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Peyton Randolph Smokehouse

The Peyton Randolph Smokehouse was the first building to be reconstructed on the Randolph property. It is an earthen-floored 12-foot-square building constructed of riven (split) oak and sawn poplar. Many surviving smokehouses (including some in Williamsburg itself) were examined in an effort to produce as accurate a reconstruction as possible. The smokehouse was sided with long-leaf yellow pine weatherboards and riven oak clapboards, and shingled with scalloped Atlantic white cedar shingles. The door and trim are also constructed of long-leaf yellow pine.


Photos of the various steps in the process of the construction of the Randolph Smokehouse.


  • Timbers prepared at the Carpenter's Yard arrive at the Randolph property.

  • The smokehouse frame, joined on the Randolph site, is ready for raising.

  • Carpenters raise the smokehouse's front wall, assisted by visitors to Colonial Williamsburg.

  • The master builder braces the structure's front wall.

  • Advice given to apprentices in Moxon's MECHANICK'S EXERCISES: 'There is required a pretty skill in driving a nail.'

  • Visitors help Colonial Williamsburg's carpenters to raise the back wall of the smokehouse.

  • Carpenters fit the girt, the timber that supports the king post.

  • The master builder bores a hole while his apprentice plumbs the wall.

  • The master builder spikes - bores a hole in - the side plate of the smokehouse.

  • A carpenter secures the king post, which supports the rafters.

  • Carpenters attach the first rafter.

  • Using two opposing rafters, carpenters level the king post.

  • Carpenters secure the hip rafters, which give the smokehouse roof its pyramidal shape.

  • Apprentices secure the last hip rafter.

  • The smokehouse frame is finished, except for one crucial element.

  • The master tops the frame with an evergreen sprig for good luck.

  • The Randolph's smokehouse and other outbuildings are made from tight-grained Longleaf Yellow Pine trees.

  • More pine logs are on the way to Colonial Williamsburg, thanks to generous support from the Champion International Corporation.

  • Now that the smokehouse frame is raised, the carpenters begin to shingle its hipped roof.

  • The roof is supported by a web-like structure of rafters and a substantial center king-post.

  • By spring of 1998 the smokehouse is almost finished. On the sides facing away from the house and toward the street, clapboards are used to enclose the structure.

  • The sides facing into the courtyard and toward the house are covered with weatherboard, giving the family a finer view.

  • Clapboards are riven or plit into lenghts of four to six feet and their quality is determined by the grain of the wood.

  • A weatherboard is not split, but sawn into regularly dimensioned pieces. Its length is determined only by the length of the timber being sawn.






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