Treatments > Architectural Conservation Assessment > The Process of Architectural Investigation >

• Wood shingles, siding; moisture

 

• Examples of structural systems (illustrations, and photon of sites), tooling marks
• Joinry
• Nails
• Reuse timbers
• Modified (by plumber!)
• Structure
• Dendrochronology

Architectural Evidence: Studying the Fabric of the Historic Building

Wood

Buildings 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 materials.