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Wood Timber pieces throughout historic mansion in place of masonry?

Wood Timber pieces throughout historic mansion in place of masonry?

Wood Timber pieces throughout historic mansion in place of masonry?

(OP)
Hi Everyone,

I am currently working on a project in the Chesapeake area that has timber pieces built into its masonry walls(See attached photos). The timber members run horizontally in different places and are located on the first and second floor at different heights but are continuous. They are not nailers and run completely through the 2-3 wythe walls. Has any one run into this type of masonry wall construction and if so, where? Thank you!

RE: Wood Timber pieces throughout historic mansion in place of masonry?

Your photos are not attached, but what you are describing sounds like a variation of "half-timbered framing". That has been around since at least the Middle Ages.

www.SlideRuleEra.net idea
www.VacuumTubeEra.net r2d2

RE: Wood Timber pieces throughout historic mansion in place of masonry?

As SRE notes, it may be a normal timber framed home with masonry infill between the timber members... In early England, many buildings were timber framed, but used wattle and daub infill.

Dik

RE: Wood Timber pieces throughout historic mansion in place of masonry?

(OP)
Hell Again,

I am aware of half timbering but I think it is something else? Maybe it is a variation? Have any of you run into a home that looks like this and if so would you mind sharing the date and location? See attached photo.

RE: Wood Timber pieces throughout historic mansion in place of masonry?

That is one ugly looking corner joint. Maybe it was someone's take at half-timbered. Those brick walls don't look great for load bearing capability.

RE: Wood Timber pieces throughout historic mansion in place of masonry?

A few years ago, I did come across a modest version of what your photos shows in a heavily-built c. 1880 waterfront warehouse in Georgetown, SC. The client needed a timely evaluation of the building's condition (he had to make a purchase decision 8 hours after contacting me). The vertical crack visible in the photo below is from the 1886 Charleston earthquake.

Brick infill was common in the 18th and 19th century. From the appearance of your bricks, I'd say that building is from the 18th century.

www.SlideRuleEra.net idea
www.VacuumTubeEra.net r2d2

RE: Wood Timber pieces throughout historic mansion in place of masonry?

(OP)
Thank you Everyone,

This is great information. SlideRuleEra, what did you end up suggesting to the client? Did you keep the wood member in place? You are right, the building is from 1776 and thanks again for sharing the photo.

RE: Wood Timber pieces throughout historic mansion in place of masonry?

kjoDBA - That was an interesting, one day, project. The client had an option to purchase the building that expired at 6 PM. Never met the client, he called based on recommendation by a larger firm. I had done quite a bit of work in Georgetown and was familiar with foundation issues there.

Visited the site with the client's agent. Found some small "new" cracks in a modern wall on the second floor that had latex paint stretched across them like chewing gum. The agent said the paint was less than five year old. The city had recently changed storm drainage in the area, likely causing a new round of foundation settlement.

By phone, recommended and explained reasons not to purchase the building, the client agreed. So, that was the end of it. Emailed the client a bill, got paid in full, by mail, two days later. He is probably glad he passed, three years ago an entire city block, including that building, burned to the ground:



www.SlideRuleEra.net idea
www.VacuumTubeEra.net r2d2

RE: Wood Timber pieces throughout historic mansion in place of masonry?

Would the timbers be an effort at reinforcing, like "bond beams"? Or maybe just nailers to aid in hanging pictures, attaching cornice, etc. They didn't have all the masonry drills and different types of anchors we have now, so a lump of timber in the wall would be handy.

RE: Wood Timber pieces throughout historic mansion in place of masonry?

Hokie - I believe you may be right about an attempt at a wooden bond beam. Even looks like if the timber I saw had been continuous it may have successfully resisted the vertical earthquake crack. At Georgetown the 1886 earthquake had an estimated intensity of Modified Mercalli VIII (Magnitude 5.8 +)

www.SlideRuleEra.net idea
www.VacuumTubeEra.net r2d2

RE: Wood Timber pieces throughout historic mansion in place of masonry?

Yes, the plan just said to put it in, not to splice it at the ends of the pieces.

RE: Wood Timber pieces throughout historic mansion in place of masonry?

Is that supposed to be a running bond in the corner? Looks more like a "falling" bond pattern. Based on the similarities in the photos posted by two different engineers, is it possible that this practice was the "norm" during the time period?

RE: Wood Timber pieces throughout historic mansion in place of masonry?

looked like it was just fill in, then differential movement fractured some of the bricks

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