on salvage

as i continue to explore designing around and building with salvaged materials, i continue to bump up against both the synergy and magic that can arise as well as the challenges and conundrums. now that the siding is installed on the two long walls of ps1, i feel pretty wowed by how beautiful and special salvaged wood, specifically, can be. but i also feel challenged by how much extra time in sourcing, processing, processing, processing, and using salvaged wood has added to the construction timeline.

it gives me insight into why so many building materials end up in the construction dumpsters… it’s not necessarily because folks don’t care about resource use and conservation. often there simply isn’t the budget to pay for the labor required to manage and process leftovers, scraps, recyclables and the like.

likewise, though the salvaged wood and other materials certainly exist to make a bigger showing in our buildings, construction projects, and the built environment; folks who hire craftspeople and workers to realize building projects have a hard time justifying the extra costs incurred in the extra labor to their clients. so, cheaper, more easily available and dimensionally reliable materials get chosen and used. the savings can be significant.

i would estimate that my choice to use solely salvaged wood for the exterior siding and trim added approximately 2-3 weeks to the project so far. of course, i’m doing all the work myself, which affords me a bit of luxury here. which is fortunate because i think the extra effort is well worth it. the results speak for themselves. the texture, beauty and uniqueness of these old growth timbers and boards, with their telltale radial saw marks, paint traces and stains add a quality to this pocket shelter’s appearance and feeling that is hard to put a price tag on.

whether or not the next pocket shelter will get the same 100% salvage treatment for it’s cladding will depend on the desires and values of whoever ends up commissioning ps2.

cold weather, progress

the weather has turned downright chilly over the past week or two. but progress continues, and i’ve reached a couple more milestones in the construction process. the metal roofing is complete and the space is fully dried-in.

i’m choosing to install the wood siding as a rain screen. basically, instead of mounting the siding boards directly over top of the building paper, there is an air gap between them. this allows the wood siding to breath and dry out more quickly and easily. this method provides a more durable envelope. the wood furring strips that will hold the siding off of the sheathing are installed and i’ll begin installing the siding shortly. i’m pretty excited to see how it turns out. stay tuned.

hand toolswane edgeyellow poplar timberready for sidingready for sidingwindow groupentry porchredwoodporch window frameframe ready for installframe detail

PS1 construction process: insulation

Icynene insulation installed by Home Energy Partners. They’ve been very supportive and flexible of the pocket shelters project. They don’t normally do such small installs, but they’re interested in the concept and hope to collaborate more on future structures. Thanks Ryan and Tom!

Subfloor is installed on top of the insulated floor, all closed up. Now it’s ready for wall framing. After the walls and roof are framed and sheathed, H.E.P. will do a second spray to insulate the remainder of the building envelope.

More info on Icynene here.