The braced, or full frame, as it is sometimes called, was the only kind in vogue previous to about the year 1850. In this method of framing the sills, posts, girts and plate are made of heavy timbers, and are all mortised and pinned together and also braced by 4x4 or 4x6 timbers, mortised and pinned to post, sill and girt. The common studding is also mortised to the sills, girts and plate. To frame a building in this way it is necessary to cut all the pieces and make all the mortise holes on the ground, and then fit them together and raise a whole side at a time, or at least one story of it.
In Colonial days the posts and girts were often made of hewn timbers 8 and 10 inches square, so that they projected into the rooms, and it required a great many men to raise the walls when the fitting was completed.
The braced frame, when carefully fitted and pinned, is very substantial and is much more slow burning than the balloon frame, and vermin cannot go through the walls from one story to another. It is also very difficult to "rack" such a frame, and all posts must be plumb and parallel or the braces will not fit.
The Balloon Frame is composed of much lighter pieces, and is more quickly erected and at much less expense. The method of procedure in erecting a balloon frame is to first lay the sill, which is generally 4x6 inches, halved together at the angles, and after the floor is laid the corner posts, which are generally 4x6, although sometimes 4x4, are set up and secured temporarily in place by means of "stay laths," or pieces of boards nailed diagonally to post and sill. The common or filling in studding are then set up, with their lower ends spiked to the sill, and stayed in place by nailing a board temporarily across the studding on the inside. The filling in pieces extend the whole height from sill to plate, and the second floor joists are supported by notching a 1x7 board, called a false girt or ribbon, into their inside edge at the proper height to receive the joist. The ends of the joist are also placed against a stud, wherever practicable, and spiked to it.
After the second floor is on, the top of the studding is cut to a line and a 2x4 spiked on top, and then another 2x4 on top of that, the two pieces always breaking joint. If the common studding comes in lengths that will not reach to the plate they are spliced out with short pieces set on top and the joint "fished" by nailing short pieces of boards on each side.
Fig. 18 shows a portion of the framework of a two-story house constructed in the manner described above. In the better class of buildings the frame is braced at the corners by means of 1 x6 boards, let in flush with the outside of the studding and nailed at each intersection with two or three ten-penny nails, as shown in the figure. In many cheap buildings these braces are omitted, but unless the sheathing is put on diagonally they should always be used. In the balloon frame the timbers are held together entirely by nails and spikes, thus permitting the frame to be rapidly put up. For the timbers and studding thirty and twenty-penny spikes should be used, and for the 1-inch stuff ten-penny nails. Cut nails are to be preferred, as they hold better than wire nails.
In both methods of framing the studding is doubled each side of the window and door openings. In the balloon frame it is necessary that the double studs shall extend the full height of the wall, and hence it is desirable to have the windows in the second story directly over those in the first story. In the full frame, however, the common studding only extends the height of one story, and it makes no difference in regard to the construction where the windows are placed.
The balloon frame is much cheaper than the braced frame, and as it is concealed when the house is sheathed and plastered, balloon framing is generally employed for houses built to sell, and _s the general method in vogue in the Northwest Such a frame, however, is less rigid than the braced frame and is more quickly consumed by fire.