Samoan Material Culture
Tala rounded end sections
Tala rounded end sections
The end sections of the long house and the round house are the same in every detail of construction. The main features are the curved wall plate which thus becomes a curb plate, the curved main purlins built up of several pieces to form arches, and the continued disappearance of principal rafters.
Preparation of curb plates and arched purlins. With the solid wood needed for large houses, it is no longer possible to bend a straight piece into a curb plate, nor is it compatible with the status of the house to use the split curved purlin (fau sasae). The arches, whether curb plate or purlin, are made of short lengths of breadfruit wood, worked to a slight curve and joined together. The verb "to lash" is fau, and because the arches are lashed together, they are all termed fau. The curved purlin name, therefore, is derived from construction. In time, the name became associated with function, and was then applied to the split purlin which is not lashed together. To mark this difference, the qualifying word sasae (split) was always used with the split purlin (fau sasae). The split purlin must have had some other older name that has been dropped or was not obtained by me.
Figure 33.—Right-angled and slant joins:
a, the right-angled join where the overlap (1-2) is comparatively short for lashing purposes; b, by slanting the end surfaces, the overlap (1-2) is considerably lengthened; c, the right-angled join with short vertical surfaces (3, 4) and a longer horizontal surface (5) resists inward pressure but not outward pull; d, the slant join with the surfaces (3,4) lengthened and the middle surface (5) shortened as the function of overlapping held by this surface in the right-angled join has been transferred to the longer slant surfaces (3, 4). The short surface (5) prevents outward pull taking effect; it is termed the lave and the thinner part (6) beyond it that runs to a point is the ulupale.
The shaping of the short lengths is carried on by the older carpenters in the shed while the middle section is being constructed. The thickness of the pieces varies with the different arches as does the amount of curve. Beyond the fact that the curb plate must be the same diameter as the wall plate, the middle arch a little less, and the other arches graduated smaller, the workers rely on experience. If a piece of wood is spoiled for one purpose, it can be used for another and the cost of material is not borne by the builders.
Each end of the pieces is shaped for the joint except the parts that form the ends of the arches. The join is the so'o mat a sai, already seen in the thatch rafters. The curve of the wood forms no difficulty. The right-angled page 46join sometimes used in straight beams, such as the collar beams and the main plates, is shown in figure 33. When lashed—for the Samoans did not use nails—a pull away from the joint is not resisted except by the tightness of the lashing. The join thus acts as a strut against longitudinal inward pressure towards the joint, but is weak as a tie in preventing outward pull. In the slanting join, the opposite holds. Inward pressure toward the joint is not resisted by the structure of the joint, but by the lashing keeping the overlap together. Outward pull is structurally resisted by the locking of the two middle surfaces. The right-angled join could have been made on curved pieces just as readily as the slanting join, and improved for lashing by lengthening the middle surface. The preference for the slanting join will be evident later when the arches are erected. The curved lengths are fitted together to form arches, which, in the house, are directed with the convexity upwards and outwards. (See fig. 34.)
Figure 34.—Joins of arch showing key piece, pu'e:
1, the middle piece that forms the top of the arch and acts like a key piece (pu'e), shaped so that the ulupale point at either end is on the lower and inner concave side of the piece; 2, the lango pu'e, pieces on either side of the key piece, with the ulupale points at their upper ends on the upper and outer convex sides of the pieces so as to fit against the lower ends of the key piece. Their lower ends are shaped to form the ulupale on the opposite inner concave sides; 3, the succeeding pieces are all shaped like the lango pu'e.
The concave part looks directly into the house, totonu, and the convexity faces away, tua (outside, back, towards the thatch rafters). In Samoan, the expressions used for the upper ends of the lango pu'e and other pieces is ulupale i tua, and for the lower ends, ulupale i totonu. For the pu'e both ends are ulupale i totonu. (See Plate II, A.)
Assembling the arches. The curved pieces are assembled outside the shed in an open space that permits of the full arch being laid out on the ground.
A length of sennit is stretched between the ends of the wall plates of the middle section, and the distance pegged out on the ground as (1) and (2) in figure 35.
