We took a side job this past Saturday, returning to ye old stomping grounds for a day–
The earth-fast (without foundation) house was suffering from the onset of chimney lean.
This is to be expected as the oak posts and studs decay at differing rates in the ground.
We’d done a similar fix before.
This time, the chimney was out of plumb about 2 feet.
Some 400 year old friends came to wish us well-
We punched holes in clapboards and daub (a clay mortar) and ran a strap from the outside of the chimney down to the opposing tie beam.
Then we opened up the thatch and poles between the house’s two rooms to allow half of the roof system to move.
By design, there isn’t a lot of lateral support in the roof frame. These cottages were meant to represent the quick and dirty build of the colony’s first settlers who needed shelter, not manor houses.
Rafters leaned in concert with the chimney–
We used a pipe shore beneath the chimney lintel to carry the load while digging out beneath the posts.
To bring the chimney back to plumb, we needed to cut 7.5 inches off of their bottoms.
Once the posts were footed with flat stones, we eased off the strain above and below and slowly cranked the roof system towards plumb.
There is a pleasant FRAP sound as all the elements of the frame move together.
After a morning’s prep, it only took a few minutes to bring the chimney and roof frame back to plumb.
As a bonus, nary a chink of clay mortar fell out during the process.
And the loft floor above, which had been been affected by the chimney lean, also came back to level.
As the day wound down, Justin and Michael gathered up spars and sways (wooden fastenings) to put back the thatch.
Mister Burrey truly enjoys going back to his roots. The work–like the houses–is elemental and, dare I say, good for the soul.
And the view–not to mention the indefatigable spirits of the good people on the front lines of this institution–is one thing which refuses to be dampened by listing chimneys or otherwise.
For a pilgrim’s take on the process, check out this blog post: http://blogs.plimoth.org/pilgrim-blog/?p=3554
Rock on with your bad selves–