The Very Efficient Carpenter: Basic Framing for Residential Construction

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by: Larry Haun

Topics include: small rafter square, ridge plumb cut, plumb stick, heel plumb cut, top cripples, framers prefer, rafter template, barge rafters, rafter horses, rafter stock, gable studs, bottom cripples, supporting valley, drywall backing, joist stock, frieze blocks, lapped joists, door trimmers, backing for drywall, double top plate, starter boards, rough sill, ridge stock, roof cutters, rafters need

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It's a systems approach --
I bought the book and (then) tapes to educate my family and myself in framing methods so we could build our proposed 3800 sft house as a family. I was not new to the construction industry, having worked in the past as an Architect (unlicensed:), a remodeling contractor, and construction supervisor. I had even acted as the general contractor on my own house. However, I had never started and completed a house from the ground up built by my own hands.

We built our house the Larry way right down to the purchase of a framing saw. (My children still call it the Larry saw.) Although our house was *considerably* more complex than the house in the videos, the techniques illustrated worked just as well. In the end, our drywall contractor commented on how straight and square the framing was. He never complained about the out of sequence studs, and I've never had any difficulty finding one to hang a picture or whatever. And frankly, as I put my Architect's hat back on, it just looks better. I like the re-layout technique.

But the most important contribution from Larry was his systems approach. One might believe that all framers use such an approach, but from my experience that's generally not the case and a trip about any construction site can prove that true. I was able to directly compare our work with the work of the carpenter contractor who framed our then current house seven years earlier and the pro was the one found wanting... The fact that an forty something man and a 15 year old boy were able to do a professional framing job using some basic skills and Larry's techniques are a testament to his (complete) thought process. I was and am impressed. I originally bought several hundred dollars worth of framing books of which this was one (a non-material expense in a $100K+ project), and read them all. But in the end, Larry really was the only one that relied on a systematic approach to the process and was the most helpful, not because he taught us how do to things, but that he taught us *what* do do in a simple orderly set of steps from begining to end. And in the end, you don't have to be a genius, or even a skilled carpenter. You just need to know what to do next.

Helpful, but ignore his stud location advice -- Not being a builder I was looking for a practical book to assist in building my 24x36 shop. This book has a lot of good stuff and you can tell that Larry "has been there". I went by the book on almost everything. I wish I had ignored his advice on stud location. He says it is not neccessary to maintain the 16 oc from end to end when you hit interruptions like doors and windows. He says you can simple start the 16 oc pattern over and not sacrifice structural integrity. I agree, but you catch heck when you sheath your walls and it would be better to have a stud under every 16 oc ceiling or second floor joist. He does say that for sheathing or dry wall reasons one could argue for maintaining the 16 oc the entire length of the wall, but he sorta of minimized it and said you can save on stud cost. Being a beginner I followed his advice to the tee. I will now go back and put in extra studs at 4' oc to accomodate my siding. Ignore his stud location advice and you will have a very helpful book on framing.

factory work "rules" --
This book is a companion to a series of tapes and is best used as a beginners guide to framing 'factory' style. I like Mr. Haun's style and his book is well layed-out to show one how to frame with his system. He has done a great job of putting it together in a precise and clear fashion. I find that in today's world of custom homes the material is dated and better suited to one who is building only once or a novice that wants a "looksee" at what it entails to build a home. But for that it is a very good book and I would recommend the tapes as well. If you want to build in todays' environment find a licensed contractor with a commitment to training their employees and get some structural engineering classes as well.


Outstanding reference and guide --
This book fills an important gap; it's neither too basic nor is it a structural or architectural engineering text book. I would recommend this book to anyone who's interested in remodelling or building by themselves, or even just curious about how their house is put together. This book does such a good job documenting and explaining the framing process that I would also highly recommend it to anyone who's having a house built

The Very Efficient Carpenter
Larry Haun
Basic framing for residential construction
Here's your chance to become a more efficient carpenter. Larry Haun has been a production framer for more than 35 years and a teacher of apprentices for more than 20. In this book, Haun shows you, step by step, all the techniques he uses to frame a basic house, from laying down the sills to cutting the rafters. You'll learn about:
. cutting and installing posts and girders
. joisting and sheathing fluently
. laying out, cutting, assembling, and raising walls
. framing gable roofs, hips and valleys, and truss roofs
. building various types of stairs
There is an opening chapter on tools, plans, codes, permits, lumber, and materials, and additional information throughout the book on safety and site-built tools. The Very Efficient Carpenter is no less than a complete course in basic framing.

The Very Efficient Carpenter

Larry Haun

Basic framing for residential construction

Getting Started
Plans, Codes and Permits
Lumber and Materials

Framing Floors
Posts and Girders
Sheathing Floors

Framing Walls
Headers, Cripples, Trimmers and Rough Sills
Building and Raising Walls
Plumbing and Lining
Sheathing Walls

Framing Ceilings
Joisting for a Gable Roof
Joisting for a Hip Roof

Framing Roofs
Gable Roofs
Hip Roofs
Intersecting Roofs
Truss Roofs
Sheathing Roofs

Building Stairs
Straight-Flight Stairs
Stairs with a Landing
Stairs with a Winder


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