Re: Balloon Framed question..Fire Blocking and Attic Joists
Casey pointed out that normally the bottom of the upper studs should rest on something rather than being scabbed onto the lower studs. However, some old houses (I can't see yours from here) are sheathed inside and out with 1" thick (nominal) boards nailed up with fairly substantial nails. Since these boards cover the entire wall, they provide a substantial amount of support for the studs, so much so that it may not be necessary for the studs to have additional support. Many old houses don't even have headers above the doors and windows, with the expectation that the sheathing will bear the load.
With typical modern building practices the sheathing provides some shear strength but not vertical support. The sheathing material and nails (staples) used are not nearly as strong as the materials used in the old days. Modern inspectors base their judgment on their understanding of the properties of modern materials and methods; it is unlikely they would approve new construction using historic materials and methods unless a structural engineer certifies it.
The "Senior Member" designation under my name doesn't mean I know a lot, it just means I talk a lot.I've been a DIYer since I was 12 (thanks, Dad!). I have read several books on various home improvement topics. I do not have any current code books I can refer to. I was an apprentice plumber for two years.