furniture building and rafter cutting
Response To:
Best of both... ()

Bill Tindall, E.Tn.
Hip roofs involve cutting 8 sets of identical (if the house is framed accurately) "Hip" and "Jack" rafters. A set consists of about 8+/- rafters of increasing length, from about 3 ' up to the length of the common rafter. In its essence, cuttings are made from longer boards. The framer I hired was experienced in constructing a hip roof but not as experienced as I in teasing every inch of yield from expensive hardwood. We had on site many lengths of 2 x 8. The framer hoisted up the first 2 x8 for a hip rafter and cut 3 feet waste off the end. I was aghast!

By now were had established a good working relationship. I told him I would do the lumber picking and prepared a cut list from the rafter tables and a list of the lengths we had on hand. He looked skeptical when I selected the next 2 x 8 to cut. It yielded a piece of "waste" several feet long. This process repeated until we were able to begin using these cut-offs in the shorter hip and jack rafters. I had calculated that the cut-off lengths from earlier cuts were nearly exactly what was needed for the shorter jacks and hips. Waste was being generated in inches , not feet. Upon examining the waste pile at the end of the day the framer paid me a compliment. It paid dividends when we had the argument about what the compound angle was to be for the octagonal porch roof beams. I wound up hand sawing these with Diston hand saw while the crew looked on in amazement. The young helper had never seen a hand saw used.

Fact:The raw material lumber in a conventional roof will be more expensive than in a truss roof. Which roof winds up cheaper depends on truss plant cost vs framer labor cost(and skill) and what is required to hoist up the trusses. That said, the difference is piddly if the conventional roof yields acres of space that will be used. Someone building project houses will go with trusses to save $100/ house if their calculations and notions lead them to believe they are saving $100. The home owner rarely gets involved in the decision that might enable them to use this attic space. They might have been happy to pay an extra $500 in lieu of renting a storage building by the month. Not the case when the home owner is the contractor.

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