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The craftsman
Volume XXVII, Number 5 (February 1915)

Your own home: number three: selecting the materials for durability, economy and picturesqueness,   pp. 534-546 PDF (4.6 MB)

Page 545

"'BAFTSMAN an illustrated article on slab construction will be found,
nd Mr. Stickley's own homestead, included among our illustrations,
an interesting and successful example of a permanent log dwelling.
  As to the use of half-timber, we can hardly do better than quote
  H. Elder-Duncan, who, in his delightful book of English "Country
,ottages," says: "Half-timber work is one of the most abused
aethods of building now extant. The beautiful effects achieved by
s use in former times can be seen in many countries, notably in
Cent, Warwickshire and Worcestershire. But the beauty obtained
y sound and honest workmanship is rarely seen nowadays. Half-
mber should be a substantial framework, consisting of uprights
enoned into horizontal sills and heads, which in their turn are
ecured to substantial corner posts, the framework being strengthened
y diagonal pieces. These diagonals were usually curved in the
ld work, and these curved pieces are best if they are so grown.
'he tenons should not run through the timbers, but be secured by
ooden pins, the heads of which are left projecting. All the timbers
hould be left rough from the saw-they are better if only roughly
iuared-and are simply treated with boiled oil or thin tar. The
iints should be made with a mixture of red and white lead, rendered
orkable with a small amount of boiled oil. In the old work the
paces between the timbers were filled with brick, usually set on edge
nd left plain, or covered with plaster.
  "Modern half-timber, in nine cases out of ten, consists of thin
ats of carefully planed timber nailed to the brick wall and provided
ith projecting pin-heads, the brickwork showing between the slats
eing covered with rough-cast or plaster in imitation of the old work,
the whole thing," adds this author emphatically, "is a disgusting
sham for which no possible or valid excuse can be advanced."
   In many instances-especially in a large house-a combination
of two or more materials may be advisable, such as concrete or
stucco walls above a foundation of brick or stone; stone walls with
stucco in the gables; or clapboards for the first story and shingles
for the second. Naturally, the heaviest-looking material should be
used below. Additional variety may be added in the chimneys,
porch pillars, steps and flooring, and in the timber and trim.
   The question of roofing must also be decided when the building
materials are being selected, and here again there is a wide range
of choice. For a frame house, wood or asbestos shingles are usually
most appropriate, although they cannot be used unless the roof has a
fairly steep slope to insure proper drainage. With concrete or stone
construction, tile or slate makes an effective covering, while the dif-
ferent forms of sheet roofing made today can be had in colors to

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