Reminiscing is colored, splatter, obfuscated and twisted by emotion. Nostalgia in and of it self makes us long for times gone by. What we remember or perceive is probably not exactly how events unfurled or how things were always done.
Not long ago I had written a post where I had in part expounded on the building practices of yester year. As always when making a comparison of old to new, a few lovers of the old stuff had taken a differing point of view.
There seems to be this ingrained idea that people did better work back in the day. As I said before, the crumby stuff built a 100 years ago has all fallen down and been replaced. Well not all of it.
The other morning I had the pleasure of inspecting a house just a few years shy of 100. It is on a street of beautiful old houses, an affluent area in its day.
As I worked my way through the house from the attic on down, one feature was very apparent. The floors were sloped. Now sloped floors in a hundred year old house are anything but uncommon, however these floors were a bit more sloped that usual.
I couldn't wait to see the basement.
As I entered one of the first things I noticed was the new lumber that made up newer beams and columns. It turned out there were three individual newer beams. One of these new beams was failing rather dramatically, twisting under its load.
But what was the cause for all the sagging and the inevitable failure of the house structure? Simply a poorly built house.
The builder was obviously not a knowledgeable fellow. Examining the floor structure, what I found was to me unbelievable. The floor structure and probably the rest of the house had been built and secured by mortise and tenon. This is where the end of a board is basically made into a peg and inserted into a slot made in another board. By cutting the 2 x 8 board ends down to about an inch and a half, the load bearing capacity of each joist is effectively reduced to that dimension. It's amazing a serious failure hasn't occurred by now.
Yep, they don't build 'em like they used to.
Thank goodness for that!