The first arch assembled is the curb plate (fau lalo). As the joints are fitted, they are temporarily lashed together around the middle of the joint, or with two lashings; one on either side of the middle, with fau bark. Wedge-pointed wooden pegs (tina or matalafi) are driven in under the lashing on the concave side to tighten them. These fitting lashings are termed u'a vale.page 47
Figure 35.—Assembling the curb plate, middle arch and upper series of arches:
1 and 2 side pegs marking distance between inner sides of wall plates of middle section of house; 3, middle peg, located by doubling braid stretched between the pegs (1 and 2); 4 apical peg, located by stretching doubled braid from peg (3) at right angles to the line (1, 2); 5, curb plate curve; 6, peg, four hand spans from apical peg to mark curve of middle arch; 7, curve of the middle arch (fautu); 8, curve of next arch of upper series (fau vaenga); 9, 10, curves of succeeding upper series arches; 11, curve of uppermost arch (fau tali 'aso).
The fitted curb plate is tested on the marked ground. The middle of the key piece must rest against the outer side of the apical peg. The ends (si'u fau) must then touch the outside of the side pegs. In figure 35, the curve (5) so formed makes a perfect semicircle, but it is rarely that the curb plate conforms exactly to a semicircle. In a very large house, the ends are prolonged past the side pegs, and in smaller houses they fall short. In either event the width of the ends must be the same as that between the side pegs in order to junction perfectly with the wall plates of the middle section of the house. In the large house at Iva, with the width of 45 feet 6 inches, the tala length was 9 inches greater than half the width. In Tufele's smaller house with a width of 27 feet 6 inches, the lengths of the two tola were 1 foot 1 inch, and 2 feet 2 inches shorter than half the width.
When the ends are inside or too much outside of the pegs, the arch has to be corrected. The head builder stands outside the apical peg, and studies the curve on either side to pick out what joints should be altered. The joint or joints are then removed with the lashing still round them by unfastening the two ends away from the joint. The offending joint is taken to the shed and reshaped to lessen or increase the curve as required. The corrected joint is relashed in position, and the arch again tested. When the whole arch is correct, the lashings are termed u'a mau instead of u'a vale. The term mau (fixed) means that the arch is fixed as regards shape.
The middle arch (fau tu) is next laid down. The pieces of the middle arch, which is the largest of the oblique arches, are assembled like the curb plate. It is tested by placing the midpoint of the key piece against the inner side of its peg. The ends must then touch the side pegs as in figure 35, 7. When correct, the stage is called ua u'a le fautu. The middle arch is lashed together. The curb plate is removed and set up in the frame while the assembling of the arches is continued by the experts.
The remaining arches are divided into an upper and a lower series of even number which arc separated by the middle large arch, just assembled. To understand the method of assembling, it must be remembered that the middle arch is the direct descendant of the middle curved purlin seen in the rounded ends of the cooking and dwelling houses. In position, its lower ends rest on the curb plate at its junction with the end wall posts, which are directly under the end rafters of the middle section. They bisect the right angles formed by the line of the end rafters and the curb plate. The arch directed upwards and outwards divides the roof portion of the rounded section into two equal parts in the middle line. The tops of the upper series of arches are evenly spaced along the middle line, and their lower ends have to rest against the end rafters of the middle section. Thus, from below upwards, the upper series not only decrease in the diameter page 48of the wooden pieces used, but also in the height of the arch and the distance between the lower ends. As a result the curve of the arches narrows from the middle arch upwards. They are thus tested on the inner side of the middle arch, which is left on the ground for this purpose. The first arch of the upper series to be assembled is the one next the middle arch (upper fau vaenga). It is laid out on the inner side of the middle arch, and follows its curve (fig. 35, 8) for a certain distance, but the actual length of its sides is left for the framework to decide. It is left on the ground, and the next of the series laid down inside of it. The others follow consecutively as shown in figure 35. The apical curve becomes sharper as they narrow. The last of the series is the fau tali'aso. Within the limits of the rule laid down, experience guides, and no exact rules can be formulated.
