Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Rafters, Battens and Collar Ties

OK, I'm getting into dangerous territory here. I'm definitely not a construction expert. I'm not even a construction wannabe. But I did watch John as he put his new cabin roof up stage by stage. His last cabin had a barn style roof. This time, he chose a gable design. First, all the lumber had to be moved up the lake. Our bowrider Campion came in handy for that task.

After the center beam was in place, John started adding the rafters. To make their placement easier, prior to raising the side walls, he installed the metal brackets that would hold each rafter in place. Raising the rafters was definitely not a one man job. John's brother Rick and his dad Ed were there to lend helping hands all along the way.

John took care of the high work. He went up the extension ladder to accept the upper end of the rafter already cut to the correct angle thanks to Ed's design work. His assistant made sure the bottom of the rafter was snug in the bracket.










Before the lower ends of the rafters could be nailed into place, John had to make sure all of the measurements lined up and the walls were straight. To make some final adjustments, it took several ropes and lots of muscle to get it right.

Next came the battens, the cross supports on the outside of the rafters. Nailing the battens onto the rafters was like building a ladder. As each batten was added, John climbed the roof to nail the next one in place.

The weight of the roof presses down, trying to spread the rafters and walls, constantly trying to push them outwards. To take some of the stress out, collar ties are added. These sturdy cross members help stop this destructive process.

This post is not meant to be a DIY how-to about roof construction. It's a tribute to an amazing man with a very supportive family. I'm always in awe of their accomplishments. -- Margy

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