The dining room sole pates
After all the clearing away its now time to start some repairs. Most areas of sole plate (the piece of timber the building sits on) are either severely decayed or have already been poorly replaced in the past. The first thing I need to do is get the cottage structurally sound and that means repairing the sole plates and any areas of lower studwork that is also affected.
Since it encounters the most moisture, its the bottom of the building that usually suffers and this cottage is no exception. Most of the original sole plate was at a quite low level which has meant its spent its life sitting in too much moisture.
I'm going to lift the position of the the plate up. This will mean that the sole plate is away from the moisture and so will remain dry. Also lifting the plate up will minimise the amount of stud repair necessary as I can simply trim off the bottoms of the studwork to form new tenons, instead of having to splice new ends on. This also makes for a much stringer repair - splices are never as strong as one whole piece of wood!
So with props in place and the building supported it was time to remove the first section of sole plate in what will become the dining room. Unfortunately, the brick plinth which supports the plate underneath had been poorly constructed and comprises for the most part of an assortment of bricks, stones and flint. This means that it leaves little sound brickwork from which to build up from.
Therefore before any oak work is carried out 3 courses of solid new brickwork is being laid onto the compacted remains of the original plinth. I'm using the old bricks from the extension that I have already taken down, laid in lime mortar. Once the new plate is in place I can brick up the remaining courses.
Once the first courses of brickwork were laid, I could get the new oak in position. Only a few studs needed some new oak splicing in, so for the most part its a matter of trimming the bottoms of the studs to form new tenons and marking and cutting the mortices.
The first pieces of sole plate repairs, all cleaned up and lifted into place. The blocks will support the plate until the brickwork is laid in between the gaps.
After the fist section of place, its just a matter of continuing the process around the room. Also, here I've included a small cill for the window to properly sit on.
Unfortunately there not much of the original sole plate sound enough to keep as the damp has decay most of it. However, there is a small section in the dividing wall that was worth salvaging. Removing the pegs meant I could drop it out and repair it on the tressles.
And here is the repair, new oak spliced in place and dressed down to fit the shape of the original.