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half-timber work

method of building in which external and internal walls are constructed of timber frames and the spaces between the structural members are filled with such materials as brick, plaster, or wattle and daub. Traditionally, a half-timbered building was made of squared oak timbers joined by mortises, tenons, and wooden pegs; the building's cagelike structural skeleton is often strengthened at the corners with braces. This method of timber framing was adapted to both low, rambling country homes and six- or seven-storied buildings in crowded towns. In the 20th century a modified version of the method was still being used, in which light sills, studs, and joists only 2 inches (5 cm) thick are nailed together to make the house's frame in place of the old pegged girts, beams, and braces. Where only the decorative effect of half-timber work is desired, boards are applied to a wall surface in a sham version of the old structural pattern

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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