Figure 36.—Assembling of arches of lower series:
1, 2, side pegs marking width of middle house section; 6, peg marking apex of middle arch; 7, middle arch left on ground to give line of curve for lower series of arches; 12, first arch of lower series (lower fau vaenga) next to middle arch; 13, 14, 15, remaining arches of lower series, in order from above down. The general curve is shown but the indeterminate ends are indicated by dotted lines.
The lower series of arches to occupy the lower section of the roof are rested on the curb plate, while their upper parts are evenly spaced along the middle line. They range along a curvature which does not contract, though their length naturally shortens as they descend. They are thus tested on the outer side of the middle arch still left on the ground. (See fig. 36, 7.) The first assembled is the one next in position to the middle arch, and it is termed the lower fau vaenga. If follows the wide outer curve of the middle arch, and like those of the upper series, the exact length is left for decision on the frame. When the lower fau vaenga is lashed as correct (u'a mau), the middle arch is taken away and set up. The remainder of the lower series are laid down consecutively on the outer side of the one preceding. Their ends are all left indeterminate.
From the above method it is seen that the curb plate and the middle arch are the two elements that are exactly determined when assembled. All that is needed with the other arches at this stage is the curve of each for setting up in the middle line. Calculations as to length were not attempted, not because it was beyond the mentality of the Samoan builders, but because it was left for the later technique to decide in a practical and certain manner.
Scaffolding. Before the erection can be commenced, the scaffolding (fata-manu) must be extended to the end section. The method of supports for the page 49cross pieces or rungs are similar to the straight rafters in the ends of the cooking houses. figure 37 shows the right half of the end scaffolding. All lashings are made with fau bark. The other side is similarly constructed. Plate II B, shows an end scaffolding.
Figure 37.—Scaffolding of rounded end section:
right half viewed from outside opposite its middle. The forked supporting post (to'o manga) (1) of the other scaffolding, supports the crossbar (2.) against which the oblique timber (3) rests. The new elements are 3 oblique heavy pieces of timber which are leaned against the upper part of (3). Of these, the longest (4) is placed slightly to the right of the middle long axis of the house with the upper end resting on the old oblique timber (3) close to the supporting post (1). The lower end rests on the ground beyond the projected line of the wall posts. The other two timbers (5 and 6) have their lower ends placed on the ground beyond the wall post line so as evenly to divide the space while the upper ends are tied to the oblique timber (3). The oblique timbers, like the ones in the middle section, are fata sasau or fata vala. The cross pieces, also called teleteleanga or papani (7) are tied on in the usual manner.
Erecting the curb plate. The curb plate is carried into position and temporarily strutted while its ends are lashed to the end rafters immediately below the wall plates. (See fig. 38.) Some curb plates are cut away at the upper edge so as to fit against the wall plate, and bring the upper edges closer together.
Figure 38.—Erecting the curb plate:
1, end rafters of middle section; 2, wall plate; 3 end wall posts of middle section; 4, ridgepole; 5, small intermediate purlin immediately page 50above wall plate; 6, curb plate: a, the level of the middle of the curb plate is fixed by the measure of the distance (7) between the ridgepole and the small intermediate purlin immediately above the wall plate. One end of a measured line (8) is held against the end of the ridgepole, and the line is stretched obliquely downwards in the middle long axis of the house. The ends of the curb plate are placed in position below the wall plate ends and the middle is raised or lowered until the end of the taut measuring line touches its upper surface. The curb plate is then restrutted in position with about 7 struts (9) which may be cut to exact length for propping under the curb plate or left long and tied against the side. The short struts are tied in the same way as the collar beams to the purlins, but with fau bark and with not so many turns. The correct level of the curb plate is important, for if too high (sisi) or too low (tautau) it is justly regarded as poor work. b, Side view from inside, showing the position of the curb plate end below the end of the wall plate on the outer side of the end wall post of the middle section; c, side view from outside, showing the curb plate below the wall plate and temporarily lashed (10) to the end rafter of the middle section. Later a wall post is erected in position (11) to permanently secure the curb plate.
