Friday, June 23, 2017

Practical Geometry for hybrid Dutch barns

In Dutch Barns in the New World*  Gregory Huber includes 4 measured floor plans (p. xxviii and xxxi).
He describes some of these barns as hybrids, barns where the central aisle was not used for threshing and the doors were on on the long side, not under the gable.

I started with Gregory Huber's drawing and description of a hybrid barn floor plan in Marlboro, Monmouth County, NJ, c. 1810 - Illus. 2, p. xxviii.

The carpenter who laid out this frame seems to have begun with not only the layout in mind but the size: 36 ft x 48 ft.
He would have had a 10 ft rule marked in feet and inches and a folding compass to use to step off 36 ft and 48 ft. He would then have squared the rectangle with twine across the diagonals - just as carpenter do today.

A post went in each corner - easy to do.
I have redrawn Huber's Illustration to scale and labeled the corners A,B,C,D.
Remember  to click the drawings to enlarge them. 

I think the builder then laid out a square, with the sides the distance between his posts on one end of the barn.  Here I have shown the arc of  barn width, A-B determining the length of the side B-E The builder would have know how to lay out a square and would have trued his square with diagonals - the square, the arc and the diagonals are shown here in red.
The line E-F determines the location of one side of the barn's nave; in the drawing it is the 'upper side'.

Modern construction drawings usually dimension to the center of an opening or a post. I often find that master builders who used practical geometry ran a line beside the posts, so it could be there for the framers. This makes sense when one is building using drawings made on boards or plaster with one end of a compass, or a 'pricker', or with charcoal or chalk on a framing floor.

The master builder seems to then have laid out a second square starting from the opposite end of the barn, from C-D. The square is C-D-H-G. The 'lower' side of the nave is H-G.
He sets his posts on the same side of his line each time - in the drawing 'below the line', closer to A-C . This makes the 2 side aisles different widths. Perhaps this was on purpose.

Now the only placing left to determine is the interior posts.
The Rule of Thirds  easily divides the squares into 3 equal rectangles. Where the lines cross is the inside face of the posts and the beams above.

The Rule of Thirds was used by Palladio and Serlio. It is not specific to the traditional framing techniques of English carpenters, although it is very often used, with 'crossed squares' as is seen in this barn.

The second barn I looked at was in Millstone, Somerset County, NJ. c. 1800, shown in Gregory Huber's Illus. 6, p. xxxi.

These one aisle barns he says were accessory, or the next barn built on a farm, not the first one.

Here is my drawing based on the dimensions in that illustration.

As with Illus. 2, the master framer laid out the frame from the insides of the corner posts. He probably started from the left end:   A-F. The patterns of the squares do not layout smoothly if reversed; it can be done, but not easily.
I always look for the simplest, easiest way to lay out a frame, knowing that the framer had many more important things to do than play with geometric patterns.
The layout is straightforward  - 2 squares ( A-B-E-F) and a half (B-C-D-E). B-E locates the interior  posts and beam on the right end.

In this case I think the framer used 9 ft as his beginning length. thus the barn width inside to inside would have been 18 ft.   8"x 12" posts would have made the width of the barn 19'- 4". Huber's measurement is 9'-3". Either the posts were not quite 8" wide, or the 9 ft. length was not quite 'true'. There was no need for it to be true as long as the framer used that dimension consistently.  He was using practical geometry.
 The drawing - its 2 red squares with their diagonals - makes the 2 middle post and beam locations clear: the double square was divided into 3 equal bays.

Using practical geometry, I drew a diagonal across the rectangle from D to B. It intersects the diagonals of the squares at the interior beams (G and H) determining their locations. The diagonal from A to E would also cross and intersect the diagonals of the  two squares at the intermediate beams.

* The New World Dutch Barn, 2nd edition, by John Fitchen, edited and with new material by Gregory D. Huber, Syracuse U. Press, 2001.
 If you are curious about Dutch type barns built in the New World (the Colonies) or the antecedents to barns built by settlers in the  Appalachian Mountains or the Midwest before 1860, I highly recommend this book.

Here are some references:
The Rule of Thirds
Practical Geometry

Friday, June 16, 2017

Joseph Moxon, Mechanick Exercises, London, 1683

In honor of Abbot Lowell Cummings. 1923 - May, 2017. A beloved and inspiring architectural historian and teacher.

