Will Holladay is a framer from Santa Barbara, Calif. He is the author of A Roof Cutter’s Secrets To Framing The Custom House.
Will Holladay recently sent us an excerpt from his latest work, Reflections From An Over-the-Hill Framer, which combines the unique history of the California building boom with lessons on framing technique.
Recently, my friend Nick Ridge and I took on a job in Northern California that had an interesting challenge — an elliptical staircase with a self-supporting inside stringer.
A roof with intersecting hips and valleys will test the mettle of many a seasoned framer. Using examples from a recent project, a roof framing specialist explains the foolproof method he uses to lay out, cut, and install three complex configurations: valley-to-hip, valley-to-valley, and a “disappearing” valley.
Q: When cutting steep roofs, we often have problems getting the correct rafter lengths. It seems the steeper the roof gets, the lower the rafters hit on the ridge. We have been careful to double-check diagonals and our ridge height, but our first rafter is always too short, and we have to waste time fitting a pattern before proceeding. Why do the rafters need lengthening, and is there some way to calculate for this?