Figure 39.—Fitting of ridgepole end piece (moamoa) to end of main ridgepole:
1, ridgepole; 2, end piece: a, side view, showing the end of the ridgepole cut away to receive the end piece and rounded off to conform with the slope of the upper surface of the end piece; b, under view, showing the end piece fitted in under the ridgepole; c, upper view, with ridgepole overlapping the end piece.
Ridgepole end piece (moamoa). A short end piece is placed at the end of the main ridgepole to serve as a rest for the upper ends of the thatch rafters attached in the middle line ('aso vao). Two forms are used:
(1.) A flat piece of wood barely as wide as the ridgepole, and from 7 to 9 inches long, was let into the under surface of the ridgepole which was cut as in figure 39. The under surface was also carved with curved lines as shown. Some are painted with dots and triangles, and others, according to Handy (14, p. 8), "are carved in symbolic representation of the moon and stars." From above the ridgepole overlaps part of the moamoa, and the even continuous slope downwards, by breaking the abrupt ending of a squared end, affords an even slope conforming to the plane of the middle rafters. (2.) The construction of the second type is totally different. A curved piece of wood is placed transversely against the squared end of the ridgepole, and the outer edges of the end rafters, but is not lashed against them. (See fig. 40.)
Another variety was round in section, like a curved purlin, and extended directly upwards along the edges of the end rafters, its ends coinciding with the highest main purlins (not talava) on either side of the middle section of page 51the house The curve is much sharper, and gives the lateral curve to the middle series of thatch rafters.
The middle longitudinal curve. The guide to the contour of the curve in the middle line from the ridgepole to the mid point of the curb plate, is given by 5 or more thatch rafters termed 'aso vao.
The middle arch is first lifted with ropes (tautala) into position with its ends on the curb plate here it sets against the outer end of the wall plate. The ends may be shaped to fit the angle. Its upper arched end is placed in approximate position, and temporarily strutted in the middle line, and on either side., (See fig. 41 a.)page 52
Figure 41.—Erection of arched purlins:
a, strutting middle arch and upper series of arches: 1. middle arch kept in position by mesial and lateral struts; 2, thatch rafters ('aso vao) in middle line, attached above to ridgepole end piece and passing over middle arch and curb plate; 3, end rafter of middle section, with some of outer 'aso vao attached to it at their upper ends; 4, curb plate showing ends of middle arch resting on it at junction with wall plate; 5, topmost arch (fau tali 'aso); 6, third highest main purlin of middle section; 7, poles used as mesial temporary struts for arches; 8, lateral temporary struts. The thatch rafters are tied in the middle line to the end piece and the end rafter and passed over the middle arch and curb plate. The spacing of the arches is done in the same manner as the spacing of the straight purlins of the middle section on the curved principal rafters. Here the mesial thatch rafters take the place of the principal rafters of the sides. A line is stretched from the ridgepole end piece to the middle of the curb plate over the thatch rafters. The measured line is divided equally into the number of parts required for the whole series of arches including the middle arch, and marked as before with fau bark. The line is again stretched over the mesial thatch rafters and the points, where the strips of bark touch, are marked with charcoal. The middle arch is then adjusted to coincide with its correct mark. The arches of the upper series are lifted into position with ropes, commencing with the highest (fau tali 'aso) which receives its name from tali 'aso (to guide or receive the thatch rafters). The middle of the arch is placed against the under side of the mesial thatch rafters against the highest charcoal mark and the lower ends are directed towards the ends of the third highest purlins (6) of the vsides. It is temporarily strutted in position with one mesial strut and usually 2 lateral. The remaining arches of the upper series are lifted into position and strutted. The highest and the middle arches are complete as regards their ends but the ends of the other arches are left short to be added to as work developes. b, Complete series of arches in position. The lower series of arches are added in a similar way to the upper, but not usually until further thatch rafters have been added. The figure, however shows their relative position on the framework. When placing the mesial struts of the upper series, the arches are pushed up so that the curve may be even between the ridgepole and the middle arch.
