Thursday, January 28, 2010
Random width siding
An old, longstanding technique of clading houses on the wet coast is board and batten. Houses built 100 years ago have this kind of vertical siding using vertical cedar boards with the joins overlapped with vertical battens. The use of random width boards is a means whereby cutting planks from the diminishing widths of the entire log , one uses all of the log as a result, for your boards. The illusion provided by the randomized siding is a pleasing and gives not so obvious an appearance of randomness. It gave me a sense of having provided a green contribution in the utilization of materials to the maximum. When we built our house in 1995 the architect and builder had the use of 30 large Douglas fir and Western red cedar trees from our property, felled, skidded off and resting at the sawmill for eight months. The logs were custom cut for the framing of the timber frame building plus the randomized siding and battens. We had the lengths cut as we needed in the sequential building process. I was an innocent in the building matters but loved the idea of using our own wood to the maximum. They like to say, in houses with large picture windows, that "The design of this house brings the beautiful outside into the house!" In this case you could say, "The design of this house brings the beautiful outside onto the house!" Probably there was no real cost saving but the idea of recycling your little plot onto the house had an aura of romance. That this matter of clading used a time honored tradition, and British Columbia's unique wood resource, was for me an authentic expression of my roots. There is no place like home!