How To Make A Common Rafter For Any Width Structure

Picture of How To Make A Common Rafter For Any Width Structure

If any terms or wording I have used is confusing at all or anything seems unclear, please feel free to ask a question. I don't check everyday, but I do check in often, and would be happy to answer any questions or edit something that is unclear for you.....

These instructions should enable the moderately skilled handy-person to produce a set of common rafters for any building. These instructions are for the moderately skilled. I have omitted basic steps on the safe use of the tools needed. If you are unfamiliar with tools, and the dangers they possess these instructions are not for you.
Rafter stock will be determined by geographic location, the width of your building, and local building codes. . . .
A pencil, tape-measure, circular-saw, speed-square, framing square, and saw-horses.
Risk of serious injury or death is possible!
If you are unfamiliar with the listed tools and the dangers they possess, these instructions are not for you.
These instructions are formatted in such a way that the peak of the rafter should be to your left, the tail should be to your right, roof side away from you, ceiling side close, laying on the saw-horses. Please read the entire instructions before beginning and then follow them step by step.

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hangdawg013 months ago

could you do it without being a even number like your run is 10 feet 3 and 7/16

showing how to convert it

Joe Smania (author)  hangdawg013 months ago

I have added this scenario to Step One of the Instructable. Thank you for your feedback and this excellent suggestion.

Happy framing!

wills14 months ago

this just saved me a ton of money. i was worried about buying construction calculators and all the bells and whistles just to make a darn common rafter template...thanks, man!!

Joe Smania (author)  wills14 months ago

Oh wow! I couldn't have prompted you to leave a better comment! I liked to use the Construction Master Calculator back in the day, but then I thought... What would I do if I was on a job with a full crew of guys out in the boonies and the thing wasn't working on roof day? Shut the site down and drive 50 miles to Lowes? That's when I learned the old school way, it isn't much slower than the fancy calculator, and it always works... Thanks for the comment, and happy framing!

Awesome... very, very concise and helpful. Building a clerestory shed and the rafter template supplied with MIGHT have worked if the final dimensions where exactly as the plan suggests, but of course, the real thing varies by enough to make the template as useful as ashtrays on a motorcycle. Your explanation of the maths behind the calculations was perfect. Thanks a bunch.

Joe Smania (author)  Steve.Lewis.Doppler5 months ago

Thank you so much for the feedback Steve. It's great to hear this is useful to folks out there in the web. Hope the shed turns out good for ya.


fjm51435 months ago

Hi, thanks for this article. You made the process so simple. Do you have instructions on how to make valley rafters?

Joe Smania (author)  fjm51435 months ago

I signed in with Google+, and it gave me a different user name... JoeS3. I didn't realize it until I hit the "Make Comment" button. Needless to say, the reply back to you from JoeS3 was me.

Thanks again.


JoeS3 fjm51435 months ago

Thanks for your kind words fjm. I have wanted to do a piece on valleys and hips but spare time eludes me. I'm thinking I'll do future instructables in video, even repeat this one including an easy way for buildings with odd widths like 22' 7 & 3/4". In hind sight, I only give the mathematical process for foot increments.

It is on my list, and your interest may just be the motivator I needed.

Thanks again, J.

BIG - X1 year ago
Joe Smania (author)  BIG - X1 year ago
Thanks for the feedback BIG - X
zazenergy3 years ago
wow! very cool!
Joe Smania (author)  zazenergy3 years ago
Why thank you zaz! :)