When the arches have been placed in their correct position, they are lashed to the mesial thatch rafters that are in position in order from above downwards. More thatch rafters are added on either side of the middle set, working outwards on either side. As the work expands outwards, the arches of the lower series are successively added from above downwards so that the lowest comes comparatively late into position.
The lower ends of the arches. Attention has already been drawn to the fact that with the exception of the middle and topmost arches, the lower ends of the remaining arches are purposely left short. This feature is shown in the arches of the upper series depicted in figure 41a. Both the longitudinal and lateral curves of the rounded end of the frame are maintained by the strutting of the arches. The exact length of the incomplete arches can therefore well wait until the advancing construction decides it. As the addition of thatch rafters approaches the short ends of the arches, additional pieces are added to lengthen them. The pieces being made to plan, as regards the joints (fig. 34), can be easily fitted with a temporary lashing as if they were on the ground. In the upper series, the boundary of length is the outer edge of the end rafter of the middle section. When a piece reaches the rafter, it is held in position at the joint and the point of contact is marked with charcoal. The piece is cut off square with its long axis and attached to complete the arch. The order of completion is, of necessity, from above downwards. In the lower series, a similar method is used to make the lower ends coincide with the upper edge of the curb plate. The completed arches are parallel to each other, the line having been set by the middle arch. The lower ends of the arches merely touch the end rafters and curb plate (fig. 41b) and are in no way attached to them. They maintain their position by the lashings to the thatch rafters. The method of finishing off the lower end of the arches thus decides their length in a practical manner without any mathematical calculations which may have been beyond the scope of the builders. In some houses, the ends of the arches were observed to touch the main purlins of the sides, but with the exception of the topmost arch. However, this may be regarded as a coincidence.
The number of arches ranges with the size of the house. Four above and four below the middle arch, making nine in all, is a fair average. The large house at Iva had 12 above and 12 below, making a grand total of 25 arches.
The middle arch is both the longest and largest in diameter. The others decrease in diameter outwards from the middle arch. In the Fitiutan house described, the middle arch was 5.25 inches in diameter. The lower series of four, from above downwards, were 4.75, 4.25, 4, and 3.75 inches respectively. The curb plate was the same size as the middle arch, 5.25 inches, while the wall plate was larger with 5.75 inches. The individual arches were of the same diameter throughout from middle to ends. The ends were all cut square with the long axis, except the middle arch, which was shaped as described.page 53
Lashing the thatch rafters. The thatch rafters are first attached at their upper ends to the moamoa end pieces in the middle line, and then to the end rafters as they diverge on either side. These lashings are the only real connection between the framework of the end and middle sections. The short moamoa of figure 39 is a very small intermediate connection between the thatch rafters and the ridgepole, while the second curved type forms no connection at all. The arches merely touch parts of the framework of the middle section. The lashing of the curb plate to the end rafters is temporary to get its right level. The stability of the house shows the strength of a combination of weak elements, such as the thatch rafters.
Figure 42.—Thatch rafter crossings over the under surface of the end principal rafters of the middle section:
1, principal end rafter; 2, thatch rafters; 3, principal purlins; 4, intermediate purlins; 5, curb plate; 6, middle arch; 7, arch of upper series; 8, arch of lower series; 9, wall plate; 10, wall post: a, the thatch rafters cross the principal rafter at right angles in the upper part of the roof. As the addition of thatch rafters proceeds outwards and downwards along the principal rafter, the crossings become more oblique owing to the curve of the curb plate. b, Lower end of principal rafter (1). As the main (3) and intermediate (4) purlins of the middle section are already lashed in position on the principal rafter, the oblique course of the thatch rafters is here and there prevented from reaching the inner edge of the principal rafter. The pointed ends of the thatch rafters are then thrust in under the transverse purlins and the lashing turns can only be made around the thatch rafters at the outer edge of the principal rafter. The middle arch (6) is shown with its end shaped to fit against the end of the wall plate (9) and the curb plate (5). The curb plate is also cut away on its upper part to fit closer to the wall plate.
