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Roof Framing

Complex roof geometry is a challenge most framers face eventually. The skill of drawing complex shapes has been taught for centuries by the French, German, and Japanese carpentry traditions; it enables the carpenter to directly measure working angles and scale dimensions rather than calculating them. Learning developed drawing is one goal for this course and is key to understanding the geometry of complex roof intersections. The combination of drawing and basic roof math empowers the builder with a far wider variety of building shapes. The skills learned in this course are applicable to conventional framing as well as timber work, furniture with splayed legs, stairs, finish carpentry, and any project where angled planes and pieces meet at a combination of angles.

These problems can be solved either mathematically or visually, but the complete carpenter will have a variety of skills to call upon, including geometry, trigonometry, and traditional scribing techniques. In this course we will demonstrate various methods of laying out and cutting hip and valley systems using lofting, framing square, calculator, and visualization. Students will complete the work on the 16' x 20' Intensive project roof and also frame mockups that include regular and irregular hip, valley and jack rafter systems. 

Time permitting we will intersperse the use Computer-Aided Design with SketchUp to demonstrate and reinforce the hands-on drawing and layout principles for complex roofs.

Instructor Will Beemer is the author of "When Roofs Collide", a series of articles on complex roofs appearing in Timber Framing, the journal of the Timber Framers Guild. 

Visit or contact: or 413-623-6677.

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