While framing a new house, we had to build a small decorative dormer on the steeply pitched roof. We own a forklift with a telescoping boom; it's easily got the capacity to lift a dormer like this (as well as much larger ones), so we typically build the dormer on the ground for the sake of safety and efficiency, then hoist it into place with the lift. On this job, we were able to work in the dry on the first-floor deck, and the project kept my carpenters busy on a couple of snowy afternoons when I might otherwise have sent them home early. In this article I'll describe the steps we took to speed the framing.

We used a factory corner of a sheet of OSB as a giant framing square as we built the walls. I took the dormer's rise and run from the plans, and we cut the top plates and end studs accordingly, beveling each of them at one end to match the roof pitch, then nailing them together. We laid these right-angle assemblies along the edges of the OSB to...

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