As a custom home framer on the West Coast, I often build large houses with a variety of rake walls. These range from simple gables to complicated multi-sloped affairs full of beam pockets and window openings. It can be daunting the first time you try one of these walls, but they become easier with some simple procedures. For safety and convenience, I like to frame rake walls after the outside walls have been stood up and braced. I snap out the rake layout full-scale right on the deck, then build to the lines. In this article, I'll explain my step by step procedure for rake wall layout, using the most common type I run into -- the cathedral ceiling.

Let's suppose we have to build the gable end of a 16-foot wide room with two 9-foot exterior walls supporting an 8/12 roof. To make room for more insulation, the cathedral rafters are 2x10s, while the rest of the house has 2x6 rafters. There's an exposed 6x12 ridge beam and two windows in the wall.

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