Chapter 5

5. Types of Iron Ties. 1/6.

This section serves both as a proposed glossary of terms and to introduce the types of ironwork repairs discovered during field work. It should not be accepted as an exhaustive list but as a starting point. The main glossary is listed in Appendix 1.

5.1 Hooks.
A form of tie that relies on the hooked form of one of its terminals to secure the timbers in place (Fig. 5.1). These are typically used to reinforce the joint between a wall tie and the wall plate. The end that secures the wall plate has a tang that passes over, down and then reverses under the timber (Figs. 5.2 & 5.3). The other end can be cramped, secured by staples or nails or possibly be threaded to pass through a timber (draw-tie).

Hooked tie from Barley Barn

Fig. 5.1. A hooked tie removed from the Barley Barn during renovations in 1989. The section is constant and has been twisted through ninety degrees to facilitate the hook. Three large, rose-headed nails were used to fasten it and the areas around the punched holes have been upset locally. There are few hammer marks indicating the original strip was milled. Most likely 19th century.

Hooked and cramped ties

Fig. 5.2. A hooked tie compared to a cramped L-tie. This tie has been worked hard under the hammer. The arm has been fullered and drawn down to a tapering section. The crook has been upset so the change of plane can be achieved without twisting and the tail also fullered and drawn down. The circular holes have been hot punched without local upsetting. The tip has been broken off and may have been originally cramped.

Hooked and cramped tie in-situ

Fig. 5.3. A hooked tie with a cramped point in-situ in the Barley Barn, Cressing Temple. A pair for the hook-tie in Fig. 5.2. It is fastened with circular headed clout nails. The archaic features of this tie may indicate it has been re-used or refastened with 19th century fixings.

5.2 L-ties.
A tie wrought in the shape of the letter L (Fig. 5.4). The most common form of binding tie, used to reinforce most timbers set at right angles to each other. Secured with staples and/or nails. The tail may be cramped, pierced to take nails, spread or even bifurcated for stability (Figs. 5.5 - 5.7). L-ties like all other iron work repairs were not designed to be seen and are normally simple in design with an economy of fixings. Where they are not, they are likely to be affixed either to great houses or to be modern pastiches (Figs.5.8). L-ties of the 18th century may be 'three-times-bent' in a serpentine fashion (Fig 5.9).

Early L-tie

Fig. 5.4. A typical early L-tie securing the under-built front of Oak Cottage, Great Yeldham. The marks of the hammer are quite clear as is the upset crook. The arm is pierced to take nails and also nibbed for a square staple. The tail has also been pierced for a nail. The underbuilt jetty was recorded in an early 19th century painting and so indicates an 18th century date for the tie.

Head of L-tie

Fig.5.5. Often the only evidence for L-ties is the presence of the tail as the arm is buried in the building. This is one of a series used in the wholesale repairs of Oak Cottage, Great Yeldham.

L-tie with spread terminal

Fig 5.6. These L-ties on 31 High Street, Lavenham have been spread and pierced for nail holes. This appears to be a local feature in Lavenham, Suffolk.

Spread and nailed terminal

Fig. 5.7. An L-tie with a spread and nailed terminal on the Guildhall in Lavenham. Compare with Fig. 5.6.

Bifurcated terminal on L-tie

Fig.5.8. A stapled L-tie on the fašade of The Manor House, Lavenham. The terminal has been bifurcated in a decorative fashion. Lavenham was a failed wool town which resulted in the crystallisation of the buildings in the 17th century. There was an upsurge of traditional repairs in the 1950's and this mild steel tie was made then. (Owner, pers comm).

Three times bent L-tie

Fig 5.9. Orchard Cottage, Foxearth, Essex. A 'three-times-bent' serpentine L-tie with a stapled arm and a cramped tail. The square section nails also have square heads. This is identical to those described by Harrison in his report of the 18th century barn at Acol, Kent.

5.3. Plates and strips, 5.4. Flitch plates, 5.5. Fish Plates.

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