The new cool is the email newsletter, and The Prepared is one of my favorites. They also post some great long-form stuff, like their latest article exploring the construction history of Saint John the Divine in New York.
Older video of an elementary school drop off queue, but one that’s been stuck on my saved list for years. Every time I think about deleting it, I’m recaptured by the absurdity. I get it – rural places exist, long bus routes means kids need to get up too early, school districts are incentivized to build on cheap land on the boundaries, etc. A good suburban example of this is Saco, Maine – all of the schools are in dense residential areas except for the middle school which is marooned on the outskirts beyond a major highway. Which school would you guess was built in the 1970’s?
It’s the little details that are the most confusing – Oil Safety Valves are reverse threaded.
I’m in the middle of approving final details for a large cabinet order and am once again vexed by an inside corner cabinet. Blind, lazy-susan, or pivot-swing shelves? All seem like good ways to end up with something gross permanently hidden the bowels of your cabinetry. Couldn’t agree with Nancy Hiller more in this post from 2018.
There is an intuitive accident causation model called the Swiss Cheese Model where small risks across a broad spectrum of qualities line up perfectly to create, well, an accident. JLC published “What A Long, Strange Drip It’s Been” this month which is a great example of this kind of cumulative impact small mistakes can have. Bad drip edge install, overhang-free building design, failure-intolerant fascia detail, a discontinuity between fascia and wrap, and a home owner without a proactive approach to preventative maintenance. I grimaced when I reached the part where the sheathing repair didn’t include a replacement of the drip edge – especially when you can see that a new roof was installed between the original inspection and the final sheathing repair.
A while back the Fine Homebuilding Podcast mentioned a paper by M.C Baker called “Decay of Wood“. Took me a bit to find it, but I was pleasantly surprised to find a crisp five page introduction to wood decay. It is great to find these kinds of introductory texts which lay out exactly enough to start you on a research path – for example, I didn’t know that there were five specific types of building-rot fungi of most concern/importance. That’s a short list!
Great to see a Maine crew star in this video series on wall framing. The crew involved is from Kolbert Building, you may know Dan Kolbert from his involvement with the “Pretty Good House” concept.
Rick Steves largely lives on the edge of my consciousness – he’s a famous figure whose books I never really used (for no particular reason I mostly used the Lonely Planet guides). He was profiled last month in the New York Times and, as always, sets the bar high for engaged living: pack light, stay positive, and try new things.
Throw-back Song of the Week: Whale – Hobo Humpin Slobo Babe
The Prepared published a look at African supply chain management for small fabricators and the weeks/months it can take to get items available overnight in other countries with less convoluted trade relationships.
This Christmas I receive a copy of A Reference for Wood by Eric Sloane, a short one hundred page look at the use of wood in early american life – a mixture of historical facts and engaging anecdotes.
Part of moving to a new part of the country (for me, the midwest this past year) is learning about new manufacturers, techniques, and contractors. Paul on this Q&A over at Green Building Advisor referenced a tilt-turn manufacturer in my new backyard – WASCO Windows of Milwaukee.
Structure Tech posted their annual round-up of the best inspection photos they took all year.
Beer of the Week: 3 Floyds Brewing Company – Gumball Head