I'm a framer on eastern Long Island. My brother, Fred Jr., and I build a half-dozen custom homes each year, typically 5,000 square feet or larger. While Fred rides herd on the business end of things, I direct the field crew in a hands-on capacity. Last year, we began building a gambrel-roof, shingle-style home that features a two-and-a-half-story turret, 12 feet in diameter and about 32 feet high, not including the rooftop finial. The turret projects from the front elevation and encloses a stairwell with semicircular, mid-level landings between floors. The half-round tower opens into the first and second floors on the inside, but it becomes full-round construction where it penetrates the roof. In this article, I'll explain how I tackled this complicated piece of framing.

Fred worked with the foundation sub to stake out the turret's footing and foundation, using a nail to pinpoint the turret location and the center of its radius. From this pivot point, he swung a tape measure to locate the center of a 24-inch-wide poured concrete footing. He later used a trammel stick to swing the outer radius of the foundation...

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