BLB2016 SKin Days 1, 2 & 3

For the next two weeks, Studio Bark have handed their Build Blog over to 3 student teams all working on RDLAC Community Garden Room…


Day 1 – Introduction to Timber

We began our day with getting familiar with the University Workshop and its equipment. Followed by a presentation from Wilf & Nick on how to assemble the U-Build system. Then the members of the FRAME and the SKIN team joined together for a stock-check of all the U-Build components. TRADA timber expert, Tim Belden met up with the SKIN team to discuss possible implications when working with timber cladding, which re-evaluated our ideas and created a set of parameters for the design.

The key points gathered from Tim’s briefing. To get the best harvest from the timber you need to cut it along the length of its grain. The importance of keeping the timber dry as moisture creates mould and rots the fibres. Consideration of instability of timber due to its contraction and expansion over time due to its moisture content, which could leave spaces between panels. The best fixings to use with timber are stainless steel (otherwise galvanised) as they are more resistant to weathering and rusting. Cross battening as a first batten layer is not advisable as it would create a shelf for water. Counter battening or diagonal battening are the optimal options.


Day 2 – Design


The morning began with a group meeting, where we discussed possible design options and narrowed down our ideas to three designs ranging from simple solution to something a little more complex. After unanimously finalising on an idea we split the group into two teams. The design team continued working on the measurements and arrangements of the modules, testing different ways to create a precise, yet interesting pattern.


The build team was in charge of sanding and cutting the timber panels to size. With consideration of rainwater we sanded the edges of the front panels to allow water to drip off the corners without snagging. With the processed timber parts we began to put together a prototype of a single 1200x600mm module. We finalised the day with a group meeting and discussed the making of a jig for day 3.

Making of the timber panels

We sanded one side of the timber (80 grit) to remove the mould that had already formed on the board during the air-drying process, in order to prevent it from spreading and to get a smooth, clean finish.

To begin with a straight edge we used a plunge saw to cut one side of the timber along its length. If the timber piece is uneven in size (e.g one end substantially wider than the other) the timber would have to be cut into smaller sizes before creating the straight edge. This minimises wastage. In order to cut the timber to the correct module (300mm, 600mm,1200mm) we used a cross-cut saw. Using the table saw we then cut the timber to the desired 25mm width and sanded the edges to create a finished cladding panel.

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