When I heard of his death I opened his book, The Framed Houses of Massachusetts  Bay. 1625 -1725, Harvard U. Press, Cambridge, 1979.

I thought I was making a nostalgic visit. I had often used his book as a resource when I wrote the 'Sunday Drive' columns for the Eagle-Tribune newspaper, and later returned to consider what he had to say about English precedent and framing. I referred to it when I wrote to him about Asher Benjamin and he answered.

On page 45, were Figures 41 and 42: Plates 4 and 8 from Joseph Moxon's Mechanick Exercises, London, 1683 - not a book I knew.
I wondered what Moxon meant by 'mechanical exercises'. Did he include compasses in his engravings of tools?

I was happy to find that Mechanick Exercises is available on-line, digitized by the University of Michigan.
It is a good read.
Here is the first line in his Preface:

I see no more Reason, why the Sordidness of some Workman, should be the cause of contempt upon Manual Operations, than that the excellent Invention of a Mill should be dispis'd, because a blind Horse draws in it.And tho' the Mechanicks be, by some, accounted Ignoble and Scandalous? yet it is very well known, that many Gentlemen in this Nation, of good Rank and high Quality, are conversant in Handy-Works:

Copied exactly, punctuation and capitals - except for the 's's  that look like 'f's  to modern readers.

The whole book is written in this direct, practical voice. I read it with a smile.

About Geometry he writes in the Preface;
That Geometry, Astronomy, Perspective, Musick, Navigation, Architecture, &c. are excellent Sciences, all that know but their very Names will confess: Yet to what purpose would Geometry serve, were it not to contrive Rules for Handi-Works?

Moxon's book is for the Carpenters Trade. He says " Architecture is a Mathematical Science, and therefore different from my present Undertakings, which are (as by my Title) Mechanick Exercises: p. 117.

He describes all the tools illustrated in the plates.

This is a partial view of Plate 5, Page 63
Moxon's description of Compasses, marked E :  Their Office is to describe Circles, and set off Distances from their Rule, or any other Measure, to their Work.

In other places he writes about using compasses in specific measuring situations requiring marking and scribing, holding stiff their Joint.  He refers to Lines as did Serlio and Gibbs.
I had hoped for more:  practical geometric nomenclature and diagrams, much as Peter Nicholson drew and explained 100 years later.

Moxon did however write wonderful descriptions and explanations.

Of the Rule, marked D in Plate 5, he says in part:
...the manual use of it is, either to measure length with it, or to Try the straightness or flatness of their Work with. They Try their Work by applying one of its Edges to the flat of the wrought side of their Work, and bring their Eye as close as they can, to see if they can see light between the edge of the Rule and their Work. If they cannot, they conclude their Work is Try, and well wrought.

I enjoyed the image of 'trying' with one's eye so close to the crack! And thought immediately of a modern Try Square.

Here is what he said about the Glew-pot:

Then he wrote about the Glew:

 The clearest, driest, and transparent Glew is the best: When you boil it, break it with your hammer into small pieces, and put it into a clean Skillet, or Pipkin, by no means greasie, for that will spoil the Clamminess of the Glew, put into it so much Water as is convenient to dissolve the Glew, and make it, when it is hot, about the thickness of the White of an Egg: 
Grease in the glue is not good...we know he is right; and 'Clamminess' - a great word! -  meaning 'soft and sticky' is in my unabridged dictionary.

After 300 pages of Smithing, Joinery, Carpentry, Turning, and Bricklaying, the last 50 pages are devoted to thorough instructions for laying out sun dials  - with annotated diagrams.  

Joseph Moxon (1627-1691) was an English printer who specialized in mathematical books and maps. He made globes and mathematical instruments. As well as this book I have quoted from he wrote a book about printing, the first written codification of knowledge which had been passed down orally.  He was the first tradesman to become a Fellow of the Royal Society (look it up!).

In the book on printing he described how to draw the letters of the alphabet using a straight edge and a compass.
Page 257,  Architectural Graphic Standards, 2nd edition, C G Ramsey and H R Sleeper, published by John Wiley & Sons , 1936.  (250 years after Moxon,)  shows the same thing. Note how radii are indicated for arcs - especially clear in the letters O and Q.
 I am glad to have met Joseph Moxon. Thank you, Abbot Lowell Cummings.

