Framing Gable Ends
You can use a story pole and a level to lay out accurate cuts without a tape measure.
Synopsis: A framing carpenter turned structural engineer describes his method for framing gable-end walls. He uses a level and a story pole instead of a measuring tape and explains how to use the “common difference” associated with the roof pitch to speed layout.
The first time I had to frame and sheathe the gable end of a house, I did a miserable job. The carpenter I was working for had no system for laying out the studs, which are all of different lengths and have angled cuts on their tops to match the roof pitch. He just said fill in the end between the last rafter and the plate below so that we could put sheathing on it. Then he took off. I did a lot of cutting and fitting and recutting and measuring. The job seemed to take forever.
A few years later another carpenter taught me the method I’m going to explain here. It may look confusing at first, but once you get it, you’ll have a gable end framed in less time than it takes to read this article.
The studs are lined up over the wall studs below (called stacking) and notched around the gable-end rafter. The important part of the notch is the pitch cut, which is on the same angle as the rafter. When the studs are cut and installed this way, they flush up to both the interior and exterior of the framing. I like the solid feel of gable walls that are framed with this method.
Before installing the gable-end studs, a little preparation is required. You should place a couple of sheets of plywood on the ceiling joists for a work area. On this work area you need a circular saw, a level that’s at least 4 ft. long,…