Wattle (construction)

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A wattle fence at Sanok-Skansen outdoor museum in Poland Zagroda z Roznowic (Rozenberg, 1858).JPG
A wattle fence at Sanok-Skansen outdoor museum in Poland

Wattle is a lightweight construction material made by weaving thin branches (either whole, or more usually split) or slats between upright stakes to form a woven lattice. It has commonly been used to make fences and hurdles for enclosing ground or handling livestock. The wattle may be made as loose panels, slotted between timber framing to make infill panels, or it may be made in place to form the whole of a fence or wall. The technique goes back to Neolithic times.

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A woven wattle gate keeps animals out of the fifteenth-century cabbage patch (Tacuinum Sanitatis, Rouen) Tacuinum Sanitatis-cabbage harvest.jpg
A woven wattle gate keeps animals out of the fifteenth-century cabbage patch ( Tacuinum Sanitatis , Rouen)
A wattle hurdle being made. Wattle hurdle under construction.JPG
A wattle hurdle being made.

It forms the substructure of wattle and daub, a composite building material used for making walls, in which wattle is daubed with a sticky material usually made of some combination of wet soil, clay, sand, animal dung and straw. Wattle and daub has been used for at least 6,000 years, and is still an important construction material in many parts of the world. This process is similar to modern lath and plaster, a common building material for wall and ceiling surfaces, in which a series of nailed wooden strips are covered with plaster smoothed into a flat surface. Many historic buildings include wattle and daub construction, and the technique is becoming popular again in more developed areas as a low-impact sustainable building technique.[ citation needed ]

Square panels

Wattle hurdle or panel. Wattle hurdle.JPG
Wattle hurdle or panel.

Square panels are large, wide panels used as hurdles or forming panelling in some later timber frame houses. They are generally square although sometimes they are triangular to accommodate arched or decorative bracing. This style does require wattles to be woven for better support of the daub.

Construction method

A series of evenly spaced holes are drilled along the middle of the inner face of the upper timber. Next, a continuous groove is cut along the middle of the inner face of the lower timber. Vertical slender timbers, known as staves, are then inserted and these hold the whole panel within the timber frame. The staves are positioned into the holes and then sprung into the grooves. They must be placed with sufficient gaps to weave the flexible horizontal wattles, which are then added.

See also

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References