Our ancestors were too busy to leave us the instruction booklet on building cottages, but we have templates aplenty in ruined dwellings and byres.
We’ve come to realise that old buildings have definite standard sizes and shapes – this is confirmed by measuring the pitch of our 300 yr old byre – 36 degrees again.
A wall plate is screwed down into stone then gaps are filled with Lime.
There was a short debate about whether or not to use damp proofing between timber and stone – the verdict was to ‘go commando’.
Especially important when building a rough-hewn yoke of a cottage like this is to ‘balance’ both wall plates. They should be fixed in perfect parallel (left) in case of a discrepancy between gable widths. (3 inches here!)
But due to a stone which sits too broad here, they can’t connect. Kieran remarks (not for the first time): ‘Whoever doubts the strength of Lime should try taking a stone off.’
It is tough stuff yet remains workable insofar it can be chipped away by hand using a sharp tool years after it has set, then reused as fill.
I just love it when the guys ‘make it fit’.