The Desert Homestead Blog
Urban and rural sustainable homesteading in the desert southwest

Ranch Update: Cedar Ceiling and Recessed Lights

One of  my neighbors at The Ranch has access to a very cheap source for tongue and groove cedar. As a result, many of us are using it in our various building projects. In my case, I’m using it for the ceiling above my porch, within the house, and for the ceiling, walls and floor of my walk-in closet.

This past weekend, another neighbor who had experience using the stuff helped me put up the porch ceiling. My new chop saw (a Rigid 12″ miter saw) turned out to be a crucial component.  The key to making tongue and groove look nice and professional is to cut the cedar at a 45-degree bevel so that each piece overlaps at the tip where they come together. I didn’t take a picture, but here’s a quick drawing (you’re looking at it from a birds-eye view if you set the slat up on edge. The cut goes from the back of the slat to the front of the slat):

Bird's eye view of slat on edge

Anyway, my neighbor hadn’t known about this technique when he did his place, and the difference between his results and mine are amazing … the overlap makes the joins look very minor in comparison to the rather large gaps he has in his.

Anyway, my porch also has overhead recessed lights which we needed to wire up before putting up the ceiling. Fortunately they came with these little plugs that made it very easy. Just strip the wires and pop them into the plugs:

Wiring the porch lights

Here’s the end results of our work. Isn’t it gorgeous?

My beautiful porch! Yes, the lights are deliberately off-center. The front of the porch will have archways that will enclose the front a little more. When it's done, the lights will look centered.

While extremely tedious and time-consuming, it’s not difficult to do. I need to get a little more in order to finish the front edge of the overhang (you can see a tiny part of it in the extreme upper right of the photo above). I won’t be doing the ceiling inside the house for a while, but that will make a good winter project.

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