The pointed upper ends of the thatch rafters are passed across the inner or under surface of the end rafters to project beyond their inner edge. (See fig. 42.)
The lashing to the end rafters is the same as that of the intermediate purlins to the main rafters in the middle section (fig. 25). The sennit brait is tied round the end rafter with the slip knot commencement. (See fig. 43.)
The lashing to the end rafters is termed fatu-o-le-ulu-'aso. Each thatch rafter is lashed to each arch it passes over. The order is again from above downwards so that any bends in the thatch rafters may be straightened out permanently by the successive lashings. On each arch, the lashing is of necessity from the middle line outwards as the thatch rafters have to be kept parallel with those first laid down in the middle line. The spacing is the same as in the middle section of the house.
As the thatch rafters work outwards, the lashings come to the joints of the arches. page 54The technique is shown in figure 43c. There is no technical difficulty, though a badly fitted arch may sometimes be seen gaping slightly at a join.
All thatch rafters reach the curb plate and are lashed to it in the same way as to the arches.
Figure 43.—Lashing of thatch rafters:
1, end rafter of middle section; 2, thatch rafters; 3, 4, 5, 6, lashing turns; 7, 8, two pieces of arch showing join: a, lashing of upper thatch rafters to end rafter. The braid attached to the end rafter makes a transverse turn (3) around the thatch rafter on the right side of the end rafter from below upwards and passes diagonally across the back of the end rafter to appear at the left lower corner. Another transverse turn (4) around the thatch rafter is made from below upwards, when the braid makes another diagonal turn across the back of the end rafter to appear at the lower right corner. From here the braid makes a diagonal turn (5) upwards across the thatch rafter to the left upper corner, passing transversely across the back of the end rafter to appear at the right upper corner. Another diagonal turn (6) is made across the thatch rafter. The lashing is finished off with a circumferential turn around the previous turns by passing the braid around between the two wooden elements. The braid then passes on to the next thatch rafter. b, Lashing of lower obliquely running thatch rafters to end rafter. The technique is similar to the above, but it is obvious that when the oblique rafter is prevented by a side purlin from reaching across the end rafter, the transverse turn (4) around the thatch rafter can not be made. The turns (3, 5, and 6) are made to make the lashing as secure as possible, but the irregular appearance caused makes the lashing appear untidy. c, Lashing of thatch rafters to arch. The thatch rafters are lashed to the arch in exactly the same way as they are to the straight main purlins of the middle section (fig. 23.) Here the 2 turns on either side of the thatch rafters are shown. On coming in contact with a join, as shown between the pieces (7 and 8), the temporary lashing of fau bark (u'a mau) is removed and the two pieces held together at the join by an assistant. The thatch rafters are spaced in the usual way and the lashing simply continued around the parts forming the join as if there was no break in continuity. When the work has gone past the join, the two pieces (7 and 8) are securely lashed together.
Intermediate small purlins are added between the arches in the same way as in the middle section. They are finer than those of the sides, being simply the same as the thatch rafters with the so'o mata sai joins. They readily take the curve of the end section. They are two to each space between the arches and three between the lowest arch and the curb plate. Those above the middle arch are brought to the outer edge of the end rafters and those below to the curb plate. Their relative position is shown in figure 42 b. When a larger number of arches than usual diminish the spaces between them, there may be only one intermediate purlin used instead of two.
The eave battens are attached to the lower end of the thatch rafters by the same lashing as in the middle section. Shorter straight sections are used to take the curve.page 55
The wall posts supporting the middle and ends of the curb plate are usually erected by builders.
The other end section is erected in the same way, but they rarely agree in exact length. When brought to the same stage as described above, the work of the builders is ended.
Figure 44.—Unorthodox arrangement of arches:
the lower series of three arches below the middle arch (1) rested in the normal way on the curb plate (2). Above the middle arch, the curb (3) was laid horizontally with its ends touching the end rafters (4). It resembled an upper curb plate, not only as regards direction, but also because 2 arches (5 and 6) had their ends resting on it. The uppermost fau tali 'aso (7) was normal in position. Two pieces like the lower limbs of an incomplete arch (8) filled the space between the end rafters and the middle arch. It was not an improvement in appearance, but it is figured, as new inventions are discovered through such departures from the normal.
