Wattle & Daub: Craft, Conservation & Wiltshire Case Study
3.6 Daub
4.1 Soils
4.1.3 Strength
4.2 Dung
4.2.2 Lignin
4.2.3 Urine
4.3 Fibre
5.4.2 Renewal

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3.2 Frame Preparation

Before the dauber could carry out his craft, it was necessary for the carpenter to provide the correct detailing to his frame in order to accept the staves of the wattle panel. The bottom timber would be either part of a cill beam, mid rail (bressumer) or nogging and, before construction, the carpenter would gouge a long continuous groove along the centre-line of its upper face. The top of the panel may similarly have been formed by a mid rail or wall plate, onto which the carpenter would use an auger to prepare holes spaced approximately 250-450mm apart, ensuring that one was placed 0-50mm in from each end. Less commonly, the stave holes were made into rectangular mortices, rough v-groove mortices or a continuous v-slot gouged on the soffit (underside) to match the lower rail [Figu[22]].22 Sometimes, the end staves were run into the same mortice as the adjacent structur[23] timber.23 The carpenter frequently provided additional grooves along the inside faces of the posts or studs to accept laths or, occasionally, the ends of withies [Figure 9].

Figure 10. Variety in panel shape required different techniques to infill. From Mercer (1975).

Figure 11. Configuration of staves and wattle in a braced panel. From Reid (1989).
Figure 12. A braced panel wattled by altering the angle of the withies.

Figure 13. Decorative panel bracing applied in front of wattle. Adapted from Reid (1989).

[22] The grooves and stave holes often provide archaeology that indicate where a wattle and daub panel has been removed or where a timber has been reused for another purpose.
[23] Thompson (2003), p.2.