Wall-Framing Tools I Love: Form Aligner Turnbuckle
Indispensable, inexpensive wall bracing and adjusting tool
I’d be lost without form aligner turnbuckles. We’ve been using them to straighten walls, beams, ridge boards and other framing for almost 30 years. They take the place of spring braces and 2×4 braces used to line and brace walls straight. The turnbuckles are simple coil screws with a length of angle iron at one end and an angle plate on the other. You supply your own 2×3 or 2×4 to extend the length to whatever you need. They are made for the concrete form industry for bracing forms but work just as well for bracing wood-frame walls. They are economical (about $20 each) and virtually indestructible.
After we tilt up walls we space turnbuckles roughly 12 ft. apart. We nail or screw the plate down to the subfloor and into a joist, and the end of the 2x brace to the top of a stud in the wall. Then we dial the turnbuckle in or out to straighten the wall precisely. On this job we balloon-framed the rake walls so they’re roughly 15 ft tall. We screwed long 2x6s to a couple turnbuckles and plumbed the gable ends in minutes.
You adjust the turnbuckles by turning the bail that surrounds the screws. Often a hand twist is all you need but to pull or push out a heavy bow in a wall you can hook a hammer claw between the rods on the bail for leverage.
Sometimes when bracing beams or tall walls we mount the turnbuckle plate end at the top and fasten the 2x to the floor — that way one person can adjust a beam or top plate dead straight without a helper or jumping down to the floor.
We also use the turnbuckles when we set up foundation forms. to brace ridge boards, to straighten bowed floor joists, to rack and brace deck frames and many other bracing and straightening jobs.
Several companies make turnbuckles. Dayton Superior — A27, Ellis Manufacturing — WB, MeadowBurke ST-27 and there are others. I get mine at a local concrete construction material supplier.