In localities where lumber is plenty and saw-mills conveniently near, the strongest, most weather-tight walls, as well as those most easy of construction, are formed of plank of any thickness, and three and four inches wide, laid alternately on their sides, every other plank to project on the inside, and all to be flush on the outside. Thus the projecting courses on the inside will serve to hold the plastering, and the expense of lathing will be saved. The object of the two breadths of plank, namely, three inches and four inches, will be easily understood. In the sawing up of twelve-inch plank for this purpose, one will require three cuts and another but two, and so on alternately, until all the material for the walls is prepared.
The work of construction is so very simple that any man, with a boy’s help, can put up a neat, tidy, comfortable shell of a small cottage in a very short time. The plank, say two inches thick, can be handled with the greatest ease, being comparatively light. At the quoins or corners they must lap each other as every second course, and these quoins must be well secured together with two iron spikes, previously dipped in linseed oil. At every fourth course of plank inch auger holes are to be made, at, say, three feet distant from each other, all around the walls, and into these holes oak-pins are to be driven; and this operation must be performed so as to break joint all the way up. Where doors and windows occur, the frames will be inserted and the plank cut in accordance.
Partition-walls can be made up in the same manner, using only the three-inch planks, and projecting them alternately on each side; thus presenting the two surfaces prepared to receive the plastering. It would be advisable to let the planks of partitions into the main walls occasionally, so as to lock the work well and make all permanent.
These walls and partitions, it will be observed, offer no chance for rat or mice to establish themselves. Three good coats of economic paint, properly sanded, will give to the outside a very neat appearance; and as the plank are laid on their sides, there is nothing to be dreaded from shrinkage.
For those who are fortunately located, as we before stated, with reference to saw-mills and lumber, this offers a means of cottage-building of the most desirable description, and that there are hundreds of thousands who will be able to avail themselves of it, the fast filling up bushlands of the United States and Canada will surely attest.
In the construction of such cottage-walls, we would caution the constructor against using any plank which is soppy, or which has any symptom whatever of unsoundness; as, when once set in the walls and driven tightly home, it will speedily generate rot, and infect the whole locality in which it has been foolishly placed. It would be well if, whilst the builder is collecting the various other materials and preparing his foundation, the plank to be used in the wall were set out in the air, and a space left between each two planks to permit of the free action of the seasoning influence of the atmosphere. No timbers are requisite in this mode of construction, as the tightly pinned together courses of plank are equivalent in themselves to solid timber.
The roof might judiciously be a bracketed one, extending at its eaves say two feet beyond the walls. The brackets to be built in securely among the planks of the walls, which will, of necessity, be cut in requisite lengths for that purpose. Thus no entrance will be left for the weather between the wall-top and the roof, and no further finish to the eaves will be required save that presented by neatly planed and chamfered brackets.