Figure 45.—Position of arch joins during construction:
a, theoretical square joins allowing lower pieces to work off by weight; b, slant joins (so'o mata sai) with intermediate lave surfaces acting as hooks to take weight of lower pieces; c, modified square join (after Handy).
Wall posts (pou lalo). The erection of the wall posts was completed by the people of the taufale. Any suitable wood was used. The bark was peeled off leaving rounded posts from 5 to 6 inches in diameter. The lower ends were imbedded in the ground, and the upper ends attached to the wall and curb plates. The length was thus decided by the distance the wall plates were suspended from the ground. When a high paepae platform was made, most of the posts did not reach the ground level, though they were sunk below the floor level. When the floor was put in, the height from the ground to the wall plate usually ranged from 6 to 7 feet. The house at Iva was exceptional with wall posts 7 feet, 10 inches in height. It seems probable that they were shorter in early times, for Wilkes (42, vol. 2, p. 71) describes the house occupied by the Tui Manua at Olosega in 1839 as being about 3 feet, 6 inches from the ground to the eaves. Allowing an extra foot for the eaves, the wall posts would be still lower than in buildings of the present day.
The number of posts on each side of the middle section were three, and in Manua, four. For the end sections, the middle wall post was of most importance. A post was put in at the ends of the curb plate, quite close to the outer posts supporting the wall plate. Between these two posts and the middle post, an equal number were evenly spaced on either side. Thus the number in the end sections was always odd. In the fair-sized Fitiutan house, there were fifteen, making 38 wall posts altogether. The very large Iva house had 3 on either side of the middle section, and 27 in each end section page 57making a total of 60. The top ends of the posts were cut on the outer side to receive the wall plates and curb plate. Handy (14, p. 12) gives three methods of cutting the top. (See fig. 46a, b, c.) My experience was that the post was not usually cut square as in a, but at a slant as in d. The shaping of the post to receive the plate is termed fa'afulu lupe. The naming marks the transition to better workmanship. The shaping is not so much to give extra support to the plate as to provide better fitting. In many of the posts examined the plate did not rest on the bottom of the notch. This feature is seen in figure 47j. It draws attention again to the fact that the plates receive their support from above, from the already fixed rafters. Many of the posts arc quite loose, and can be removed without materially affecting the support of the roof. The Samoans themselves drew attention to this fact.
The lashing is simple and follows the rafter-ridgepole lashing (fig. 17) and the rafter-purlin lashing (fig. 20). Where two wooden elements cross each other at right angles the simplest ties consist of using transverse and diagonal turns. The turns are made carefully on the surface that shows so that the ornamental design may be apparent. On wall posts, the decorative surface is the inner part of the upper end which is defined into a rectangular space bounded by the Upper and lower borders of the horizontal wall or curb plate at the back. The surface is convex from side to side so that the actual corners of the space may not be seen directly from the front. In Samoan technique the diagonal and transverse turns are the complement of each other. Transverse turns are those at right angles to the long axis of the wooden element so that on the post they are horizontal while on the plate they are vertical. If transverse turns are made over one wooden element, diagonal turns must follow on the other crossing element and vice-versa. All lashings are finished off with a few circumferential turns passing around the outside of the previous turns where they cross between the two wooden elements. Of various designs used, the simplest is the single lozenge (fig. 47) common 111 the houses on Manua. A more common lashing in other parts is accomplished by the addition of transverse turns around the post above and below the single lozenge. (See fig. 48.) Two other lashings are shown in figure 49. page 58Of the four lashings depicted in figure 50, the first (a) is identical with that used on the back of the supporting post when lashing the collar beam to it. (See figure 30b and c.)
