IRONWORK REPAIRS IN TIMBER-FRAMED BUILDINGS.
5. Types of Iron Ties.
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
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).
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.
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.
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.
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).
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
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.
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.
An L-tie with a spread and nailed terminal on the Guildhall in Lavenham. Compare
with Fig. 5.6.
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).
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.
Plates and strips, 5.4. Flitch plates, 5.5. Fish Plates.