This section is from the book "Cyclopedia Of Architecture, Carpentry, And Building", by James C. et al. Also available from Amazon: Cyclopedia Of Architecture, Carpentry And Building.
Wood lath is occasionally used, and, in certain sections of the country, apparently with good results. It may be employed in two ways - one, in the ordinary manner, only spacing the laths somewhat further apart than would be advisable on the interior of the dwelling. The other method consists in laving the laths diagonally over the building in such a manner as to form a criss-cross lattice-work. In this case the distance between the laths is from three-quarters to seven-eighths of an inch, so as to allow the plaster to enter easily and form a solid clinch behind these lattice openings. The purpose of the diagonal criss-cross lattice is to provide more or less flexibility for the wall covering, so as to take up, without injuring or cracking the plastering, a certain amount of the movement that may always be expected in a wooden-framed dwelling. This method of employing lath, by the way, is in most localities almost as expensive as the. use of wire or metal lath, which is probably a safer and surer material to employ. As large and as good a quality of heavy wood lath as can be secured, should be provided for exterior work. Lath cracks are also then to be expected, from the same reasons that apply to interior work; while the mortar should be somewhat softer and slower drying when used upon this material than when employed upon a metal surface.
If possible, it is advisable so to arrange the work upon the house that, after the completion of the frame, some time will still elapse before the plaster is applied. If the frame can be boarded in, and the interior of the house plastered and finished under artificial heat during the winter, and the exterior plaster added in the spring, probably the best results are to be expected. Opportunity is then provided for the frame to shrink, settle, and contract. Most of the weight to be placed inside of the building is then also installed before the exterior surface is applied, so that much less strain and movement may be expected afterward to affect it than would be probable under the opposite conditions.