This section is from the book "Spons' Mechanics' Own Book: A Manual For Handicraftsmen And Amateurs", by Edward Spon. Also available from Amazon: Spons' Mechanics' Own Book.
These should commence with a foundation of brick or stone work carried up about 1 1/2 ft. above ground, or failing these materials, stout logs may be laid down. At proper intervals, the upright posts are inserted in this foundation, and prepared to receive the walling. This may consist of hewn slabs of timber for the outside lining, with an inner one of felt, Willesden paper, canvas, match-boarding, or whatever may be convenient, the intermediate space between the 2 linings, representing the thickness of the uprights, being packed full with earth, dry moss, or other non-conducting substance. Simple uprights will suffice when there is to be only one storey - a "ground floor"; but when a second storey is added, struts and braces must be provided to strengthen the uprights. The Americans have much improved upon the ordinary system of constructing wooden frame houses, by arranging the timbers so that nearly all strains come lengthwise on the fibres, and by relying upon nails driven diagonally rather than on tenons, scarfs, and other weakening cuts into the wood.
Thus in erecting a small timber house, the site is levelled, and a few inches in depth of the soil is removed and replaced by a layer of non-absorbent material, such as furnace clinker; on this is laid a sill a (Fig. 1410) forming the whole foundation, measuring 6 to 8 in. by 3 in., and carrying the joist b and stud d, each simply nailed by spikes driven diagonally, the joist b supporting the floor boards c. If the spaces between the joists are filled with non-absorbent material up to the level of the floor, an advantage will be gained in dryness, quietness, and general comfort; concrete will be even more desirable. Generally the sills simply meet at the corners, but they may be halved together as at a b, Fig. 1411, if preferred, c being the joist, and d the stud. In small buildings, the studs are best set as in Fig. 1412, where a is the joist and b c the 2 studs. When an upstairs floor is to be built, a notch is cut in the inner face of the studs, as at a b c, Fig. 1413, measuring 4 in. deep and in. wide, for the reception of a bearer to carry the joists : see Fig. 1414, where a is the stud, b the flooring joist, and c the intervening bearer, 1 in. wide and 1 in. deep.
If it should be necessary to lengthen a stud, this is done by putting the extra piece end to and with the first, as at a b, Fig. 1415, either with or without a mortice and tenon joint and nailing pieces of 1-in. board c on each side. To support the roof, a wall plate e is ailed on the square tops of the studs a b, Fig. 1416; the lower ends of the rafters are fetched out to fit on the wall plate, one falling exactly over each stud as in Fig. 1417. being the stud, b the wall plate, and c the rafter.