Self-aware. Self conscious. Self induced.

Systems of Knowledge

Technology introduces new systems of knowledge and destroys old ones.

It doesn’t mean to, it just does. Plaster, for example. Plaster is harder to work with and more time consuming than drywall, even though it is arguably a better material. However, drywall is easier to work with. On the other hand, plaster lets you create coved ceiling, which is harder to do with drywall, especially on smaller scales (no matter what these guys say – though it’s still an informative video).

I know how to work with cedar shingles, but instead of doing a shingle-by-shingle, 5″ exposure, I’m installing them in 8′ panels. The stuff that we’ve now ripped off the house, as bad shape as it’s in on the surface, those layers of shingles are still solid on the bottom. They’re still doing their job. Essentially the way traditional cedar shingle work is through two layers of overlap. Each shingle is approximately 15-16″ long. The second layer leaves the bottom 5″ of the lowest layer exposed, leaving 10″ underneath the second layer. The third layer covers 10″ of the second layer and 5″ of the first. The fourth covers 10″ of the third and five of the second. And so on. So there’s a lot of protection. It’s also very, very time consuming. And if you paint or seal only the exterior face, you can encourage warping in the material.

The stuff I’m using is stained on both sides, then attached to a sheet of plywood with a layer of fiberglass matting in between. I love this idea. It goes up faster. The shingles will last longer. And the more people do this, the fewer people will know how to install regular shingles.

It’s not the shingles themselves that are the problem. Honestly, there isn’t a problem here at all. It’s only that I’ve never been a first-hand witness to one system of knowledge (panels) encroaching upon another (shingles). As the guy who bought and loves the panels, I’m a little sad to see how fewer people will know how to do the old stuff that led to this innovation. They’ll co-exist for a long, long time and there will be places in the world that still only do shingles, blah blah blah.

I know. It’s not a big deal. It’s a little deal. And it’s just a little sad.

and up and up


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