Geodesic domes are known for several benefits. Those benefits are many, expounded on in other blogs on this website.
But for all the benefits of a geodesic structure I discovered this much - they are very unforgiving. That is, if your work is out fractions of an inch you will know about it. The dome will not let you forget. :o
Which is why I’ve changed my work methods to adapt. First, I’ve gone completely metric. Now I speak “metric-ese”. No more 1/16ths of an inch for me! Going metric has made measuring and subtracting lengths so much easier as well and since I never cared much for subtracting fractions this was an easy adaptation.
Second, I’ve decreased my error tolerances. And THAT has led to another discovery. Existing lumber comes in dimensions that vary considerably. That is, regular construction lumber that is supposed to be 2x6 will differ based on moisture content, whether it's kiln dried and some lumber sits in the lumberyard for months, some for days. Some suppliers store their lumber indoors, some outside. So what you get is somewhat of a crap shoot.
Considering that most lumber is used for house framing, where errors of a ¼” are routine the differences don’t matter much. And as we know the house building industry is more about mass production not precision cutting, unless of course we're dealing with finish work.
The solution? Buy lumber that was stored indoors, double check the dimensions before using the piece and in some cases run it through a plane. To many woodworkers this is all ‘over the top’, but to an anal carpenter like myself, it’s all part of putting out not just a wood structure but a work of art. :)
Gilles Leclair is the founder of GeoStudios. Somewhat eccentric, fairly environmentalist, politically aware, he believes the world should have more off-grid communities... many more.