Fast and Accurate Wall Framing
An experienced builder’s no-nonsense approach to the bones of a house
As builder Mike Norton explains, framing is hardly glamorous work. Nevertheless, because the framing embodies the physics of a house, if it’s not done right, the house will fail. In this Master Carpenter article, Norton shares his methods for framing walls efficiently and accurately. He begins by establishing square corners and parallel walls with a laser, then snapping the plate layout lines. He then lays the bottom plate on edge, aligns it with the chalkline, and toenails it to the deck. He places the top plate behind the bottom plate temporarily so that he can mark out stud, window, and door placement quickly. He finds that it’s usually helpful to have one carpenter assigned to the chopsaw so that the others can nail without interruption. When a wall is ready to be raised, Norton likes to place a few sawhorses on the deck so that the workers can lift the wall to knee level, rest it on the sawhorses, then shift their hand positions to give it the final push. After the walls are braced, they need to be straightened, which Norton does with a stringline and a series of springboards.