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Re: Details, Struts, Thrust, Etc.

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>I figure that the guys who built these houses were somehow
>mentally wired by experience or dna to intuitively understand where the
>forces went and what it took to provide structural stability.
I used to think that's how the old cathedrals were built--the touch of 
the master's hand. Turns out more than a few of them had problems ranging 
all the way to total collapse. 

No doubt the builders who put those places up, like the ones who built my 
kids' houses in 1904 and 1920 something, knew their business, but I 
suspect they learned it from their own mistakes and, if they were very 
smart, the mistakes of others. I spent a few weeks in the UK marvelling 
at the Tower of London and other old buildings and castles. One of the 
most impressive was Caerphilli Castle just north of Cardiff. It was built 
to put the fear of the Normans into the Welsh, and it must've done that, 
judging by my reaction, because it was never taken by storm. It did have 
serious structural problems apparently resulting from settling. One large 
tower has tipped about 10 degrees and there are cracks in the walls, that 
look like settlement. Still--it's stood for 800 years, and probably would 
withstand an attacks today like the ones it withstood in the 13th and 
14th century. wales is full of places like that--they're truly magic. 

Christopher Wright P.E.    |"They couldn't hit an elephant at
chrisw(--nospam--at)        | this distance"   (last words of Gen.
___________________________| John Sedgwick, Spotsylvania 1864)

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