One of the columns written for my 'Sunday Drive' can be found at

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Bibliography for SAH Latrobe talk, May 10, 2017. Practical Geometry

Tonight I will talk about Practical Geometry.
I will quickly review the documented - in writing - use of geometry from its mention in Isaiah to James Gibbs ' note in his Book on Architecture.
I will not have time to discuss the implications, nor even the reasons there are so few written notations. Curious people can read my blog and refer to this list.

I should have included: The Bible, Isaiah,44, 13.

PRACTICAL GEOMETRY                             lecture for SAH Latrobe, Washington, DC, May 9, 2017


     *Benjamin, Asher. The American Builder’s Companion, 6th edition, RP &C Williams, Boston, 1827
     *Biddle, Owen. Young Carpenter’s Assistant, published by Benjamin Johnson, Philadelphia, 1805.
     *Gibbs, James. Book on Architecture, London, 1728
                            Rules for Drawing the Several Parts of Architecture, printed by W. Bower for the author, London, 1732, ECCO print edition  
      Green, Bryan Clark. In Jefferson’s Shadow, the Architecture of Thomas R. Blackburn, Princeton University Press, NY, 2006
      Harris, Leslie. Robert Adam and Kedleston, The National Trust, London, 1987.
      Knight, Edward H. American Mechanical Dictionary, Vol I, II, III; J.B. Ford & Co. NY, 1874.
      Nicholson, Peter. The Carpenter’s New Guide, 1793, London; 10th ed., Philadelphia, 1830.
     *Palladio, Andreas. The 4 Books of Architecture, 1570, translated and published by Isaac Ware, London, 1738.
     Serlio, Sebastian. On Architecture, Lyon, France 1530, translated into English, 1611, available on-line
    * Shaw, Edward. The Modern Architect, Dayton & Wentworth, Boston, 1854
    * Vitruvius, Marcus. The Ten Books on Architecture, c. 10 BCE, translated by Morris Hicky Morgan, Harvard University Press, 1914.

*Reprinted by Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, NY

     HABS drawings, Library of Congress, Washington, DC
     Denison Bingham Hull, Old First Church, Bennington, Vermont, c. 1935.
     James Platteter, barn frame for Green Mountain Timber Frames, 2014
     All others: Jane Griswold Radocchia

Web sites: and  

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Palladio Discusses Geometry

This is part of Plate 1, The Second Book of Andrea Palladio's ARCHITECTURE.

Palladio's 4 books of Architecture were published in`1570 in Venice.  They were meant for Italians. He wrote in terms of the local climate, and materials he used in and around Venice. He also shares ways of  working that  today we would agree are 'best practice".
Here is a small example.
He explains in Book I, Chap. II, On Timber
that timber should be felled in autumn or winter, "in the wane of the moon". This may be because of the gravitational pull of the full moon on sap.
Palladio adds that the timber must be "laid in a proper place,.. shelter'd from the south sun, high winds, and rain."  
This final sentence would delight all modern contractors: "Those therefore who are about to build, ought to be inform'd from men thoroughly acquainted with the nature of timber, that they may know which is fit for such and such uses, and which not."

Many Northern Europeans traveled to Italy as part of their education. The 4 Books were admired and translated. Inigo Jones, English Master Builder, brought his own copy back when he returned from Italy in 1614. He marked it up. He used it. Today his copy is kept at Worcester College, Oxford.

The first Book is about construction and materials and the all important Roman columns; the second Book discusses houses; the third Book reviews public places and spaces; the fourth Book concludes with Roman temples.
Note: the word 'fabric" means something fabricated, constructed, a building.

He starts Book I, Chapter I :  "...three things, according to Vitruvius, ought to be considered in every fabric*...and these are utility, or convenience, duration, and beauty."...
"Beauty will result from the form and correspondence of the whole, with respect to the several parts, of the parts with regard to each other, and of these again to the whole; that the structure may appear an entire and complete body, wherein each member agrees with the other, and all necessary to compose what you intend to form."
This is what  we called Practical Geometry 200 years later.

Book I has beautiful drawings of the five orders - the proper proportions and ornaments for columns.
In the introduction, Chapter VIII, Palladio writes:
"... in the dividing and measuring of the said orders, I would not make use of any certain or determinate measure particular to any city, as a cubit, foot, or palm knowing that these several members differ as much as the cities and countries; but imitating Vitruvius, who divides the Dorick order with a measure taken from the thickness or diameter of the columns, common to all, and by him called a module. I shall therefore make use of the same measure in all the orders."

