Joinery: First Floor

As Godchaux Plantation was built in a series of construction phases, studying the joinery allows for the building to be dated though the types of joints used. Three construction phases are certain (Phases 1, II, and III), Phase IV and Phase V are purely speculative. There was not enough (or any in most places) old joinery to make a valid assessment.

e) Longitudinal Beveled and Tabled Half-Scarf Joints: These have been found on the outer perimeter walls of the southeast and southwest elevations. These are likely from Phase II of construction.

f) Full-shouldered Mortise-and-Tenon: Found in the middle of the southern elevation and are likely from Phase I of construction.

g) Barefaced Tenon Joints: Found on the entire southern elevation, indicating phase one and being incorporated when the porch was added in Phase II.

h) Abandoned Center Mortises: Located in the sill in the middle of the southern elevation, these indicate girders were removed after Phase I.

i) Scarf Joints, Halved and Tabled: Found at the structural center of the building and the center of the southern elevation sill, indicating they were original to the building’s first phase of construction.

j) Mortise-and-Tenon Joints, Type II: Found in the middle of the southern elevation, from Phase I or II.

k) Abandoned Double-Shouldered Mortise: Found in the southeast side elevation, likely Phase II.

l) Mortise-and-Tenon Joint, Type III: Found on smaller and smoother sawn timbers, likely Phase III.

m) Mortise-and-Tenon Joint, Type IV: Similar to Type III, found on timbers smoother sawn and smaller than Type I and II, also likely Phase III.

n) Joist-in-Beam Joints,Type II: Smaller, smoother sawn, and cut differently than Type I; likely Phase III.

o) Butt Joints: These join smaller to larger timbers may be Phase III or IV.

p) Edge-Halved Scarf Joints: These join lumber of the same size and are found in the larger of the butt joints; likely Phase III.

q) Abandoned Top Mortise: This is either a remnant of Phase II or removed during Phase III.

A) Mortise-and-Tenon with Peg: The majority of the second floor framing uses mortise-and-tenon joints which are secured with a wooden peg. In the center room, thought to be original construction, the framing members are heavy and rough hewn, and the walls are infilled with bousillage.

B) Double Mortise-and-Tenon: At the corners of the center room, a double mortise-and-tenon is used for added stability.

C) Abandoned Half-Lapped Mortise-and-Tenon Joints: Dovetail joints were used in the original framing for ceiling joists. Ceiling joists were overturned to sit on top of top plate during a later renovation.

D) Dovetail Tenons: Dovetail tenons can be observed on either side of the fireplace in the central room. This indicates the fireplace may have been rebuilt or relocated after the original construction.

E) Hand-Hewn Mortise-and-Tenon Without Peg : Hand-hewn mortise-and tenon-joints without pegs are found throughout the southeast, northeast and northwest rooms. These members are narrower than those in the central room and probably date to the second phase of construction.

F) Sawn Members, Toenailed or Mortise-and-Tenon, Without Peg: Sawn members attached either with mortise-and-tenon, but more likely toenailed into the top plate.

G) Cut Tenon with Peg: Cut tenons with peg are found in all rooms. They are the result of changing the structural framing to accommodate windows and doors to their current location. This may have happened more than once, but the current configuration is likely from the third phase of building, indicated by the presence of dimensional lumber in the framing.

H) Shoulder Joint with Peg:This joint is found only in one part of the house, a bricked-in entryway on the south wall of the northwest room. An abandoned mortise on the corresponding corner stud on the other side of the original frame suggests this may have been part of the original porch structure before expansion.

I) Longitudinal Beveled and Tabled Half-Scarf Joints: Found in the top plate of the east wall of the southeast room, likely from the second phase of construction.

J) Curved Door or Window Transom: A partially obscured door transom can be seen in the west central room. Part of the original construction, the opening was filled in during a later phase of construction.