In an existence saturated with instant gratification, it is refreshing to toil away at a project of such length and complexity. It takes time to build a house. It takes patience, perseverance and acquired skills to build a house. It also takes those attributes to document the building of a house and then to process the documentation of building a house and then to share that documentation in some sort of cohesive manner. This particular stage of our build [the siding] seemed to take exceptionally long and this post, filled with photos and video, is over 6 weeks in the making.
Sure we were out of town for 5 of the last 8 weekends, decided to install the shower, start our stairs, acquire our wall cavity insulation, paint the doors and install the door hardware, all since rush installing the first piece of siding while being photographed for a newspaper article all the way back in JULY; but the task of siding SHED really took some time. Every single piece required precise measurements to be taken from the wall and that information to be transferred and drawn onto the metal panel. This information at a minimum usually required the bottom to be cut in order to get rid of damaged edge conditions and make sure the existing holes would align from piece to piece once installed as well as a 12 degree angled cut so the panel top would align with our roof profile. Most panels required 1 or more cut-outs for windows, which required even more precision due to the completely exposed edge cut condition created by our decision to nix j-channel window trim. Each cut required a straight edge to be clamped in place on the material, exactly 1-1/8” off of the line to align with the circular saw which was retrofitted with a metal cut off disc that produces a deafening cacophony of chaos, assaulting all of the users senses and throwing a shower of sparks capable of lighting a person’s clothing on fire (it happened). Only then was the piece ready to test fit in place as we held our breath and crossed out fingers. About 1/3 of the pieces required and extra nip or tuck with the saw before actually being fastened in placed on the side of SHED.
We are using corrugated metal siding that was salvaged by Steve at Leading Force Energy and Design Center from an 80 year old apple barn roof up the road. The metal has a dull grey patina imparted on it from decades of exposure to the elements and the intense sun of the Yakima Valley. We oriented it vertically to create a hybrid rain screen system that utilizes the vertical corrugation spaces as pathways to allow any water that reaches the building wrap to drain and for air movement to aid in evaporation and “breathing. The blue spongy material installed underneath the panels at the top and bottom is used to allow water to exit and air to enter the corrugation space while keeping out insects and the like. Among other benefits are its durability, lack of maintenance and fire protection characteristics, which when combined with our metal roof and metal flashed under carriage make for a nearly impermeable shell.
With that introduction, I invite you to check out the video and photo documentation of this stage of our journey.
On an unrelated topic, you may have heard us talk about hops before. Hops are an important ingredient in flavoring beer. We grow 75% of the nation’s hops here in the Yakima Valley. Our drive to the SHED build site takes us past miles upon miles of hop fields that we have watched go from bare sticks and strings in the fields this winter to 14’ tall trellised forests of thick green bundles of climbing hops. Most recently, the fields are beginning to return to barren swaths of dirt as the season reaches the end of a full cycle and the 6 week long hop harvest is in full effect. The country roads we drive to SHED are littered with hop cones falling from over filled trucks that scurry from the fields to the pickers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. As the hops get transported to storage, distribution and pellet mills our entire city becomes cloaked with the pungent aroma of the harvest. After a couple years of only experiencing the hop harvest as a passerby, a friend of ours who works in the industry provided us with the opportunity to step inside a few of the hop picking operations. A “picker” is an entire barn filled with bustling conveyer belts, and other seemingly improvised and aging contraptions aimed at separating the hop cones from the rest of the plant matter. “Necessity is the mother of invention” Graham said with a chuckle as I looked around with bewilderment at the confusing, clunky and seemingly dilapidated operation as it performed the tedious task with unbelievable efficiency . The sheer quantity of hops being harvest becomes most apparent once you step onto the platform used for kiln drying the hops and before you lays an expansive plane of hops, nearly 3 feet deep, being heated and dried through the fabric from below. This happens for about 12 hours before an entire new crop of hops is laid to dry while the rest get ready to be compressed into 200 lb bales and begin their journey into the beer you’re drinking. We took a few photos to share the experience and of course make our fellow home brewers jealous. Cheers!