Here is Plate XII, Book I. The Dorick Order

Note that he has given dimensions: the column width is 2 modules ( MO.2). the space between the columns is MO. 5 .1/2. tThe  height of the columns is MO. 15.

Palladio includes half of his  'Venetian foot' in his 4 Books. explaining that he divides his whole foot into 12 inches and then each inch into 4 minutes.  He notes that the numbers on his fabrics are dimensions based on this particular foot.

First Book, Chapter XXI, Of the loggias, entries, halls, rooms and of their form 

The last paragraph:
The most beautiful and proportionable manners of rooms, and which succeed best, are seven, because they are either made round (tho' but seldom) or square, or their length will be the diagonal of the square, or of a square and a third, or of one square and a half, or of 1 square and two thirds, or of 2 squares.

Here are the diagram for the floor plan house above based on Palladio's list of beautiful proportions.

I have copied from the book. It is not quite square. Therefore my analysis is general.

I have used the division of the square into halves and quarters, and the division of the square into thirds, both ways of lay out that could have been drawn on a board or on plaster and laid out with a rope.

The plan is a square. The square divided into 4 equal rectangles marks the position of the interior walls from top to bottom. They are thicker than the other interior walls, so probably structural.  The line established is on the outside of the walls which would be appropriate for building a wall which would sit on a foundation and support the building.
Palladio may be showing off what a good designer he is, but his drawings are also construction drawings meant to convey to his workmen where to build the walls and the columns.  

When the diagonals of the square are added, corner to corner, the interior walls (left to right) at the edge of the stairs are determined.

The placement of the columns in the grand hall are also noted.

Both points divide the square into thirds.

The loggia is 2 squares - one of Palladio's 7 favorite room shapes.

The side rooms are also his "beautiful proportions". Upper right: the square with its width the diagonal of the square. Middle right: the square and a half. Lower right: a square and two thirds.

The main hall is different, not only grand with columns, but centered on the whole house
The upper columns' location comes from the lines. They are at one of the thirds of the square floor plan. The lower columns are then placed the same distance from the wall for symmetry. The diagonals on each side position the columns more directly.
The squares overlap - not in a proportion that Palladio admired. However the overlap is the width of the doors which run from one end of the house to the other.

* fabric is an archaic word for a building, My copy of Palladio was translated into English around 1738.

Andrea Palladio, The Four Books of Architecture, published by Isaac Ware, London, 1738, reprinted by Dover Publications, Inc. NY, 1965.

I will add the practical geometry of the facade next.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Serlio writes about Practical Geometry

The  hypothetical church facade - below -  drawn by Sebastiano Serlio, 1475-1554, was one of the illustrations in his  'Architettura', published in 5 volumes, beginning in 1537. It was translated from Italian into Dutch, then into English in 1611. Christopher Wren and Inigo Jones both had copies.
In 1996 it was translated again by Vaughan Hart and Peter Hicks.

For me a drawing of a building is as good evidence of someone's thinking as his/her words in a book. Here I have both.

This image is informed by geometry.
The extravagance of details - plinth blocks, double columns, not one but three oriel window, stone worked in patterns, is startling. Nothing here is backdrop; all is to be seen. Serlio holds it all together with geometry.

I've put the diagrams for the image at the end of this post because I want to first show a few explanations he gave about the use of geometry.

Serlio's Book I, On Geometry, is not very long, 13 pages.

Here are 2 illustrations.

He presents a problem to the reader on the last page: how to design a door for an existing church.
The answer is, if the church has pillars to take the width between the columns as the dimension of a square, "as high as broad," adding
"the diagonal lines,and the other two cross  cutting lines" will not only give you "the width of the door but also the places and points of the ornaments of the same door as you may see here in this figure."  

The diagram is part of what today we call The Rule of Thirds.  It can regularly be seen in  pre-WWI American construction in layout and design.

Serlio also shows 3 ways to lay out an ellipse. Here are two.

Draw a circle and add one on each side. The left and right sides of the outside circles are the ends of the ellipse.
He does not comment about the need to set the circles on a line - which will establish the point on the circumference where the next circle is added, nor that a line perpendicular to the first line is also necessary to find the points T and K. These are details an experienced mason or carpenter would have known. The
T and K become the centers for radii to draw arcs of the upper and lower sections of the ellipse. "Then placing one point of the compass at K you must " draw "a line with the other point from the figure of 1 to 2.... This figure is very like the form of an Egge."    

