Oronoque Saltbox Historic Home Survey
Just like the hall chamber, the parlor chamber provided yet another remarkable example of early timber frame construction. This was the only room of the entire house whose ceiling was framed with a summer beam, which, by itself, was a rather unusual discovery. But the summer and its attendant joist system were in remarkably good condition, and pleasing to look at (photos PC1, PC2).
A point of interest here was that the bottom faces of the joists and summer beam appeared to have deliberately been aligned to the same depth, and clearly this had been done with the intent of supporting a level plaster ceiling. In fact, there were many obvious traces of that earlier plaster work on the framing members, including cross marks on the joists, and plaster lines running the lengths of the tie-beams and girts, with obvious discoloration in the timbers both above and below (PC16).
Yet another point of interest was the odd use of fastened “stops” in the chamfered bottom edges of the summer beam, and fill pieces in the reductions of the joists where they were framed into the summer. My conclusion is that much of this had been done to provide a level plane for the attachment of plaster lath (PC9).
Finally, the parlor chamber provide an excellent view of a through tenon-and-mortise joint with diminished shoulder (PC20). In fact, this was the same joint I’d photographed from the other side while in the attic (A21), and it formed the connection between the tie-beam and rear post of Bent III.