Figure 47.—Lashing of wall post—simple lozenge:
a, the end of the working hank is fixed to the wall plate on the left by the usual running noose (1); drawn taut at the lower border and the braid carried diagonally upwards across the post to the right upper corner whence it passes vertically downwards behind the wall plate; b, from the right lower corner, the braid is carried diagonally upwards across the post to the left upper corner and vertically downwards behind the wall plate; c, the third turn is kept immediately below the first turn; d, the fourth turn from right to left follows below the second turn; e, the fifth turn must now pass from left to right immediately above the first turn to produce the lozenge motive; f, the sixth turn passes from right to left immediately above the second turn to complete the foundation of the lozenge motive; g, back view with the vertical transverse turns around the wall plate. From the last diagonal turn in front, the braid is brought to the back and makes a circumferential turn (1) around the previous lashing turns by passing around them between the wall plate and post; h, front view with the vertical parts of the circumferential turn (1) which on being drawn taut are hardly seen from the front; j, side view with the wall plate in section. One or more circumferential turns (1) may be made and the braid is fixed by an overhand knot (2) or a series of half-hitches around the previous turns at the side.
Figure 48.—Lashing of wall post—lozenge motive with horizontal turns above and below:
a, on finishing the last diagonal turn (fig. 47f) the braid passes diagonally downwards to the right behind the wall plate and makes a transverse horizontal turn from right to left over the front of the post. It then passes diagonally upwards to the right behind the wall plate and makes a horizontal turn from right to left over the front of the post above the lozenge motive. The above turns are made alternately below and above until transverse bands of three or more turns have been added to the simple lozenge lashing in figure 47f. b, A back view showing the diagonal turns on the back of the wall plate which have been added to the vertical turns shown in figure 47g; c, a side view, showing the finishing circumferential turns (1) with the braid ended by an overhand knot around them.
Figure 49.—Lashings of wall posts—lashing design:
a, adz handle lashing; the first two turns (1 and 2) follow the opening technique of the single lozenge design (fig. 47b), but the crossing is made high up as the design is developed below the first two turns. The next two turns are made immediately below the preceding as in the second stage of the lozenge design (fig. 47d). The succeeding turns, instead of passing alternately above and below, are made immediately below the preceding turns. The lashing is commonly used in hafting carpenters' adzes. b, Four curve lashing; the first two turns are diagonal but made with curves to cross (1) well above the middle transverse line of the space. After each diagonal turn over the front of the post, the braid descends vertically behind the wall plate. c, The next two turns are diagonal but curved in the opposite direction so as to cross (2) below the middle transverse line. Two other crossings (3 and 4) are automatically formed at the sides on the middle transverse line. d, The upper and lower crossings (1 and 2) are treated alternately like the single crossing in the single lozenge design. Single turns from right to left and left to right are made immediately below the first two turns which formed the upper crossing point (1). Two similar turns are made in the same relation to the second two turns which formed the lower crossing point (2). Two turns are made above the first two turns forming the upper crossing point (1), followed by two similar turns above the lower crossing point (2). This completes the lashing, which, besides forming simple lozenges at the upper and lower crossing points (1 and 2), have automatically developed similar lozenges at the two side crossings (3 and 4). Owing to the convexity of the surface, both side lozenges cannot be seen at the same time viewed directly from the front but the oblique view shows that on the right (4).
Figure 50.—Lashings of wall posts—lashing designs:
a, alternating curves to pass above and below the middle transverse line are made as on the back of the supporting post (fig. 30b and c) and finished off with transverse lines across the post as in the technique of figure 48a; b, a series of two short upper and lower curves not reaching to the middle transverse line are formed with two longer single loops passing between the elements of the short pairs. The order in which the individual turns are made is shown by the numerals. c, The design is formed of alternate diagonal and transverse turns. The set that goes obliquely upwards from the left lower corner does not go direct to the upper corner but in a line to the left of it and then turns outwards to the corner. The lower set of diagonals runs transversely inwards from the left lower corner and then turns obliquely upwards to the right upper corner. The transverse turns cross the diagonal turns where they turn in towards the corners and thus fix them in their relative positions. d, A variation to c is formed by crossing two sets of diagonal parallels which may be finished off with two curved loops which cross each other in the middle transverse line.