I thought that I would finally bit the bullet and make a whiteboard. I made a bunch of them in college for my fraternity, so that we could do our engineering homework. But all of those were frameless and 4' x 8'.
In my current house, I don't have that kind of free wall space, so I need it a bit smaller.
Not being one to waste materials. Out of one 4' x 8' sheet of melamine coated hardboard I can get three 32" x 48" whiteboards. So lets get to work.
Step 1: Gather Tools and Materials
What you'll need is the following materials:
qty description price
3___1"x4"x8' standard pine board_____~$1.54 each
1___4'x8' sheet of tileboard (melamine finished hardboard)____~$9.93
24___1.25" long course pocket screws
1___bottle of wood glue
picture hanging hardware
power miter saw
Sandpaper or an Random Orbit Sander
Pocket Screw jig
12" Quick Grip Clamp
2-5' pipe clamps
Step 2: Start the Cutting
First cut up the tileboard to size, you can either use a tablesaw, handsaw, or a circular saw. I ended up using a circular saw, since cutting it on the tablesaw would be unruly for me. Plus it was raining, so I needed to do it quick. Basically cut every 32 inches on the long side of the panel, so that you'll end up with three panels that are 32"x48".
Next is time to cut up the frame material. The first cut is to rough length, so crosscut the 8' board into a 3' piece and a 5' piece. The second cut is to rip the two pieces in half, so that you have all four pieces of the frame. Since the 1"x4" is really 3/4"x3 1/2", when you rip it in half it won't be 1 3/4" but more like 1 5/8, or maybe even smaller. It really depends on the kerf of the rip blade you are using, more then likely it will be 1/8". So make sure to adjust your measurements.
TIP: Cut all the pieces before resetting the fence.
Step 3: Grooves
This is where the table saw does the heavy lifting, in cutting the groove in the frame pieces. In setting up the table saw for this cut, it helps to have a 1/4" drill bit for setting the blade height and fence. You want the height of the blade to be just a little bit over 1/4", just to compensate for any waviness in cutting the tileboard to size. While for the fence, try to set the fence as close to a 1/4" from the right side of the blade to the fence. My thinking behind setting the fence a 1/4" is that I only want a small reveal on the front side, while trying to keep it as professional looking as possible.
The kerf on my rip blade is a 1/8" and the tileboard is 1/8" so it should be a nice and snug fit.
After cutting all the groves in the frame members. Sand them all down, and try to knock down all the corners slightly. Just to prevent splinters.
Step 4: Mark to Length
This is where you're not going to like me, in that I'm not going to give you lengths for the frame pieces. Because you can do the frame two different ways, you can have the short pieces inside the long ones(which is what I did), or the long pieces inside the short pieces. Also if there is one thing that I have learned doing trim work, that is don't measure, but mark the piece that needs to be trimmed instead. Because the numbers will always trick you.
So here is how I did it.
1) Take a pieces of sand paper and sand all the edges of the tileboard, because the fit is very tight. And the frame piece will bind if you don't sand the tileboard. The tileboard should have the writing surface up.
2)Slide the two short pieces on each end, fat side of the grove down.
3)Take one of the long pieces and trim the end square.
4)Slide the long piece onto the tileboard and square it up in one corner.
5)At the other end of the long piece, mark for length on the outside of the frame.
6)repeat for the other long piece.
7)Now take the two scrap pieces and slide one into the normal frame position. And slide the other scrap piece to butt against the overhanging short frame.
8) Now mark the short frame on the inside. Cut to length and repeat on the other short piece.
Step 5: Pocket Screws
Now with the short frame pieces only.
On the fat side of the groove, drill out two pocket screw slots on each end of the piece.
Step 6: Glue and Screw
This is when you are going to need the pipe clamps to hold this mess together. Flip the tileboard over and slide on the long side frame pieces, fat side up. Take one of the short frame and apply glue on each end, and slide it on, fat side up. Then square up the corner, and put a pipe clamp on that end. Repeat on the other end. You may need to use a rubber mallet to make sure everything is even. When you are happy, drive home the pocket screws. Leave the whole thing in the clamps for at least an hour to drive.
Step 7: Hanging Hardware
I already had some hardware from a previous project. The brackets have spikes built in, but I added three 1/2" brads into each bracket just in case. For the wire I used 25lb steel picture wire. Now we can hang up this beauty.
Step 8: Enjoy
Now get to writing!