Sukkah 2018/5779

Temporary shelter made from salvaged wood studs, wood sheathing boards, and wood doors.

Status: built and dismantled in September 2018.

As the end of each summer nears, I begin scouting for salvage material sources. This year’s sukkah was born from the promise of old fir lumber and an assortment of doors. I was intrigued by dynamic doors opening to reveal the outside world or closing to create privacy.

A client’s brother was demolishing the second floor of an old house.  I took studs from interior partition walls, boards from exterior sheathing, oak flooring strips, and a trio of interior doors from the family’s bedrooms. Careful deconstruction required four hard days to remove dozens of nails without damaging the wood. Brutal demolition would have been much easier, but not yielded usable material. Truck rental cost $25 and screws cost $80, but the lumber was free.

The doors were both the inspiration for the design and the determinant of the dimensional layout. I spent a full day chopping 28 studs, 28 plates, 22 stops, and 121 boards to identical lengths. I needed a second full day to assemble these components into 14 matching panels using 150 long screws and 400 short screws. Finally I took a morning to raise and plumb the panels and screw each to its neighbor to create the walls of the enclosure.

We enjoyed glorious autumn weather all week, with just a hint of rain at our final meal. At the end of the holiday week, the structure was disassembled into its 14 panels, and re-erected in a friend’s back yard to serve as a hot tub enclosure.