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Bousillage infill between the studs

Bousillage is a mixture of clay and grass or other fiberous substances used as the infill between the timbers of a half-timbered building. This material was commonly used by 18th century French colonial settlers in the historical New France region of the United States.


Bousillage, in south Louisiana, is a mixture of clay earth and retted Spanish moss used to fill in the panels in a half-timbered frame, called colombage in French.[1] This was a technique used in French Louisiana by colonists from the 18th to 19th centuries. In France the framing was typically in-filled between the post with brick, stone or earth mixed with straw. There was no stone in south Louisiana, and bricks were not being made during early colonial times. The colonist picked up on a technique that the Native Americans were using to build their wattle and daub structures, and that was heavy clay soil and retted Spanish moss as the binder. Split sticks or staves, known as barreaux or rabbit, were used as rungs between the upright post. They were shaped to fit at an angle and hammered into place without the use of nails. A taché of mud and moss was shaped like a bread dough loaf and hung over the rungs being compacted as placed one next to the other. The finished wall would have been either lime washed or covered with lime plaster. The plaster contains animal hair as a binder.[2]

Gallery of Structures Using Bousillage[edit]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Edwards, Jay Dearborn, and Nicolas Verton. A Creole lexicon architecture, landscape, people. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2004. 32. Print.
  2. ^ Louisiana Vernacular Gumbo, by Edward Cazayoux and A Manual for the Environmental & Climatic Responsive Restoration & Renovation of Older Houses in Louisiana, by Edward Cazayoux