, I too would like specifics as to exactly what that stuff is, where he got it, and how much it cost per sizes available.


Always...ALWAYS keeping an eye out for affordable "BIG" smooth substrates.


As for his attachments, AVS also now has / allows direct image publication. Just cursor over onto the "Picture" icon beside the Film Strip icon at the top of the Reply worksheet.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Okay, so this is embarrassing, but I think I purchased a substrate that might be different than I thought



It does look like it will work though...

http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1v/R-202088783/h_d2/ProductDisplay?catalogId=10053&langId=-1&keyword=vinyl+panel&storeId=10051


Once confirmed, I'll change my description.


Also, how does one embed images within the message? Maybe I should just keep lurking



Speaking of which, when I grabbed my vinyl panel and asked for the cut, the Home Depot employee actually asked if I was making a screen. I think you all are contacting a MUCH broader audience than the number of post would suggest. I'll go back to my continuous message that folks on this forum, particularly M Man, are incredibly generous with their time and contribute much to the home theater community.


I'm in trouble with the family now and have to split...
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I figured out the pictures...then realized that MM told answered this already...but I'm not about to apologize, less I risk a MM "snap"
 
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