Q. How does one go about fanning clapboards to create a sunburst on the gable end? Can this be done with vinyl siding as well as wood?

A. Clayton DeKorne responds: With wood clapboards, first cut a semicircular "sun" from a piece of clear 5/4 stock. For best results, back-prime this piece of trim, prepaint the top curved edge, and flash with a strip of metal. (It's very difficult to forma drip edge along the curve of this metal, but if you apply a strip of aluminum or copper 1/4 wider than the 5/4 round block, you can slowly and diligently tap the edge down. Don't try to bend it all at once or it will crimp. Instead, work the edge so the metal deforms to get a slight downward cant.)

For the rays of the sun, lay out the appropriate taper with a chalk line, and rip each clapboard along the thickened, butt edge. Install this ripped edge along radius lines of the sunburst.

Start by installing the clapboards along the bottom on both sides, and work your way towards the center. Butt the end of each ripped clapboard into the edge of the sun, and seal the joint with caulk.

Where the clapboards meet in the center, install a vertical batten along the top edges of the fanned clapboards, which should now be close to vertical. I find it works best to rip this batten from clear 1-by stock, so both edges run parallel to the clapboards along radius lines of the sunburst.

With vinyl, follow the steps illustrated above. In this case, cut the sun and the last center ray from a piece of flat coil stock, and install them last over the ends of the vinyl panels.

Clayton DeKorne is the senior editor of the Journal of Light Construction.