Fast Layout for Tall Rake Walls - Continued
Snap Out the Wall
Next I snap out the wall on the deck. If there isn't already a
line for the rake wall bottom plate, I measure in 3 1/2 inches
in from the outside of the deck at each end and snap a line.
For purposes of layout, this line will represent the bottom of
the rake wall, and from it I measure the low and high points of
the wall (see illustration, below). Measuring along the bottom
inside of the two standing walls, I mark out 8 feet 9 3/16
inches. I next locate the center of the room and, starting from
the bottom line, I pop a line at least 14 feet long. Then,
measuring from the bottom along this centerline, I mark the
peak at 13 feet 10 7/8 inches.
The rake. Now I can pop two
lines from the center high point to the low points I marked on
the inside of each outside wall plate. These angled snap lines
mark the very top of the rake wall. It's easy to create an
accurate top plate layout by using a 2-by scrap to scribe the
double plates at the low points and at the peak. I then snap a
line between these scribes and now have three lines marking the
top plates full-scale on the deck.
King Studs & Beam Pocket
Next come door and window openings (see illustration, below).
Starting at the bottom plate line, I locate all king studs,
paying attention only to the edge that attaches to the header.
To make things easier later, I go ahead and cut a bottom plate
to fit snug between the outside walls. I place it on the
outside of the bottom line. I mark the bottom plate at the same
time as I mark the deck, locating post hold-downs as I
After the king studs, I mark out the 6x12 exposed beam, again
using scrap stock. I make plumb cuts on a couple of pieces of
2x10 and place them on the deck at the layout peak with the
plumb cuts butting. Then I fit a short piece of beam stock
under these rafter templates and trace the beam location. For
me, this is by far the easiest, quickest, and most accurate way
of figuring out beam pockets.
I'll also determine the ridge board width, placing a short
piece of 2x12 so it sits dead center above the beam location. I
slide the two rafter pieces up tight to the ridge stock and
place a mark where the tops of the rafter pieces touch the
ridge stock. This tells me how wide the ridge will have to be.
A ridge may require some ripping or it might float a little
above the beam depending on the pitch of the roof, the width of
the rafter, and the thickness of the beam. I find using a ridge
board easiest in this situation, while others might prefer to
lap the rafters and run blocks in between. Either method works
I now lay out the studs. Here's where the bottom plate I cut
comes in handy. I mark the studs on the bottom plate line and
on the plate itself. Then I place the plate just above the
peak, parallel to the bottom plate, and quickly transfer all
the layout marks to the deck. Now I can snap out all the
standard studs, the king studs, and the beam pocket
Headers. I snap lines representing the tops and
bottoms of the headers, then mark out rough sills. I clearly
delineate each window opening, because gable end walls tend to
get filled up with windows. Lastly, I fill in all the cripples
above the headers and below the sills.
The beauty of full-scale layout is that cutting is a breeze. I
measure and cut the headers, sills, and beam support posts
first. To cut studs and cripples, I carry plenty of long stock
to the rake wall area. I tack the bottom plate in place on the
inside of the bottom snap line (so that I have 3 1/2 inches
from the bottom of the plate to the outside edge). With the
plate securely in place, I spread out all the 2x4 stock exactly
in line with the layout on the deck, selecting material that
reaches just beyond the upper plate layout. After making sure
that the studs are butting tight to the bottom plate, I mark
each one where it intersects the chalk line for the bottom of
the first top plate. Because the leading edge of the standard
stud layout goes in one direction throughout the length of the
wall, half of the studs marked will be short point, the others
long point. To avoid mistakes, I mark the top edge of each stud
with a slash showing the direction of the bevel angle.
After all the studs are marked, I set the table of my circular
saw for a bevel cut (33.7 degrees for an 8/12 slope) and cut
the studs and cripples in place. The little bit of extra time
it took to snap the layout on the deck is more than paid back
as the wall quickly comes together.
is a carpenter in Cool, Calif., and construction events manager
for the JLC LIVE expo.