Make Your Own Shiplap

Dfw crown
by Dfw crown
2 Materials
2 Hours
The most popular accent wall right now is shiplap. Made famous mostly by Joanna Gaines, star of HGTV's Fixer Upper. Learn how to make your own shiplap
Select your boards
First you will need to select the boards that you desire. I recommend a 1"x 6" board of some sort. Keep in mind that if you will be painting the shiplap, try to use a more inexpensive board since the results of painting won't be affected by which species of wood you choose.
1/2" Rabbet bit with bearing
You will need a rabbet bit to make the lap joints. You can find this bit at home stores for about $30. This bit has a bearing on top to stop the depth of the cut. You will need a 1/2" rabbet bit.
Squaring the fence
You do not need to use a fence to make the cuts, but I highly recommend it. The fence is a safety precaution to help you have better control of the boards while cutting. Make sure the fence is lined up with the bearing on the bit for accurate results. If using the bearing only, make sure to have a very firm grip on the boards when you make your cuts.
Determine thickness of board
You will need to determine what thickness the board is. Most 1" x 6" boards are truly 3/4" x 5-1/2".

Adjust bit height
Once you determine the thickness of your board, you will need to adjust the height of the bit to exactly one half of the thickness of the board.
For example, if you have a 3/4" board you will need the bit height at 3/8".
Making the first cut
Once height is adjusted, safely pass the material through the bit. I recommend safety glasses and breathing protection. As you can see from the picture, there is a lot of debris.
Notice how the laps are staggered.
Next, flip the board on its back and make the cut again.
It is very important that you flip the board on the opposite side of what you previously cut. If you do not flip the board the correct way. You will have wasted material. (see picture)
This is the lap joint you create
What you should end up with is a tight lap joint that is flush on both sides of the board. This is a true shiplap board and it is very easy to make.
Suggested materials:
  • 1" x 6" Common Board   (Home Depot)
  • 1/2" Rabbet Bit   (Home Depot)
Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
3 of 9 questions
  • Annemie Annemie on Aug 07, 2017

    Does shiplap help with noise reduction? I want to clad the walls in my unit with something that will help keep noise out...

  • Trudie Trudie on Jan 07, 2020

    Do you treat the boards for bugs?

  • Sheila Spencer Sheila Spencer on Jul 28, 2021

    Is there a hidden benefit to doing "shiplap" vs just a planked wall? If the boards don't overlap (like siding) it looks EXACTLY the same. Planking the wall is much less time consuming, results in the same look and you actually get more coverage out of your planks as you're not losing an inch per board due to the (invisible) interlock. I just don't understand why you would make a project more complicated and costly if it ultimately gives you the same outcome. I'm totally open to explanations; I just don't get it.

Join the conversation
2 of 13 comments
  • Meem Kaplan Meem Kaplan on Dec 28, 2019

    Thank you for sharing this. I kept seeing "shiplap" when it was just planked walls... As a former residential building contactor, this is a pet peeve of mine. Guess I must be bored in my retirement, eh? LOL!

  • Sherry Sherry on Jan 29, 2020

    Nice video. Informative and well done, even a rube like me can understand it