Woodworking Plans

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Woodworking Planshow to Woodworking Plans for At for 1 last update 2020/07/08 MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we have been educating folks about the benefits of self-reliance for 50 years. That includes researching and sourcing the best books and products to help individuals master the skills they need in times like these and beyond. Our online store is open and we are here to answer any questions you might have. Our customer service staff is available Monday through Friday from 8a.m.-5p.m. CDT. We can be reached at 1-800-234-3368 or by email. Stay safe!At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we have been educating folks about the benefits of self-reliance for 50 years. That includes researching and sourcing the best books and products to help individuals master the skills they need in times like these and beyond. Our online store is open and we are here to answer any questions you might have. Our customer service staff is available Monday through Friday from 8a.m.-5p.m. CDT. We can be reached at 1-800-234-3368 or by email. Stay safe!


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Follow this builder's tips on selecting materials for constructing your own symmetrical, two-sided roof with two slopes.

By Philip Baechler
| March/April 1977


  • Here are roof construction plans to help build your own gambrel roof.
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
  • These simple but elegant gambrel roof structures have been popular on hay barns for many years. There''s steep side pitch give the cabin ample upstairs room, I reasoned, but the double-sloping design would make more efficient use of roofing materials than a giant A frame ever could. And besides that, I like the looks of gambrel roofs.

    Some background reading soon taught me, however, that a conventional barn-sized gambrel is a nightmare of purlin beams, ridge beams and dovetail joints. What I had in mind, in other words, was a fine project for an army of engineers, but one that was probably beyond the capabilities of two non-professionals (such as Jim — my building partner — and myself).

    Woodworking Planshow to Woodworking Plans for Rather than give up, however, I decided to try to simplify the construction of the gambrel I wanted. What I ultimately devised was an easy-to-work-with system of lightweight trusses that could be built flat on the ground, then erected atop the cabin and covered with exterior plywood. Here, briefly, is how the trusses (and the gambrel roof formed from them) went together:

    Research and Planning

    I''d be held rigidly in the proper the 1 last update 2020/07/08 configuration.I''d be held rigidly in the proper configuration.


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    Then I remembered reading about a system of plywood straps that someone had used in building a geodesic dome. I say "" but, actually, they were nothing more than wooden brackets nailed to the sides of two connecting beams to hold them (the beams) together. These plywood brackets were just what Jim and I needed to give our roofing trusses adequate rigidity.

    Next we sat down and made scale drawings of several gambrel roof designs, each one employing a different combination of side slopes. In the end, we settled on a roof plan that looked good, made efficient use of materials, and allowed for porch and eave overhangs.

    Layout and Cutting

    At this point, we measured and cut our truss lumber. First, we made a full-size layout of our gambrel on smooth, level ground and drove stakes into the earth to mark the locations of the four rafters in each truss. Then we laid four 2-by-6 beams out flat in their proper positions and — using a string line — marked the correct lengths and angles to cut them. Next, we sawed the pieces of the first truss to length, set them down between the stakes again, and (after carefully checking their fit) used these original 2-by-6''d lay one flat across the joists with its "" butted against one of the joists, then we would [1] tilt it partway up, [2] nail a pair of two-by-fours to the truss'' feet to the loft joist and bound them to the supporting sills with metal straps (as depicted in the Image Gallery, Figure 1-C).

    As successive trusses were erected, we tacked them together with horizontal braces, (to see in more detail, view our schematic pdf), to hold them in position. (These braces were removed after the roofing plywood was nailed in place.)

    The last couple of frames had to be hoisted into position from the ground, since there was no room to lay them atop the loft before raising them. This, however, was merely a matter of leaning an upside-down frame against the cabin, supporting the frame''div-gpt-ad-1520616917643-0''s recommended before you decide on the thickness of lumber to use for your gambrel roof.)

    One trick that saved us some work while putting the plywood down — and that might come in handy the next time you work with plywood siding or roofing — was to drive a nail into each truss beam at the exact point where the bottom edge of the lowermost sheet of plywood was to rest. This done, we were able to set the sheet of lumber on the spikes and have both hands free while nailing the piece in place. (The time to make last-minute alterations of truss alignment, by the way, is before you apply the roofing ... after is too late.) We used 10-penny screwshank nails to positively anchor the heavy plywood where we wanted it.

    At this point, your finished roof can be covered with most any kind of shingle, and cracks the 1 last update 2020/07/08 can be made weathertight with flashing.At this point, your finished roof can be covered with most any kind of shingle, and cracks can be made weathertight with flashing.

    The End Walls

    We finished our cabin''s good-looking, functional (I have an exceptionally spacious sleeping loft now) and it didn''s inflated lumber prices, I doubt if it''s playhouse, a shed, or — if covered with clear plastic — a greenhouse. (For extra headroom, the ceiling joists could be omitted.)

    Here''t find any diagrams with the article, am I missing something? Mother Replies: The illustrations are in the Image Gallery at the top right of the article.


    oderkirk
    8/6/2007 2:03:52 PM

    when you made your Gambrel roof did you make any venting in the side walls or roof,we have a 260 year old dutch colonial with gambrel roof and where the second story starts under eve they drilled 2 inch hole every foot and air is suppose to flow to attic,this dies not make since to me ,to have cold air going up walls what do you think ,christine



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