Graphic Guide to Frame Construction: Details for Builders and Designers

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by: Rob Thallon

Topics include: soffited eave, open sheathing, solid sheathing, barge rafters, composite trusses, rake see, solid railing, shear walls, rigid insulation, girder systems, cold roof, with local codes, lumber joists, extra framing, open railing, flashing materials, air barrier, rafters see, warm roof, hip rafter, storm sash, floor trusses, hemmed edge, roll roofing, valley rafter

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From Library Journal -- For over 100 years, the majority of North American homes have been built using wooden framing. This technique is strong, conserves materials, and allows great design flexibility. Framing Basics (part of Sterling's excellent "Basics" series, which covers numerous tools and woodworking techniques) offers a helpful introduction to framing for do-it-yourselfers. Readers for whom this book is intended aren't going to build an entire house; they are homeowners who want to move, remove, or install a wall or create built-in storage. Peters covers tool-use, materials, methods of work, and demolition in easily understood text supplemented with numerous color photographs. Thallon, a professor of architecture, takes frame construction to the next level, showing how to build a house's entire shell from the foundation to the roof. He believes that when properly constructed, a wood-framed house should be able to last for 200 years or more. This title's intended audience is professional builders and designers; a great deal of reader knowledge is assumed by the author. Broad sections include foundations, floors, walls, roofs, and stairs. The text is brief and to the point, with a huge number of excellent illustrations providing the details. Libraries that own the original edition (1991) of this title should consider this revisionDit covers recent developments such as new sheathing methods, wood I-joists, and vinyl windows. A comprehensive glossary and list of resources round out this title. Structural insulated panels (SIPs) consist of slabs of foam insulation sandwiched between oriented strand board or plywood. They represent one of the newest technologies and may render wood-framing methods obsolete. Morley, a builder who specializes in SIPs construction, gives a compelling argument for this new systemDit's structurally superior, better insulated, faster to erect, and more environmentally friendly than traditional methods. The use of SIPs requires many specialized tools and techniques, all of which are covered in detail. A large resource list provides the names of architects, builders, and companies that deal with this system. Framing Basics is well written and is geared toward the beginner; with other titles in Sterling's "Basics" series, it deserves a place in most public library collections. Both Thallon's and Morley's works are excellent but are geared toward a specialized audience; public libraries with comprehensive collections and academic library architecture collections should consider them.DJonathan Hershey, Akron-Summit Cty. P.L.

Great reference book with TONS of Practical information -- I am a homeowner and adventurous tinkerer with all things mechancial/technical. I have never swung a hammer for a living, and am fairly clueless when it comes to general construction. (I have installed windows, replaced drywall, repaired plumbing, and run electrical simple lines, never built anything from scratch). I am about to embark on a complete remodel of a previously converted garage, and wanted to do most of the work myself. Armed with a copy of Visio 2002, I planned the layout of the new room (about 20' x 15') which will include moving some interior walls and doors, blocking an exterior window, installing a new interior window, and extensive removal and replacement of siding, sheathing, drywall, stucco, flooring, etc.
Well, I needed a book that could augment my basic "sense" of the way things should look with some actual technical information. For example, how exactly do you frame an opening for a new window or door? How do you frame up a new wall segment that joins to an existing wall segment? What the heck is a "king stud" any way? All of this information is laid out very nicely in a textbook-like format, with lots of diagrams. The great thing is the way that the author starts each section with an overview drawing (say of a typical exterior frame of a house), then points to specific features, which are then detailed in subsequent sections.
I would liken this to a "Bentley Manual" for automotive repair; it will not tell the complete novice how to build a wall, but for someone who already knows the difference between a 10d hot-dipped box nail and a 8 x 1-1/4" Drywall screw it is a great reference and can add a LOT of clarity to the way that homes are actually constructed using "best practices". (It will also help point out all the shortcomings of the manner in which your 50's era home was built! :-)
My only complaint with the book is that it is very sparse on "method" descriptions. Essentiallly there are just short paragraphs with brief descriptions that can sometimes be a bit cryptic. These would be very clear to a professional builder, but for someone like me, they require a bit of head scratching and guessing at times. I had great fun looking at the diagrams, then pulling off wall paneling and seeing the relationship between the drawings in the book and the actual construction of my home.

Excellent Resource -- This book is my favorite resource for, well, frame construction. I've used it for as a reference for doing detail drawings and as a reference for doing actual construction. I'm adding on to my house, doing most of the work myself. Whenever I hit a snag or need to do something I only vaguely know how to do (which is more often than I'd like), this is the first book I turn to. The drawings are of excellent quality, the text is extremely clear, and the layout like a fine set of blueprints. Its indexed well enough that you can find what you need quickly. The spiral binding is perfect for taking it to the job site and letting it stay open on the page you need. I'd highly recommend this book to apprentice carpenters, general contractors, architectural students, architects, and do-it-yourselfers. Thallon's Graphic Guide to Interior Details makes a nice compliment to this book, though I don't find it as necessary.


Excellent text, awesome drawings -- "Graphic Guide to Frame Construction" is an excellently illustrated spiral bound 'book' on wood frame construction. It covers all the major elements of home construction, from foundation, to floors, to walls, to roofs. It can be read as a book but is very reference-able. It does however assume some basic understanding of home construction, so it's not an absolute starter book. The text is a bit terse and requires some mulling over, but the drawings are fantastic. If you are considering building an outbuilding, adding on to your home, or perhaps even building your own home, this is one must have book, worth every single penny paid. Did I say that the illustrations are fantastic? My wife and I love to do projects ourselves. But with out a background in construction it is sometimes difficult to complete large tasks such as shops and other out buildings. This book has provided us with the specific knowledge we needed to solve problems when they arise. The book is laid out in such a way that you can quickly find several solutions to most any problem. This is one of the most complete and accessible books we've found. If you are thinking of adding to your house or building a shop or other building this book will give you the tools to succeed.

A standard reference for residential framing details -- A reigning classic, the Graphic Guide to Frame Construction is a visual handbook filled with hundreds of meticulous drawings showing the framing details you need to understand when building with wood.
The first edition of this book sold more than 100,000 copies. This completely revised and updated edition is more comprehensive and reflects the most recent changes in residential frame construction. It contains more details for energy efficiency, use of modern engineered and composite materials, and construction in high-wind and seismic areas. It's well annotated and covers foundations, floors, walls, stairs, and roofs. Because examples are taken from actual job sites by a trusted expert, this book is an invaluable visual aid that can help builders and homeowners alike to tackle a wide range of framing projects.

The walls of a building define the spaces withing the building to provide privacy and zoning, and they enclose the building itself, keeping the weather out and the heat or cold in. Walls provide the vertical structure that supports the upper floors and roof of the building, and the lateral structure that stiffens the building. Walls also encase the mechanical systems (electrical wiring, plumbing, and heating. To incorporate all of this within a 4-in. or 6-n. deep wood-framed panel is quite an achievement.
In this excerpt from Graphic Guide to Frame Construction, author Rob Thallon provides a visual guide to the information you'll need for constructing headers, window and door openings, wall intersections, corners, rake and cantilevered walls, along with insulation details.
Rob Thallon is a practicing architect who, for more than 20 years, has collaborated with landscape architects to design and construct residential gardens. He has written numerous articles and books on residential construction including Graphic Guide to Site Construction and Graphic Guide to Interior Details. He is an associate professor of architecture at the University of Oregon, where he teaches courses in design and construction.

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