The second example begins with 2 squares and their diagonals. The radius for the ends of the ellipse is half the diagonal, g to 1 for example. The radius for the top and bottom of the ellipse is the whole diagonal, f to 2.

Here is the diagram  Owen Biddle of Philadelphia added to his instructions for drawing an ellipse in his pattern book published in 1805.

He did not seem to know of Serlio's layout which looks to be simpler.

Practical Geometry:
The main floor is made up of 2 squares, or perhaps 1 square in the middle and a half square on each side.
The upper floor is also 2 squares if its arcs are included.
I drew in red the diagonals of the squares on the right side. I also extended the main floor diagonal with a dotted line on the upper floor to show how one part is an extension of the other.

On the left side I drew the diagram shown above that Serlio drew for finding a door. Here it indicates the location of the oriel window and the edges of the rounded pediment over the window.

This engraving's  proportions are a little off. Is it because it's just hypothetical, or because it has been reprinted so many times?

Footnotes: I am reading Serlio's  Architettura, Book I, 1611, English translation,  on-line, printing parts of it and then enlarging the page. The English is archaic. So is the spelling. The printing blurred. If I read it out loud it is easier, much like reading hand written property deeds from the 1830's and '40's. The diagrams are clear!

2 books on early American libraries do not mention Serlio.
American Architects and Their Books to 1848, edited by Kenneth Hafertepe and James F. O'Gorman, 2001, U. Mass. Press, Amherst. MA.
Architectural Books in Early America, Janice G. Schimmelman, 1999, Oak Knoll Press, New Castle, DE.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The Bible and Vitruvius knew about Practical Geometry; Plato did too.

Practical Geometry  -  A lecture for SAH, Latrobe Chapter , May 9, 2017
I will be in Washington, DC, speaking to architectural historians

The lecture will be copiously illustrated, but not hands-on. Unlike the IPTN Workshops no one will learn to use a compass.

Preparing a talk always requires that I do more research, more than I can share in one talk. So here is some of what I will paraphrase, starting with what was written at least 2600 years ago.

Compasses,  basic tools in geometry, have been standard equipment for builders since early times.In the Bible, the 6th c, BCE, the prophet Isaiah describes the work of woodsmen, blacksmiths, and carpenters as he deplores the creation of graven images:
Isaiah 44: The carpenter stretches out his rule: he marks it out with a line; he fits it with planes, and he marks it out with the compass.

  Vitruvius,1st. c. BCE, does not write easily. He works hard to find the right phrase. However, he is so present, so involved, that I enjoy his work. I feel as if  he is here, intently explaining an idea. I wish I could have discussed Vitruvius with the translator of my edition, Morris Hickey Morgan,

Vitruvius,  The Ten Books of Architecture,
Book I, Chapter I, The Education of the Architect

1: Theory ... is the ability to demonstrate and explain ... the principals of proportion.

3:  Neither natural ability without instruction nor instruction without natural ability can make the perfect artist. Let him be educated, skillful with the pencil, instructed in geometry,know much history,  have followed the philosophers with attention, understand music...  

He then elaborates (I have left some of it out but it is well worth reading ):
...he must have knowledge of drawing s that he can readily make sketches to show the appearance of the work which he proposes. Geometry, also, is of much assistance in architecture, and in particular it teaches us the use of the rule and compasses, by which especially we acquire  readiness for making plans for buildings in their grounds, and rightly apply the square, the level and the plummet. .. It is true that it is by arithmetic that the total of buildings is calculated and measurements are computed, but difficult questions involving symmetry are solved by means of geometrical theories and methods.

Chapter II, The Fundamental Principles of Architecture

1: Architecture depends on Order, Arrangement, Eurythmy, Symmetry, Propriety, and Economy.   
Vitruvius then writes a paragraph for each idea. Again I am quoting pieces, and suggest you enjoy reading the whole
2: Order gives due measure to the members of a work considered separately, and symmetrical agreement to the proportions of the whole... selection of the modules from the members of the work itself, and starting from these individual parts of members, constructing the whole work to correspond.
3. Eurythmy is beauty and fitness in the adjustments of the members. This is found when the members of a work are at a height suited to their breadth, of a breadth suited to their length, and in a word that they all correspond symmetrically.
4. Symmetry is a proper agreement between the members of the work itself, and relationship between the different parts and the whole general scheme, in accordance to a certain part selected as a standard.

