Precision Framing

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by: Mike Guertin, Rick Arnold

Topics include: partition backers, lay out the wall plates, other beam materials, mudsill plate, level the mudsill, squash blocks, subfloor sheathing, wall backers, joist layout, truss tail, common joists, floor joist system, nail the bottom plate, truss plan, gable truss, banding straps, tail joists, truss designer, cantilevered joists, snap chalklines, ladder blocking, front staging, sill seal, staging planks, spring braces

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Book Description -- Developed as a guide for the authors' crews, from basics to finishing Precision Framing combines common sense, good engineering, and craftsmanship. Custom framers who strive for excellent results and labor efficiency can utilize these procedures as is or adapt them.

Technique and experience -- This book provides an unexpected but invaluable dimension over most books on the general aspects of building residential structures. Super for serious beginners (like me) or do-it yourself builders moving beyond basic projects and carpentry training/books into larger scale projects. Written by authors evidently experienced in running small but highly skilled crews, this book takes you through most of the critical steps of building with great annotations of why things are done, how to expect and correct imperfections, and the understanding that precision is based on care and comprehension.
Well-selected photos demonstrate a lot of unique tools and small-crew/equipment teams working with great care. It is more of a course that an encyclopedia, and that's a great feature as a learning text.
This book added a lot of real understanding to techniques I had learned from other sources. It is written from a first person and cordial perspective that makes it enjoyable to read. You may not be able to get experience from a book, but this is pretty close. It must be a lot of fun working with these people.

Precision Framing
Rick Arnold Mike Guertin
A systematic approach that saves time and money
Good construction doesn't have to slow you down. In fact, investing a little extra time during the early phases of construction will actually save you time and money later. That's the idea behind Precision Framing, the new book by Mike Guertin and Rick Arnold. The authors have spent 20 years developing their field-tested framing techniques, and Precision Framing is the result. This is their "manual," packed with tips, advice, and shortcuts that prove that good construction doesn't have to slow you down. In fact, investing a little extra time during the early phases of construction will actually save you time and money later.
Whether you're framing your first house or your 51st, Precision Framing will help you improve the way you work, with techniques to:
frame straight walls
safely work with roof trusses
build squeak-free floors
plan ahead for subcontractors
create site-built tools for fast and accurate measurements
Step-by-step instructions, 200 color photographs, and more than 40 detailed drawings show how to frame efficiently and accurately, from the mudsill to the roof.


Table of Contents -- Precision Framing

Rick Arnold
Mike Guertin

A systematic approach that saves time and money Introduction


Office Tools
Hand Tools
Power Tools
Pneumatic Tools
Other Equipment


Sizing Up the Foundation
Laying Out for Mudsills
Checking the Foundation for Level
Installing the Mudsill
Using Shims to Level the Mudsill
Framing Walls on Drops
Ready to Move On


Beam Basics
Planning a Built-Up Beam
Installing the Beam
Other Beam Materials
Installing Support Columns
Beam/Joist Configurations


Joist Layout for Conventional Floor Decks
Framing Joists for Conventional Floor Decks
Installing Subfloor Sheathing for Conventional Floor Decks
Framing Floors with I-Joists
Framing Floors with Trusses


Planning Exterior Bearing Walls
Laying Out Bearing Wall Plates
Assembling the Walls
Framing Other Bearing and Exterior Walls


A Stick-Built Roof
Roof Trusses


Marking Interior Partitions
Laying Out and Installing Strapping
Laying Out the Wall
Measuring Stud Height and Prepping Wall Parts
Framing the Partitions
Finishing Up


Special Details for Framing Interior Partition Walls
Special Details for Roof Framing
Special Details for Framing for Subcontractors

Excerpted from Precision Framing

Anatomy of a Stud-Framed Wall

Proper framing for bearing and nonbearing walls

by Michael Guertin and Rick Arnold

Wall plates
A wall is a collection of studs (usually sized 2x4 or 2x6) equally spaced (usually 16 in. or 24 in. on center) and sandwiched between top and bottom plates. The top plate can be either single or double. Double plating is most common on load-bearing walls unless the roof rafters or trusses and floor joists stack directly over the studs in the wall, then a single top plate can be used.
Large openings in the wall are made for windows and doors. When the opening is greater in width than the stud spacing -- and most windows are wider than 24 in. -- then a header must be inserted to carry the load of the interrupted stud(s). A header is a simple beam sized to support the load above the opening it spans.

Jack studs and king studs
The header is supported by a jack stud at each end. Jacks, sometimes called trimmers, fit under each end of a header, and they transfer the load that the header carries down to the bottom plate and the framing beneath. Nailed to the jacks are full-height studs called king studs; they support the assembly between the plates. Sometimes jacks must be doubled on wide openings so there's enough supporting surface for the header to bear on. Jacks can be replaced with a steel header hanger attached to the king stud.

Saddles and cripples
A saddle (also called a sill) forms the bottom of a window opening. It's a piece of 2x stock laid flat and nailed between the jacks. Cripples are short pieces of 2x stock that run underneath the saddle. And, depending on a header's height, cripples can run from the header to the plate. Cripples are located at the points where a common stud would have been located had it not been interrupted by the opening.

Mike Guertin and Rick Arnold are professional builders in Rhode Island with 20 years' experience building custom homes. In addition to being contributing editors for Fine Homebulding magazine, they have written numerous articles on homebuilding, and they conduct regular seminars for builders.

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