Monday, August 4, 2008


When I ordered a couple thousand board feet of #4 pine boards (1x12), known around here as boarding boards, Eric at Viking Lumber remarked that there are only a few carpenters still sheathing with boards, and they're a lot older than I am. Before plywood and oriented strand board became standard sheathing materials, there were boarding boards. In the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina when the price of plywood went through the roof, some carpenters briefly went back to sheathing with boards because it was cheaper. Though I doubt it was cheaper if time were factored in; boarding is slow process. But I like it for a few of reasons. It's entirely possible to put up boards working alone. Pine boards don't weigh much, even 16 footers, and they're easy to carry up a ladder and hold with one hand while the other drives a nail. Try that with a sheet of plywood. Also, a sheet a plywood covers 32 square feet, and ties four studs together (2' on center). One 16' board placed diagonally across the wall will tie 5 studs together and extend from the bottom sill to the studs on the second floor. So, even though a 16 foot board covers roughly half the square footage as a sheet of plywood, it does more to improve the strength of the frame. Last but not least, pine boards are a formaldehyde-free, local building product. Cost more, but worth it.

I nailed up boards today until I got rained out. Tomorrow I'll finish framing the load-bearing wall that runs down the middle of the second floor. Then up go the ceiling joists (the floor of the attic).

1 comment:

rodolph sheahan said...

Impressive. I knew that Holy Cross degree in Philosophy would come in handy some day. Great explanation and research into an old, seldom used construction method.