constructed with wood have a very different set of characteristics,
requiring a different line of questioning.
Is the wooden structural system log, timber
frame, or balloon frame construction? Evidence seen on the wood
surface indicates whether production was by ax, adze, pit saw,
mill saw (sash or circular), or band saw. What are the varying
dimensions of the lumber used?
Finished parts can be sawn, gouged, carved,
or planed (by hand or by machine). Were they fastened by notching,
mortise and tenon, pegs, or nailing?
If nails were used, were they wrought by
hand, machine cut with wrought heads, entirely machine cut, or
machine wire nails? For much of the nineteenth century the manufacture
of nails underwent a series of changes and improvements that are
dateable, allowing nails to be used as a tool in establishing
periods of construction and alteration.
Regardless of region or era, the method
of framing, joining and finishing a wooden structure will divulge
something about the original construction, its alterations, and
the practices of its builders.
Finally, does some of the wood appear
to be re-used or re-cycled? Re-used and reproduction materials
used in early restoration projects have confused many investigators.
When no identification record was kept, it can be a problem distinguishing
between materials original to the house and later replacement