Vitruvius then  mentions how in the human body there is a kind of symmetrical harmony -   which becomes in the Renaissance the Vitruvian Man.

Chapter III.
Buildings must be ... built with due reference to durability, convenience and beauty. Beauty is when the appearance of the work is pleasing and in good taste, and when its members are in due proportion according to correct principles of geometry.

Book IX, Introduction
Vitruvius praises the Greek writers, specifically Aristotle, Democritus, Plato and Pythagoras. He specifically discusses Plato and Pythagoras.

3. ... Of their many discoveries that have been useful for the development of humans life, I will site a few examples.
4. First of all, among the many very useful theorems of Plato, I will cite one as demonstrated by him.
Paragraphs 4 and 5 are examples of  Plato's teachings of geometry.Paraphrasing, a square field needs to be doubled in size, and still be square. Vitruvius says finding the side of the new square cannot be done with arithmetic and describes this :

A-B-C-D is a square. A-C is its diagonal. The triangle A-B-C is the same size as A-C-D. Using A-C as the side of the new square , see that A-C-E-F is made up of 4 triangles, each the size of the original 2 in A-B-C-D.
Look at that! A-C-E- F is twice as big!

 Paragraphs 6,7, and 8 describe Pythagoras'  knowledge of the 3/4/5 right triangle:
7. ...When Pythagoras discovered this fact, he had no doubt that the Muses had guided him in the discovery, and it is said that he very gratefully offered sacrifice to them. 

Book IX goes on to discuss the zodiac, planets, astrology, phases of the moon and sundials.

I have not yet read Plato or Pythagoras on geometry.
Next post will be a brief review of  the use of geometry in Medieval Europe.

Vitruvius, The Ten Books on Architecture, translated by Morris Hicky Morgan, Harvard University, 1916, reprinted by Dover Publications, Inc. 1960

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Jackson, NY, House - geometry, dating, some beautiful craftsmanship, Part 6 of 6

This is the last post of 6 about a c. 1820 18' x 36' wing on a  Jackson, NY,  farm house. I assume the reader has read the earlier posts.

Practical Geometry

A measured frame is always, for me, an opportunity to learn how Practical Geometry was used.

Here is the framing for the west side of the wing.

and here the geometry:

The basic geometry for the building is 2 squares, each 18 ft x 18 ft. The floor plan is 18 ft wide by 36 ft long. The framing elevation is also 2 squares 18 ft x 18 ft. I show only the right half.

The 2nd floor height is half the height of the square - 9 ft.

The Rule of Thirds lines cross at A  the height of the wall.
The lines also cross at B  the center line of the window farthest to the right.

I have not drawn all the lines for the Rule of Thirds star. They run from all the corners to all the centers of the sides of the square.

The larger square can be divided into 4 smaller squares. One is outlined on the lower left.
The window next to the door is located at the center of the right half the lower left square  - at C. 

Dating the wing by its technology

The sheathing boards are cut by a sash saw. The house was framed 'pre-circular saw' which seems to be c. 1830.

The mortise and tendon frame is augmented by nailed framing members. The frame itself is cut, not hewn. Nails begin to be manufactured in the early 1800's and come into general use by 1820.

There is both a Rumford fireplace and space provided for a cast iron stove, especially the framing for the chimney which begins on the 2nd fl. Cast iron stoves began to be manufactured c. 1820. Rumford fireplaces were still being built.

The brick used for the fireplace, the chimneys and the nogging is soft and water struck, still baked in a kiln fired by charcoal.

For pictures of these details please see the earlier posts in this series.

Beautiful craftsmanship

The top plate of the frame has unusual bird's mouth  - the joint which seats the rafter on the plate. Here is a quiet piece of craft known only to the carpenters until the frame was uncovered.

As the corner boards were removed from the house the boards looked worn out, rotted, junk. The framers disconnected the boards and saw how carefully shaped and pieced the boards were, not only as a graceful edge, but to resist rain and wind.

This particular corner detail was also used by the Shakers locally in Lebanon, NY, and in Harvard, MA.
It was also used on the 1837 house of Elizabeth Cady Stanton in Seneca Falls, NY.

I keep this section in my office .

The frieze board and its molding comes to the eave return and curls into a point at the intersection of the walls.

A Look Back

This was my first view of this house.

Below is what it looked like in 1820.

The link to  the men who took down and repaired this house, Green Mountain Timber Frames: .