Last summer, contractor Scott Babcock asked me to frame an eight-sided, bell-curve cupola roof as part of a large home he was building. Given a choice, I'll take roof framing over any other project, and a roof like this one doesn't come along every day. I jumped at the chance.

The nearly 15-foot-diameter roof would cap a three-story "turret" situated at the ell between the two major wings of the shingle-style home. Considering the complexity of the framing job and the elevation -- about 30 feet above grade -- we decided to frame the roof on the ground and lift it into place with a crane as a unit. While I...

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