Preparing the siding

Yesterday we scored an impressive batch of mixed grain shiplap red cedar siding at Building Material Resources. BMR buys large lots of leftover wood from various sources and sells them at deep discounts. Almost every major project I’ve done for the last 15 years has something from there in it. Selection is limited to whatever odd amounts or sizes they have on hand but if you happen to need exactly what’s there you can sometimes get a smoking deal. Shiplap changes the look of our project a bit but that’s OK. We both like how working with salvaged or secondhand materials introduces elements of creativity and serendipity into the process sometimes leading us in directions that we wouldn’t have thought to go otherwise.

Of course now that we have it we’ve got to actually put it up in the first step is coating every single stick with two coats of oil. Our coating of choice is Timber Pro, a local Portland company that makes a natural finish that is surprisingly inexpensive and holds up well even compared to far more toxic solventborne stains. We used the hazelnut color because it changes the color of the Cedar the least.

After doing some major surgery on my old sliding compound miter saw, I spent the day making trim boards for the windows and doors and corners, while Liz stained ALL of the siding boards, which she is still doing as I write this and the sun is going down!

Red cedar is such an amazing wood, in many ways my life has revolved around it. As an activist fighting against the destruction of our temperate rainforests, as a hunter, hiker and kayaker amidst these beautiful trees, and as a boat builder using its light, rot resistant wood to make kayaks and canoes. I’m definitely conflicted about its use as a building material but when trying to weigh the bottom line on environmental impact there’s just not a lot of good choices for siding or roofing. We are splitting our siding about half and half between cedar and metal which feels like an appropriate balance. We both feel a strong sense of privilege to be able to work with such beautiful wood.

– Brian

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