A Small Setback


I was excited to start cutting and setting rafters yesterday. It is fun to lift the 12-foot or 10-foot boards into position on the saw and cut the ends to a precisely 10° angle.DW715

I am using D’s compound miter saw, referred to by most of the guys as a chop saw. (I am currently borrowing so many of D’s tools, I am guiltily aware that I am way behind on the diabetic cooking part of the equation.)

Using a chop saw is easy, but the whole process of lifting the long boards, measuring, marking, and cutting — flipping the board to get the whole cut —  is just challenging enough for this airhead, who has to constantly double-check to make sure I’m cutting the angle in the right direction, that I am foolishly pleased to manage it.

(Back in 2008, when Dean and I paneled the inside of the cabin, I was in charge of cutting the tongue and groove knotty pine while Dean nailed it up. Poor Dean regularly informed me with patient control: “Beautiful job, Sel, but you reversed the angle.” It was at this time that I began to understand that my brain doesn’t visualize well. In fact, I’m terrible at it. If this skill had been tested in school, I would have been diagnosed with a learning disability. However, like my loved ones with dyslexia, I’ve learned ways to compensate. Pictures. I need pictures.)

I was also pleased to figure out how to brace the long rafter high in the air for nailing without another person on the other end of the board. Again, this is elementary stuff, but makes me feel brilliant.

Unfortunately I ran into another snafu. It turns out that the main barn roof that looks so perfect from the ground is not. When I put the 10° angled rafter for the shed roof in the place where it wants to fall, it is too tight to the main roof. There should be a 1.5″ gap. There isn’t.


Len has patiently answered all my worried questions. He reminds me that this is a remodel and measurements may not be exact. On his advice I am changing the rafters to a 9° angle and will snap a chalk line across the header to keep the lower roof-line level.

It’s all do-able, just time-consuming and a little unnerving for this neophyte.


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