Installing the rafters

Started the workday cutting birdsmouths on our 23’ long 2×6 rafters. This task starts with a template to make sure all the cuts are uniform, next I use a circular saw to make the cuts, finishing them off with a handsaw. It’s tempting to try to tackle this task with a jigsaw but even with the best quality jigsaw you can buy the cuts never end up square, causing grievous amounts of frustration later on.

The easiest way to do this is to pin the guard back on the circular saw, which is EXTREMELY dangerous. With the older corded saws that took time to spin down, you’d pin the guard back and then promise yourself that you wouldn’t forget in the three seconds it took to make the cut and then invariably you’d forget and either nearly chop off your leg off or send the saw shooting across the floor when you tried to set it down. It was a serious enough problem that after a couple near misses I stopped doing it altogether. I feel a little bit differently about the new cordless saws though because they stop spinning the second you let go of the trigger. I’m not advocating for pinning back the guard, just sharing my thoughts.

Setting the rafters involved my usual flapping around while I tried to remember how to be a Carpenter again. I was just settling into a productive groove when I stood up on one of the rafters and it snapped, pitching me forward where I barely caught myself on the rafter I just set, narrowly avoiding a single story nosedive.

These continuous 23 foot long rafters have been a huge pain. Not only are they twice the price of the same quantity of lumber in shorter lengths, but the quality sucks and we keep ordering, returning, and now breaking them. In retrospect splicing probably would have been faster and cheaper but I like running continuous over the beam because I can drive an 8 inch structural screw straight down through and into the beam. It’s just a nice elegant way to tie the whole structure together, at least that was the idea…

– Brian.

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