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The plan for this "shelf" is to be made of plywood, overhang the drywall by 1/4", and be finished with iron-on edging. However, once I fitted it as best I could, I discovered that the knee-wall below it is hopelessly crooked. This angle is seen when someone comes up the stairs, so it's a problem. What's the best way to fix it at this point? Re-spackle the wall, scribe the plywood, or something else?

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  • What's easiest for you? I'd scribe it, but...
    – keshlam
    Commented Mar 5, 2023 at 23:33
  • @keshlam Will it still taking edging well?
    – Wynne
    Commented Mar 5, 2023 at 23:51
  • Whether it takes edging well depends on how clean your cut is (or how well you clean up the edge after cutting). Thin edging is flexible, so it can handle curves -- though in your case it looks like straight-line cuts would do the job. If you're talking about edging with solid wood, straight line is simplest.
    – keshlam
    Commented Mar 6, 2023 at 0:50
  • What if you cut the shelf bigger so it overhangs the knee wall by, say 1/2" - 1" all around? Then add a piece of quarter round molding to the underside of the lip, and finish off the edge of the plywood as you were planning.
    – SteveSh
    Commented Mar 6, 2023 at 2:49
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    Trim the shelf to aproximatelty match the line of the walls, then install trim with the flat edge upwards and level with the platform and the fancy edge downwards.
    – Jasen
    Commented Mar 6, 2023 at 7:07

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Some options:

  1. Using a flush trim router bit, simply make the shape of the plywood match the shape of the wall. You never noticed it before, so you'll (most likely) never notice it again in the future.

  2. Apply a thicker piece of trim that's got a nice square profile on the outside. The top portion of the trim has a rabbet (or rebate in British), while the bottom portion is scribed to the wall.

    • This will make a slightly larger overhang, but should easily hide the mismatch through the scribing.
  3. Opt for an even greater overhang and put a piece of trim under the overhang.

  4. Fix the knee wall to have a nice 90° corner and straight lines.

    • This will be the hardest, messiest, most time consuming, and probably most expensive option of them all and is only to be used as a last resort or by the terminally OCD.
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  • Re the terminally OCD option, can it be done in a few thin coats by a patient homeowner with very modest spackling skills?
    – Wynne
    Commented Mar 9, 2023 at 20:48
  • I'm sure you could build up layers of mud/plaster over the existing wall, @Wynne, to match the cut edge of your plywood. However, getting a glass-smooth surface to satisfy your OCD will take you years of practice. (I'm thinking this will become a Monk-like effort.) If you're going to go that route, I'd really suggest hiring the job out to a local company that has good references on doing plaster skim coats. It's as much art-form as skill.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Mar 10, 2023 at 12:34

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