Patrick’s Barn: Roof Framing
My body was hurting when I woke up yesterday. My cushy magazine job hasn’t prepared me for the rigors of framing a pair of roofs on my new barn. Without the help of Fine Woodworking‘s Steve Scott and Matt Kenney, I don’t think I could have done it.
Despite the hard labor, I can’t imagine anything more satisfying than framing a roof. Last week, we framed and sheathed the shed roof, thinking it would make it easier to access the main roof, which it did. I started the main roof on Friday by building a scaffold to help me reach the ridge board. Combined with some other preparations and the cutting of a template rafter, this work took me all day. I would have kept cutting rafters, but a steady rain forced me to quit around 5:00.
When Matt showed up on Saturday, we started cutting rafters in earnest and began nailing them in place. It was very satisfying to have all the rafters fit without tweaking. I’m still trying to figure out the best way to sheath the main roof. I haven’t decided if it’s easier to muscle the sheets through the rafters or use the shed roof to drag the sheets over the ridge and lower them down the other side. Anybody have suggestions?
Read more about my barn here.
This is how the barn looked about 7:00 pm Sunday. When a passing neighbor saw me dragging the tarp onto the roof by myself, I overheard him saying, "This has almost no chance of success." It's amazing how well you can hear when you're 25 ft. up in the air.
Last Saturday was the first time I did any framing on the shed lean-to. It's a great, wide-open space (12 ft. by 24 ft.). Click here to see what it will look like.
Framing the shed roof last weekend with Steve Scott was a good warm-up for the main roof. It gave me a chance to relearn all the things I had forgotten about roof framing, which made the main roof easier.
With my wife and son away visiting family, I got a chance to put in long hours without feeling guilty. I took a vacation day Friday to build the scaffold and set half the ridge. I'm sure the neighbors thought I was completely insane when they saw my homemade work platform.
The missing rafters are a result of a last-minute change of plans. The building is drawn with almost no overhang, and I originally thought I'd build it that way too. But Saturday morning I decided a 10-in. overhang would help the building and its paint job last longer, so I used the 16-ft. stock I originally bought for framing the gable walls. Unfortunately, I didn't have enough.
Seeing my little boy running toward me with his tool belt brought me such joy that I suspect I'll remember it the rest of my life. When I gave him some scraps to practice his nailing, he found it frustrating and said, "This is hard, Daddy." I replied, "I know, Son, I'm still practicing too."